Last weekend I spent most of the time with my Benelli and my dog. Saturday started out with some pass shooting for ducks; merely a diversion until the pheasant opener at 9 AM.
Every pheasant opener I’m reminded how much easier pheasant hunting is compared to duck hunting. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy both but when you don’t need to carry decoys, wear waders, compete with mud and water, it’s refreshing!
As the opener started, my life-long friend Noel and I commenced walking for pheasants in southern Kandiyohi County on some private land. It didn’t take long to flush some birds and shoot our limit. Duke my yellow lab was a little excited but after the first bird flushed, the odds were definitely in our favor. Duke has a keen sense for pheasants so if they’re in the vicinity, Duke will find them. Duke is 4 years old and having been well seasoned hunting in South Dakota, knows the program….
We found some nice transistion areas that enabled us to work some light to heavy cover that proved effective. Even though the areas were larger than what I usually tackle, we worked the wind and the weed/cover changes to perfection.
Sunday morning Noel and I decided to setup in a picked corn field for wood ducks that we scouted Saturday night. Our plan was to use 2 robos and a dozen full body mallard decoys positioned on the highest point of the field, where the birds were feeding Saturday night.
We arrived in the field, checked our wind that was blowing from the northwest and setup a classic U pattern with the robos at the corners. Our spread was about 20 yards across and Noel and I set our blinds on the bottom of th U. As shooting hours arrived, the woodies started to buzz the deeks. The first bunch darn near hit us in the back of the head, which obviously peeked our attention…
The flock with the coaxing of few squeaks and some feeding chuckles, banked hard left and proceeded to funnel right back to our spread. Did I mention, ducks seem to fly faster every year??
As the ducks approached, tipping and diving with their feet down, Noel and I without saying a word, pulled up simultaneously and drop two birds. I hit the first one and couldn’t catch up again but the the one I continued to shoot at, Noel finished off.
The verse repeated itself soon after and as another flock committed to our deeks, a barrage of gunfire dropped 3 more and then a loner a short while later.
All tallied, after a fast and furious morning hunt, we shot our limit of wood ducks. The appealing part of field hunting is driving out to the field dropping off your gear and setting up. As I parked the truck and walked back to the hilltop a bunch of coyotes started to yelp and howl as to say good morning in an interesting manner.
As a person ages and opening days come and go, it’s imperative we reflect on the special memories these events provide. Hunting is a hobby or passion, you pick; best thing, it’s shared with a close group of friends, family and your dog!
It’s already mid October so as the days fly by as usual, remember to note the unique aromas, the keen sounds and the marvels of the season. Take the time to notice the tranquil sunrises and sunsets and cherish the opportunity, to enjoy this great sport of hunting.