Thanksgiving weekend report

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
Ace & I had a good weekend. Ate, hunted, napped. The public land birds are pretty tough right now. Most of them know how to win the game we play with them. They've got almost as many options as they had on opening day. 6" of snow would shift the odds a bit more in our favor, even if only for a couple weeks.

Thursday: Stayed home w/ the wife, daughters, & Ace. Our usual family visitors stayed home this year due to Covid. The 4 of us still did the complete extravaganza though, so we ate a lot of great chow. Far & away my favorite meal of the year.

Black Friday: Gorgeous day. Ace & I hunted 2 public spots (a WPA & a WIA). The first one I hadn't hunted in at least a couple years. We hunted quite a bit & saw only 4 roosters & a couple hens. All roosters singles, in cattails. 2 pretty bad misses on my part (1 horribly embarrassing) & 1 good shot. Even though I had a chance at a relatively easy limit, I was a little discouraged by the birds we didn't see & the effort we'd expended to not see them. But I convinced Ace that as long as he keeps finding them, eventually I'd make it up to him. Pulled up to spot #2 for the last hour or so of daylight. We parked at the road intersection (not a normal parking spot) & started down a fenceline with picked corn across the road. It didn't take long for the deer moochers to set up posts at 3 different spots on the road around this 126 acre area. You know...because why hunt when someone else can do it for you?? Anyway, I figured they obviously know I'm out there, I'm wearing orange, so I'm probably safe. I eventually circle around toward a little cattail slough I wanted to hunt. I come over a little rise & here are 2 guys, no dog that I could see, maybe 100 yds from me, heading toward the same area, a mere 300 yards from where I'd parked. Both had over-unders, so not deer hunters. They stopped, looked at me, & proceeded. I look around & see 1 more of the trucks that had driven by me along the road, clear over on the other end of the area. I knew this had to be their truck. They had to have practically ran from their truck to beat me to this slough. I stood there on the rise, as they proceeded right in front of me & around the slough I planned to hunt. But....they didn't go in it; they stuck to the grass. And I didn't see a dog. And it didn't take them long to get around it & head back the same way they'd come. So once they were a safe distance away, I slid in right behind them to start hunting the slough. But MY partner thought it would be best to actually HUNT the cattails, while I leisurely strolled around the edge. And he wasn't wrong. About 15 minutes & 2 good shots later, we had our limit, & Ace felt much better about my shooting. Those guys were still only about 150-200 yards away, so I held both birds up high for them to see as they stood there gawking. A friend has since suggested that I should've also let out a primal scream & emptied the rest of my magazine into the air, just to really punctuate my victory. But jeez, what idiots. I don't think it's being selfish to expect people to stay out of the 28 acre corner, right by my truck, in a 126 acre area, when you KNOW I'm pheasant hunting there because you drove by & saw me! Morons.

Saturday: Since I really didn't find the birds I hoped to at Friday's 1st spot, I knew they had to be around somewhere, & I remembered a little WPA very close to it that I also hadn't hunted in a couple/few years. It's a little tough to get to, but whatever. And that's where they were. Great numbers. And it wasn't like opening day, but they acted like they hadn't been hunted much, at least not recently. Got 3 in barely over an hour. Much better shooting than Friday.

Sunday: The order of the day was wind!!! It made quiet communication between me & Ace almost impossible. He does a pretty good job staying close & checking in, but something yesterday through him for a loop. I can only guess it was the wind. At several points I had to just stand there & yell for him. It was really frustrating & if there had been any birds nearby, they weren't going to be for long. But we hunted 3 WPA's & saw "some" pheasants, mostly flushed out of range. I took 1 long shot & missed. But....the 3 swans I'd seen at one spot 2 weeks ago were still there, so we got to watch them a little (very uncommon in that area). They were only about 100 yds from shore & really didn't seem to mind our presence. Then an eagle flew into the area & started circling the pond, maybe only 50 yards high. He seemed to be pretty interested in the swans. They didn't seem alarmed. To my knowledge there are no fish in that pond/slough, but maybe he was just checking out the open water the swans were swimming in. But I kind of think he was trying to get one of those swans to fly. By the time a swan would get over ice, he'd still be quite low, the way they take to the sky. I think that eagle thought he could possibly take one out over the ice. Didn't happen though. Then we're driving along at about 4:30 & I see 1 rooster settle into the very edge of some cattails....on public ground....about 100 yards from the road. So we approached from downwind & miraculously he'd stayed put. And he had a buddy with him that I hadn't seen. And they're both hanging in my garage now. So that was a nice way to end a somewhat frustrating day.

