I went out Saturday to SW MN trying public land I'd never been to before. It was gun deer opener and I dressed like a pumpkin and so did the dog. There were a bunch of spots near each other, all of them had deer or upland hunters already there when I was driving around at 9:10, luckily the last spot in the cluster was empty, so off I went. Thirty mins. in I got to a spot with thicker grass that looked "better" to me. I also noticed that my vest wasn't buckled so I gave a light whistle to sit the dog and fix my vest. That's when a rooster jumped out in front of me with a loud cackle. I mounted and missed 3 times. Cursing myself, I started shucking more shells in the gun when the dog ran straight in where the rooster came from and another one jumped out of the grass in close range. I mashed on the bolt release as quick as I could and popped off two shells at the second rooster. Both cocks flew into standing corn and to my eye were missed clean. So yes, I still have a ways to go on my "wild bird shooting"(a thread I started on the main hunting page). Two spots later around mid-day, the dog ran into a very large patch of phragmites, and out the top going away a rooster flew, but I didn't shoot because I doubted that if hit it might be a difficult/impossible retrieve. On the other side of the phragmites was a large slough with very thin ice, which always makes me worry about the dog. After that I tried a spot that was the classic "sea of grass", and looked way too big for 1 guy and 1 dog. Very soon upon walk in puppy got really birdy and was chasing one very fast. I kept up behind her but the rooster jumped wild, and was too far of a shot for my taste. Sunday we slept in and decided to hunt closer to the cabin in south central MN. Hunted from 2-5pm and the first spot flushed two hens wild, and then leaving 45min. later had two hens fly from picked corn over the hood of my truck and land 30 feet from the parking lot in tall grass. During the last hour of hunting I picked a medium size chunk I had tried 2 weeks prior and hadn't seen any birds on. We walked with the wind in our face near the dirt road/ditch, then turned and went up a hill. Just before we crested the hill dog got hot for just a few seconds and out jumped a bird that I'm 80% sure was a rooster but I didn't shoot in case it was a hen(can be harder to tell in low light). Resigned to the fact that another hunting trip passed without me getting my first wild bird, I followed the beautiful field bred golden back through the prairie, wind at our backs, towards the truck. Suddenly a rooster jumped out 30 feet in front of us but I wasn't ready for the shot because I wasn't expecting the opportunity. Closer to the truck in a depression 3 or 4 more birds flushed at the same time, I think all hens, shooting hours were over either way. I wish I got some pheasants, but I'm trying to look at the positives. I'm getting experience with the dog, getting better at reading her body language, and learning what types of cover birds tend to like. And the biggest lesson of the weekend, that I need to be at least somewhat ready for a shot opportunity at all times while in the pheasant fields. For an adult onset hunter with no mentor I've learned most things from a few books, this website, and just going out and trying it. I might take this weekend off and go fishing because it's way easier to catch 20 walleyes than to shoot 1 pheasant(for me). But I hope to be out most of the rest of bird season.