Season Wrap Up

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
Ace & I ended the season pretty strong over the weekend, and a fabulous season it was! Even without the 4-weekend extension (which added 8 hunts), I hunted more times than ever before. We hunted about 97% public land and CREP/WIAs in the southeastern part of the state. Ended with a 2.11 roosters/hunt average & maybe walked about 3+/- hours per outing. Not my highest rph average ever, but right up there. The weather overall seemed a little uncommon & sure impacted things in a lot of different ways. Early harvest. Good/bad ice. Drowned out cattails. Extremely dry stretches. Good snow conditions a little bit. A stretch where the birds were almost impossible because there wasn't enough snow.

While I mostly held up my end of the bargain, I exhibited some extremely poor shotgunning a couple days. Ace was far & away the star of our little show. He's 21 months old now & he's definitely my 3rd once-in-a-lifetime FBESS out of the 3 I've owned. He has the drill down awful well. Earlier in the season he made his first retrieves, & I predicted he'd be pretty solid by the end. He proved me right for a change. He's made some good ones, & while he's not the most aggressive retriever yet, it's pretty obvious that'll come. By about mid-season, he & I were really in tune with one another. I can't get enough hunting with him & being amazed at how he does what he does. His energy level. His interest in teamwork (usually). His apparent love for what we're doing out there. And of course, his nose. I've alluded to this before, but if I ever find that genie, my wish will be to smell a rooster, just once.

A new shotgun followed me home a couple weeks ago - a "new" style A5 Sweet 16. The critical dimensions are almost identical to my "old" gun, so it feels really good. I only had a chance to hunt with it a few times, but I think I'm really going to like it, especially the larger trigger guard & the weight. Maybe I imagined it, but my hands seemed to stay a bit warmer, & I blame it on not having to grip the gun quite so firmly carrying it. Time will tell.

I hunt basically the same 50+/- spots year after year. On average, I'd say bird numbers in those areas were.....about like usual. Some spots above average. Some below. An optimist might say maybe numbers were up 10% overall. In any case, it was a fantastic season & I can't wait for the next one.

Here are a few pics of Ace from Sunday. Yes, in the one, he has a feather stuck to his face. Some have suggested he was aware of it, but thought it was a cool look. But I think he was so preoccupied with getting in the truck & on to the next spot that he didn't notice it. Either way....goofball.
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Golden Hour

Active member
Glad to hear you guys had a banger of a year. I'm mostly glad I got to witness some of the misses. If only there was some footage of a really epic miss out there....
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
Glad to hear you guys had a banger of a year. I'm mostly glad I got to witness some of the misses. If only there was some footage of a really epic miss out there....
Yeah, weren't you fortunate!?! Luckily, there's no footage like that in existence. At least none whose audio is suitable for general audiences.
 

sjohn

Member
Most impressive A5. I wish I could go every weekend but living in SC I get there for one week a year. For the remainder of bird season I chase woodcock. This year was a good one. On 22 hunts, Harper and I picked up 52 birds. An average of 2.3 per hunt. Very similar to your 2.1. Average hunt time was about 90 minutes. IMG_6530.JPGIMG_6556.JPGIMG_6581.JPGIMG_6589.JPG
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
For the remainder of bird season I chase woodcock. This year was a good one. On 22 hunts, Harper and I picked up 52 birds. An average of 2.3 per hunt. Very similar to your 2.1. Average hunt time was about 90 minutes.
Awesome! Never shot one of those. Thanks for sharing!
 

reddog

Well-known member
Good times for sure. You definitely earn those public land birds and each are a trophy in their own way.

. Myself, I probably hunted less this year as a resident than any of the previous 10 as a non resident. Some reasons that come to mind would be the obvious relocation to SD from Iowa in November pretty much took a toll on my weekends getting things organized at the new spot.

Throw in a construction project that extended into December factors in also, but I think most notsbly was the good weather, which made it easier to boat fish, which is my first love.. it was just too nice to pass up.

