Sunday, November 18, 2007
Now THAT was a good hunt!
It was 38 degrees and a light north wind, cloudy and dry. My brother and a friend Scott started out into area 9 at Winamac at the legal 8am start time and I wished I had a turtleneck. First bird up was a rooster. Scott did a great job pointing the bird by sight. Good dog, Scott. The real bird dog, Speck was off to the right but I called her, she flushed it and the bird was up. One shot and it’s in the bag within the first five minutes.
We walked my familiar route through some spotty trees. In my experience the pheasant at Winamac prefer to be near trees, I don’t know why but it works. It’s like catching walleyes in the weeds.
We shot out our two-bird limit per hunter within 45 minutes, three roosters and three hens (at Winamac we can take hens). Boy-girl-boy-girl-boy-girl. Cute.
Once back at the parking lot Speck was anxious to go out again. We were anxious to drink our one-beer limit and chomp on some smoked salmon and crackers that my brother made, yum. We rewarded Speck with some salmon and crackers too. Out of the twelve hunters allowed in area 9 nobody was back by the time we left.
We did meet a family of deer hunters - dad, mom and the son. It warmed my heart to see this. They came back with nothing but a nice family experience. The dad asked if we got our limit and I said yep. He asked if my dog had any ticks and I told him she had one, she had four yesterday. He told us he had one on his neck and the wife pulled it out. Think I will ask my old lady if she will give me a full body exam, heh.
I had an email from a reader asking what kind of gun I use for pheasant hunting.
I am blessed to own my grandad’s Browning semi-auto 16 ga. A-5 shotgun in full-choke. It was made during the thirties by a Belgian company (Fabrique Nationale de Hersta) that was licensed to manufacture this John Browning classic design. It is often refered to as a “Sweet Sixteen”. The only problem is that 16 ga. shotguns are no longer manufactured. The gun makers gave up on it years ago and so have the ammo companies. Ammo can still be bought but the range of loads are narrow compared to 12 ga. Still I can always find 16 ga. shells in hi-brass and #6 shot, my preferred load for pheasant, at Wal-Mart of all places.
My brother has a sweet gun of his own, It’s a Weatherby double over/under and he is an excellent shot with it. A breakdown double barrel is probably the safest scatter gun to carry since it can be carried with the barrel cracked open for safety. When a dog accidentially flushes a bird it can be easily be briskly closed in position for a quick shot.
For waterfowl I prefer a 12 ga. Browning pump with a 30” barrel. It helps to reach out and touch some bird with a 3” magnum load in #2 bismuth shot. Lead has been outlawed for waterfowling and steel shot is the answer to a question nobody asked. Bismuth costs more but is worth the extra bucks. I like anything made by Browning. Remington and Winchester are fine field guns for sure but Browning is my favorite and I can't explain why. Merkels, Parkers and Ithicas are wonderful show pieces but I am a hunter, not a gun collector or investor.
Here is a side by side comparison between a 2 3/4" 16 ga. pheasant load and a 3" 12 ga. magnum goose load. Enuf said.
Speaking of bucks Winamac delivered big time on antlered deer this weekend. At the check-in shack today the buck board totaled about twenty bucks harvested yesterday. There were two ten-pointers and many in the eight point category. It made me want to start deer hunting again. Maybe next year. Until then you can say I'm for the birds.