All in all, it was good hunting, mostly decent shooting, better than working, & Ace will sleep all week until Saturday rolls around again. But we need snow bad.

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Kismet

UPH Guru
A5? Great write-up, wonderful dog, and Ace really likes the long hunt more than three quickies. He's trusting you and looks for the fall of the bird right after he hears the report of the gun. He says you've come a long way and he's quite pleased with the teamwork.


(Perhaps more than any other dog I've had, I miss my springer, Mick. He wasn't a handful, he didn't insist on his way, but there was something so solidly reliable about him, that now, more then 6 months since he left, I find myself missing him. Thanks for posting Ace stories and pictures.)


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A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
A5? Great write-up, wonderful dog, and Ace really likes the long hunt more than three quickies. He's trusting you and looks for the fall of the bird right after he hears the report of the gun. He says you've come a long way and he's quite pleased with the teamwork.


(Perhaps more than any other dog I've had, I miss my springer, Mick. He wasn't a handful, he didn't insist on his way, but there was something so solidly reliable about him, that now, more then 6 months since he left, I find myself missing him. Thanks for posting Ace stories and pictures.)
Thanks Kismet. It's fun to think of those little things from a dog's perspective. And I bet you're right. I may not get it right every time, but he has to know I try. It's amazing, the bond between a hunter & his dog. One trying so very hard to please the other. And consequently, deriving such immense satisfaction, happiness, & pride from each other & what you do together. It's no small wonder we miss them when they're gone.
 

Miforester

Active member
Sorry A5 didn't recognize you and Ace walking towards the slough......lol. Just kidding. Have had guys do that in the grouse woods to me, thousands of acres to hunt and they park and cut me off......

Great report as usual and pics. Very envious!
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
Reason #1, #2 #3 #4 #5 why I hunt private land only. I used to hunt public. but I got so sick of idiots.
Truthfully, it's rare where & when I hunt. But man, it pisses me off.
 

Bob Peters

Active member
I had something maybe like this happen to me on Thanksgiving day in Iowa. I wanted to hit a certain public hunting spot where I had success a few weeks ago, I pulled up around 1030 (opens at 8) . It's a quarter section, but I drove the entire section just to make sure there were no vehicles parked anywhere on it(if there was I would find another spot). I intentionally parked on the far corner from where I wanted to hunt to limit noise etc. and then was planing on walking into the wind closer to a slough corner and a food plot. After I parked a different truck parked right at the slough 2 minutes later. I already had the dog out and was walking their way when they pulled in. I believe the driver dropped off a group and they walked the marshy corner towards where he was parked. I don't know that it was intentional, I think it was just close timing. Anyways they left as I was walking that way, and shortly after I got a rooster in the light switchgrass. I can't help but wonder if they bumped him out of thick cover and in a way helped me out. I shot him at 10 50 am.

P.S. thanks for posting stories about your dog, Ace looks like a really great puppy.
 

marn

Member
Great pics and report, thanks for posting. Some cold weather to freeze up the sloughs would be welcome prior to adding snow. Last year the deep snow kept them from freezing.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
Great pics and report, thanks for posting. Some cold weather to freeze up the sloughs would be welcome prior to adding snow. Last year the deep snow kept them from freezing.
Great point! That's a pain in my butt & happens a lot. I was wetter last year than ever before. Ice actually formed, but the water was so high initially, & dropping so quickly, that the ice never had a chance to develop any thickness. At the end of the season, I was breaking through thin ice & the water level was as much a foot below it.
 