Nice job! Well have to share a field someday. Ace is a nice specimen, and he's extremely lucky to be your owner.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
...but I think most notably was the good weather, which made it easier to boat fish, which is my first love.. it was just too nice to pass up.
I just don't understand your priorities. Maybe it's a jealousy problem....seeing all those great water/walleye pictures during pheasant season.:ROFLMAO:
 

Nugent

Well-known member
Ace & I ended the season pretty strong over the weekend, and a fabulous season it was! Even without the 4-weekend extension (which added 8 hunts), I hunted more times than ever before. We hunted about 97% public land and CREP/WIAs in the southeastern part of the state. Ended with a 2.11 roosters/hunt average & maybe walked about 3+/- hours per outing. Not my highest rph average ever, but right up there. The weather overall seemed a little uncommon & sure impacted things in a lot of different ways. Early harvest. Good/bad ice. Drowned out cattails. Extremely dry stretches. Good snow conditions a little bit. A stretch where the birds were almost impossible because there wasn't enough snow.

While I mostly held up my end of the bargain, I exhibited some extremely poor shotgunning a couple days. Ace was far & away the star of our little show. He's 21 months old now & he's definitely my 3rd once-in-a-lifetime FBESS out of the 3 I've owned. He has the drill down awful well. Earlier in the season he made his first retrieves, & I predicted he'd be pretty solid by the end. He proved me right for a change. He's made some good ones, & while he's not the most aggressive retriever yet, it's pretty obvious that'll come. By about mid-season, he & I were really in tune with one another. I can't get enough hunting with him & being amazed at how he does what he does. His energy level. His interest in teamwork (usually). His apparent love for what we're doing out there. And of course, his nose. I've alluded to this before, but if I ever find that genie, my wish will be to smell a rooster, just once.

A new shotgun followed me home a couple weeks ago - a "new" style A5 Sweet 16. The critical dimensions are almost identical to my "old" gun, so it feels really good. I only had a chance to hunt with it a few times, but I think I'm really going to like it, especially the larger trigger guard & the weight. Maybe I imagined it, but my hands seemed to stay a bit warmer, & I blame it on not having to grip the gun quite so firmly carrying it. Time will tell.

I hunt basically the same 50+/- spots year after year. On average, I'd say bird numbers in those areas were.....about like usual. Some spots above average. Some below. An optimist might say maybe numbers were up 10% overall. In any case, it was a fantastic season & I can't wait for the next one.

Here are a few pics of Ace from Sunday. Yes, in the one, he has a feather stuck to his face. Some have suggested he was aware of it, but thought it was a cool look. But I think he was so preoccupied with getting in the truck & on to the next spot that he didn't notice it. Either way....goofball.
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Nice springer. You have 50 places. That's Damm good!!
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
Nice springer. You have 50 places. That's Damm good!!
Thanks. I'm pretty spoiled to live where I live. There are probably 100 more closer to home that I never hunt because they're not quite as good.
 

sjohn

Member
Great pics of the Timber Doodles! Is there much for public land in SC?
yes, more than you could ever walk and right in the best area of the state for woodcock. And not to many people hunt them. My hunting buddy and I both work at Clemson University and we usually both pick a young student to mentor in hunting. My buddy runs the shooting sports program at Clemson so we already have shooters, we just turn them into hunters. We have been doing this for 20 years and most of our competition is with our former mentees when it comes to public hunting spots. But there is plenty to go around. We usually ask them to keep the old men spots for the old men! They can have the spots that require a long walk before getting into habitat. I have invited South Dakota pheasant hunters to SC for woodcock hunting before. And I know you are a regular on the pheasant forum, so I will invite you too. Season form Dec 18 to Jan 31 so it is a conflict with pheasant. Limit of three per day.

I hunt the Armor area of South Dakota. Stay with local farmer I've know for about 12 years and one of my local friends knew his parents before he was born. My friend Julian has been going to SD for over 35 years. He owned a house in Delmont until about 5 years ago when it blew away in the Mother's Day tornado. They have visited South Carolina a few times. Came in the summer so I take them striper fishing. It works out great.

thanks for asking about the Timber Doodles. Have a great day. john
 

Kismet

UPH Guru
A5? You break my heart a little each time I see and hear about Ace. You have done wonderfully and won the lottery in litter picking!

Ace and I had a little talk. He agrees with you that he has improved and is now working through journeyman to master hunter. He gives you a lot of credit in accepting the responsibility for some of those misses (the particulars of which he chooses to forget.) In fact, he attributes some of his improvement with you growing performance, although he sort of maintains his effort would be the same, irrespective of the learning curve. He does like your driving, by the way.

You had a great season together and that partnership you are extolling is the sweetest part of working with a gun dog. You two make me miss Mick each time I read of your adventures.

Thank you, and thank Ace.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
A5? You break my heart a little each time I see and hear about Ace. You have done wonderfully and won the lottery in litter picking!

