We enjoyed a Kansas wild bird quail hunt with Upland Bird Guide Service out of Sun City, Kansas. Very nice accommodations in a renovated, old bank building, and excellent cuisine from our Louisiana guide, Jamie Johns, added to the enjoyment. The hunt was great fun, the birds were thin but that is expected in the current down cycle.
It is common for pointers to bloody the end of their tail as they run through the brush. This old boy was super focused and gave himself a blood bath as his tail whipped back and forth. This speaks to the focus and drive that these dogs have.
This year, the fall colors in Colorado were spectacular and lasted a bit longer than usual. The dry, cool fall days promoted rich colors that lasted weeks instead of days as we sometimes see when it is wet and windy. Most of these pictures were taken outside of Aspen, Colorado on a drive down Castle Creek Road. With this beautiful color, it really doesn’t matter what kind of camera equipment you have. You only need to worry about the light and composition. I hope you enjoy these shots!
Last year, our guide called to say that the bird counts were down and the hunting might not be so good. We went anyway and had a terrific hunt! This year the guide called again and said “hey, seriously, this year is going to suck” and advised that we skip again but we still went. After all, these bird hunts are much more than hunting birds. . . right? You know . . . camaraderie, communing with nature, getting away from accountability for a while, riding in pickup trucks with shotguns, hunting-camp cuisine, etc. We were pushing our luck! This year, we were rewarded with a dastardly cold hunt and the lowest bird count in our 20 years of chasing roosters. All part of the game though. The great hunts are appreciated because of the tough times endured. This was definitely not the worst and we are glad we went. Everyone is looking forward to a future of more birds and less frostbite! Of course, bird dog Tex has no idea what I am whining about. He had a terrific time!
Here are some pics from our hunt on the rolling prairie a few weeks ago. This is a good year for Hungarian Partridge. Not the covey counts you find on Texas quail but enough to keep our interest and make this a great hunt. I am thankful that we live in proximity to such beautiful, wild country!
The Hungarian Partridge is a fast flying covey bird. They don’t hold as well for a point like quail or pheasant but when they flush it is some fast shooting. Beautiful bird!
Another year of great weather! This makes two in a row. We have been hunting ND pheasants for 15 years and this annual event is like a dear old friend. We can’t wait to get back every year and are always a bit sad when the hunt is over. This is one of those things that you know, at some point, will come to an end so we savor every minute, every bird, every point, every step in the field and every moment of comradery with our friends and fellow hunters. As we grow older, the hunt is cherished simply because we are here, in the vast openness of North Dakota – away from the grind, away from the responsibility, away from the noise. This time afield, immersed in God’s creation, is our connection with what is real and what matters. I hope you enjoy these pictures from a perfect hunt.
The biblical drought that tormented the western quail country for the past decade has subsided for now. The moisture provided the basic life elements (water, plants and bugs) allowing the quail to return to areas where they seemingly were gone forever. This is a wonderful testimony to nature’s amazing ability to recover when given a chance. We took advantage of the bird rebound with an end of season hunt.
Neither Tex or I had ever set foot in Montana until this trip so we were excited about hunting a new state. We made it up to the Hi-Line area near Hinsdale in search of sharptail grouse, hungarian partridge and hopefully some sage grouse. “Hi-Line” refers to rail line that runs through the area. It is the northernmost rail line in the country and is only 42 miles south of Canada.
We ran into birds every day, but not nearly as many as we expected especially given the great weather this year and rosy bird hunting forecasts. Maybe we need to realign our expectations when chasing grouse on the Great Plains! All things considered we had a great time. A terrific bunch of guys, nice weather (but a bit too warm), and an impressive amount of open country for the dogs to hunt and run made this worth the 13 hour drive from Denver.
One thing about these prairie birds, once they have been hunted it is tough to get close to them. They vacate quickly and typically leave no one behind. We found sage grouse by glassing the country with binoculars. That was a first for me and I was amazed that we spotted them.
These vast, empty plains are quite beautiful and you have to respect the folks who call this home. Continue reading →
The bird counts were way up over last year but so was the temperature. We had terrific weather with blue skies and temps pushing into the low 80’s. The unseasonably warm weather was great for the hunters, but pretty hard on the dogs. We had to keep a close watch on them to be sure they did not overheat.
We went to northern Missouri to hunt Eastern Turkeys last weekend. The weather was near perfect but the turkeys were not as plentiful as in years past and those that we did find were not very cooperative. Though not as successful as we would have liked, it was a very good time. The folks in Missouri are about as nice as you will find.
Tex and I took advantage of an invite to the opening weekend in South Dakota. We had the pleasure of joining a terrific group of guys from Michigan on their annual pheasant hunt. Some of these fellows have been hunting together for 30 plus years and a number of these guys have grown up making the annual pilgrimage to Pierre for the big hunt. We enjoyed a classic wild bird hunt of the best sort.
I have seen a few of these one room, white cinder-block houses next to the railroad tracks in Colorado and Wyoming. No windows, a fireplace and a nice outhouse out back. Anyone know what they were built for? Maybe a shelter for rail workers or storage?
Hunting North Dakota in the middle of November can be a weather crap shoot. The week before we arrived the highs were in the teens with half a foot of snow on the ground but we lucked out with absolutely perfect weather. We had the blue skies behind this handsome rooster, highs in the upper 40’s and calm wind with an occasional light breeze for our four day hunt. There were plenty of birds but, as you would expect, the hunting is more challenging on these later hunts than what you find in October. This hunt was a perfect introduction for Tex to wild birds. Each day he improved exponentially and by the last day he was working the wind and reliably sticking birds with solid points. At nine months old we are delighted with his performance.
The two day Colorado Sage Grouse season is almost upon us. Last year we were skunked but with the 2012 drought in full swing and the dwindling bird numbers, I am sure we will all limit by brunch. We are OK with the poor odds, it is great to get the dogs out and hunt after a long hot summer. Not to mention that we have a new puppy to break in! Here are some of the better pictures from past seasons.
Sage, and lots of it. We love the desolate, lonely places of the bird hunt.