5 stand

Active member
A5
I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way. I don't mean to get in your business.
"Sunday: The order of the day was wind!!! It made quiet communication between me & Ace almost impossible. He does a pretty good job staying close & checking in, but something yesterday through him for a loop. I can only guess it was the wind. At several points I had to just stand there & yell for him."
I had a dog trainer, suggest the dogtra 2500 TB beeper collar to me. It's a bird dog collar. But I use it on flushing dogs, per his suggestion. It has two volumes of beep, loud beep and softer beep. It has turned out to be a very nice tool. I can hit the button real quick and it produces a single beep the dog usually looks at me and I can give them hand signals left or right. If I hold it down, several long beeps they come to me or at least get their attention. It works great on Windy days.
If they get a little bit too far I just give them a beep and no hand signals I just keep on hunting, and they just hunt a Little closer. The pups and I have a pretty good system. Just a thought.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
A5
I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way. I don't mean to get in your business.
Absolutely no offense taken. I've hunted in a lot of wind many, many times, and typically do very similar to what you suggest, but setting 1 on his ecollar. But for some reason this was different. It did no good to just stop him for a hand signal or recall him. He had no idea where I was until I yelled & gave him something to home in on. It sucked. I've been thinking a beeper or a bell (never needed or wanted a noise maker before). At least I could tell when he starts to range a little & stop him before it gets out of control.
 

Bob Peters

Active member
I just clicked on the thread and looked at the pictures for the second time. Ace looks like such a good dog. I really like him standing in back of the truck with the birds. I love goldens so much, but I love springers and brittanys too. Nothing ever beats a good bird dog. I love them all.
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
I just clicked on the thread and looked at the pictures for the second time. Ace looks like such a good dog. I really like him standing in back of the truck with the birds. I love goldens so much, but I love springers and brittanys too. Nothing ever beats a good bird dog. I love them all.
Thanks Bob. You're exactly right.
 

Flushedup

Member
Absolutely no offense taken. I've hunted in a lot of wind many, many times, and typically do very similar to what you suggest, but setting 1 on his ecollar. But for some reason this was different. It did no good to just stop him for a hand signal or recall him. He had no idea where I was until I yelled & gave him something to home in on. It sucked. I've been thinking a beeper or a bell (never needed or wanted a noise maker before). At least I could tell when he starts to range a little & stop him before it gets out of control.
I was in SD a few weeks ago, and the beep function of the collar went to crap. It could still nick / shock my pup but I elected to have a happy dog running around, ranging too far rather than a dog afraid to be hunting for fear of a zap. I use the tone button constantly to "talk" to my springer Wyatt. Without it, its not a very fun hunt and I only shock him when he is in danger of some sort (running at road, porky, coyote, etc ) to get him to stop immediately. I do have a little hup whistle I ended up using which helped, but... need that beeper fixed!!!
 

Miforester

Active member
When I was in Nebraska in 2019, my beeper on my new SD 1875 collar failed. Unless I cant see the dogs in the grass I generally run them silent and just use the beeper for a locator, once their point tone goes off I turn it off and walk to the point using a locator beep if needed. Once this failed on one of dogs it made things really interesting and you don't realize just how much you rely on that function to keep track of your dogs, fortunately my younger dog stays relatively close and I just put a bell on her and if she was out to far just used the tone function to recall her. Positive note, I called SD that night and after trying everything under the sun they sent me a new beeper and told me the items to salvage out of the old beeper and to throw the rest away.
 

wolfcreeknc

Member
Several years ago while hunting in Kansas my buddy and I decided to take a little siesta. We sat down in some short grass and small plumb thickets around us. I turned the beeper collar off of point mode to silent so it wouldn’t drive us and my Brittney nuts. Well, forgot to put it back on point mode when we got up to start hunting. After a while in some CRP I hadn’t seen my Britt for a while so I hit the locate. Started to meander over to him and low and behold he was solid on point for who knows how long and suddenly 4 roosters busted out of my range. Lesson learned:rolleyes:
 

jackrabbit

Active member
But I use it on flushing dogs, per his suggestion. It has two volumes of beep, loud beep and softer beep. It has turned out to be a very nice tool. I can hit the button real quick and it produces a single beep the dog usually looks at me and I can give them hand signals left or right. If I hold it down, several long beeps they come to me or at least get their attention. It works great on Windy days.
If they get a little bit too far I just give them a beep and no hand signals I just keep on hunting, and they just hunt a Little closer. The pups and I have a pretty good system. Just a thought.

This is what I do with my lab and it works 95% of the time. The beep is on the dog's collar though, so if the dog does not know where you are, then the beep can alert them to start looking for you but it can't alert them to where you are actually at. This only happens when in very windy conditions or cattails that are extremely thick and we have no visual of each other. The few times a year this happens, I then use the whistle I carry on me so he can hear where I'm actually at. And he really does listen, because as he gets closer I can hear or see the cattails moving, then he pauses for a bit so he can hear, I whistle/yell, then he continues on a bit closer, pauses to listen for me, and so on.
 
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