Ace and I had a little talk. He agrees with you that he has improved and is now working through journeyman to master hunter. He gives you a lot of credit in accepting the responsibility for some of those misses (the particulars of which he chooses to forget.) In fact, he attributes some of his improvement with you growing performance, although he sort of maintains his effort would be the same, irrespective of the learning curve. He does like your driving, by the way.

You had a great season together and that partnership you are extolling is the sweetest part of working with a gun dog. You two make me miss Mick each time I read of your adventures.

Thank you, and thank Ace.
Kismet...I know what you mean. I've got lots of pictures of my previous dogs Walt & Buzz. They're kept handy & I like to look through them regularly. Certain days I have to put them away after only 1 or 2 pictures. They are missed greatly. But apparently, the joy Ace brings to our house (& particularly during pheasant season) heavily outweighs the heartbreak I know will come someday. Ideally, though, I'll have a 2nd little partner at that time, who understands me & can help soften the blow.

I think you're right that I'm at least partly responsible for his growth, & he's starting to realize it too. He's figured out that once in a while, I take him to places that simply have very few, or even no pheasants. He still puts forth maximum effort, but now understands that these places aren't as beneficial to his, or my, learning. As for the extremely rare misses, he's still young enough to believe my little, white lies...that they're my gun's or shells' fault.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments & kind words. I'll let Ace know he's appreciated. By the way, he recently told me he REALLY likes my driving.
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goldenboy

Well-known member
yes, more than you could ever walk and right in the best area of the state for woodcock. And not to many people hunt them. My hunting buddy and I both work at Clemson University and we usually both pick a young student to mentor in hunting. My buddy runs the shooting sports program at Clemson so we already have shooters, we just turn them into hunters. We have been doing this for 20 years and most of our competition is with our former mentees when it comes to public hunting spots. But there is plenty to go around. We usually ask them to keep the old men spots for the old men! They can have the spots that require a long walk before getting into habitat. I have invited South Dakota pheasant hunters to SC for woodcock hunting before. And I know you are a regular on the pheasant forum, so I will invite you too. Season form Dec 18 to Jan 31 so it is a conflict with pheasant. Limit of three per day.

I hunt the Armor area of South Dakota. Stay with local farmer I've know for about 12 years and one of my local friends knew his parents before he was born. My friend Julian has been going to SD for over 35 years. He owned a house in Delmont until about 5 years ago when it blew away in the Mother's Day tornado. They have visited South Carolina a few times. Came in the summer so I take them striper fishing. It works out great.

thanks for asking about the Timber Doodles. Have a great day. john
Thanks for the invite John! I just might take you up on that someday. We do have some woodcock in MInnesota but it is usually a bonus bird when you are grouse hunting. If I am ever in SC I will look you up!
 

sjohn

Member
I grew up grouse hunting in the mountains of Central PA! Which makes every other kind of bird hunting easy. I'm not going anywhere, so keep the invitation in your back pocket for when you are close by.
 

Miforester

Active member
yes, more than you could ever walk and right in the best area of the state for woodcock. And not to many people hunt them. My hunting buddy and I both work at Clemson University and we usually both pick a young student to mentor in hunting. My buddy runs the shooting sports program at Clemson so we already have shooters, we just turn them into hunters. We have been doing this for 20 years and most of our competition is with our former mentees when it comes to public hunting spots. But there is plenty to go around. We usually ask them to keep the old men spots for the old men! They can have the spots that require a long walk before getting into habitat. I have invited South Dakota pheasant hunters to SC for woodcock hunting before. And I know you are a regular on the pheasant forum, so I will invite you too. Season form Dec 18 to Jan 31 so it is a conflict with pheasant. Limit of three per day.

I hunt the Armor area of South Dakota. Stay with local farmer I've know for about 12 years and one of my local friends knew his parents before he was born. My friend Julian has been going to SD for over 35 years. He owned a house in Delmont until about 5 years ago when it blew away in the Mother's Day tornado. They have visited South Carolina a few times. Came in the summer so I take them striper fishing. It works out great.

thanks for asking about the Timber Doodles. Have a great day. john
sjohn,

I graduated from Clemson in 95 with my Masters Degree. My doodle season ends in early november. I almost pulled to trigger to visit a friend at Pawley island to hunt some doodles during a long weekend in January but was unable. They are such great little birds to chase!
 
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