Earned!

KBell

New member
Just before ten a.m. with bright sunshine and 32 degrees. Northwest of Clear Lake and determined to "hoof it" through at least 3 public parcels today.

As we begin I notice the snow is wet underneath with a wet heavy feel to it. I realize this is not going to be easy travels as snow is deeper on edges of cover and next to fence lines. A good 11 inches or so in this area.

Our first two points yield hens. Very little tracks around the exit points and I deduce these birds must have sat through the afternoon yesterday. Next point is having difficulty gaining air and it yields hen number three. A catch for Sophie and I admire her for a moment before releasing her to make broods next spring:). Our next encounter is a yearling doe from her bed. We will see a six point and six more does today. I inspect it and it appears she has been there at least 6 or 7 hours. I notice her tracks coming in and decide to follow them to the food source. We arrive at the western edge and I immediately notice more tracks. This time pheasant and I notice they are out to the disturbed areas made by the deer and then back into the cover. Sophie is "birdy" just ahead of me as we continue north.

Our next point comes soon after and is solid. I approach from the rear and rooster one takes a straight away route. We continue on and quickly gain another point. A hen this time and she rises and heads south for her escape.

We are nearing the northern edge when two deer jump and head straight out of the cover. We have birds--13 in all that flush at the ruckus and fly east and south back into the cover. We sweep and continue on. As we near their landing zone I notice the wear and tear on my legs. Sophie has difficulty exiting the field on the edges due to the deeper snow. I did not think the birds could be runners.

We arrive at the spot and immediately kick up two hens. They are mature and noisy as they rise into the bright sun. Sophie's next point is solid and I hustle to close in. Sophie vaults into the brush and I know the bird has moved. She exits with hen two in her mouth. This is a yearling and quite small. I check cord Sophie and release our second catch of the day.

I do not notice tracks in the area. We begin to zig and zag and soon have another point. Into the sun but I close in anyway. The flush and the tell tale cackling put rooster two in our take. We flush two more hens and I notice where birds that landed flushed again with only having taken four or five steps.

We hit parcel two after water and a snack. Our first field burned two hours of time and more on the quads and hammies. I add an Advil and we set out.

We head straight for the heavier cover along the edges. The birds are feeding and we key in on this. As we close in wild flushes begin. We have several roosters and as many hens take flight and "sail" to the northeastern side of this field. My legs twinge a bit as I watch them fly off. One sitter I hope. We work the area with zero flushes. Sophie methodically works each spot where a bird was and I continue to head north. This next part is cool!:) Sophie stops ahead of me. The head and nose go high into the air and like a shot she heads straight west twenty five yards and locks up stiff on point. I struggle to hustle over with doubt creeping in when rooster three takes flight and curls sharply and back to the south. Where I am at that moment presents a crossing right to left shot and rooster three tumbles to my spring and summer trap practice.:)

We are tired as we enter the parking area to unload for the day. Glad I didn't get to that third spot today.
 

wapsijim

New member
"Earned" is a good word for it, you sure did earn them.

I walked an area for an hour or two and only had wild flushes but 10-12 birds in one group. I couldn't relocate them, think they flew across the creek. I'll come back to this spot when there isn't 9-12 inches of drifted snow. Abbie didn't seem tired at all, but she's sound asleep on the floor next to me now. I'm sore all over!

As we were leaving we met two younger gents with a black and white wirehair, pretty dog.
 

KBell

New member
Hello Jim,

I am on my second crown and coke!:p Heating pad on my lower back and Sophie has not moved for the last 1 and 1/2 hours. It was tough, tough going today!
 

Shawk

Member
Sounds like you need to work a little harder Kbell... you need to start shooting every other rooster rather than the first three that get up... then you may be able to hit that third or fourth field after all. ;)
Sounds like a good day!
 

Kismet

UPH Guru
Congratulations on your endurance.

Snow walking/hunting loses its charm after a bit, but now you have a great story to exaggerate/tell in years to come. :D

Nice hunt story.

tyvm
 

KBell

New member
On the drive home I contemplated that if I knew a hundred dollar bill was tacked to a post a half mile away and given my present state would I walk to get it?

The answer was no! It has not been often in my life that the answer would have been no. Tough hunting conditions with the amount of snow I encountered.

I agree Kismet! My grandchildren should hear about how Grandpa used to work for the birds.:)
 

hunter94

Well-known member
On the drive home I contemplated that if I knew a hundred dollar bill was tacked to a post a half mile away and given my present state would I walk to get it?

The answer was no! It has not been often in my life that the answer would have been no. Tough hunting conditions with the amount of snow I encountered.

I agree Kismet! My grandchildren should hear about how Grandpa used to work for the birds.:)

not many guys would work that hard, be proud of you and your dogs effort!
 

Ranger Rick

Member
On the drive home I contemplated that if I knew a hundred dollar bill was tacked to a post a half mile away and given my present state would I walk to get it?

The answer was no! It has not been often in my life that the answer would have been no. Tough hunting conditions with the amount of snow I encountered.

I agree Kismet! My grandchildren should hear about how Grandpa used to work for the birds.:)

I hear you! Yesterday one of my brothers talked me into walking back into a spot that was accessed by following a river. Tall grass bent over with snow, the grass humps to maneuver around made it a real pain - literally. Caught the boot toe as I was striding forward, down I went. Was hard to get up. Left hip is sore this morning. Why did I ever let him talk me into going in there?
 

Miforester

Active member
Yep before we know it you were hunting uphill both going and coming in near blizzard conditions. :cheers:

My son is hockey player and his legs are like stumps, when we were out in SD hunting he started to complain about his legs being sore.....I couldn't believe what I was hearing but he was not used to having to lift his legs to walk in the heavy cover we were in, specifically his hips. Hunting in deep snow has the same effect on hips.
 
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KBell

New member
Your son has my sympathies. I am active and work out every week during the year. You are correct that our legs are not used to the lifting aspect. I get sore at some point every season. This one came a little early!:p

I am concerned now that if we get a crust on the snow we have our hunting may be over for awhile. Jumpy birds and noisy conditions may not bode well for us.:confused:
 

Miforester

Active member
Yeah crusty snow not only is noisy but a real bear to walk thru, never know if the snow is going to support your weight or break thru. I was actually surprised I wasn't as sore as previous hunts, it does help being a forester and out in the woods 90 percent of my work week which helps me get in shape or the fact I had the kid walk more of the thicker cover......towards the end we did switch and I gave him a break.....:thumbsup:
 

Ranger Rick

Member
A lot of sports don't train well for walking. In addition to doing a lot of hunting and fishing, I play golf. I've played with a lot of people who have trouble walking 18 holes. Another couple we play with weekly, does crossfit and they compete in crossfit stuff, so should be in pretty good shape. They fade on the back nine every time out, as the crossfit doesn't train them well for walking long distances.

And nothing any of us does, prepares us for the high knee steps we make hunting the tall grass marshes and prairies we find pheasant hunting!

I'm hurting in the hips after being pulled down in Sunday while walking along a prairie river. A tall grass hump grabbed my right toe as I was pulling it up to stride forward and tackled me hard. Right knee broke through the ice and is bruised. Left hip and right shoulder also took a jarring blow. Sucks to get older!
 
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