This past Saturday, January 5, 2013, I had the pleasure of joining my brother Ron Bailey, nephews Mik Bailey, Jonathan Hinderks and friends Mark, Jeff, Tyler and Braedon Anderson for a pheasant hunt at Sandpine Pheasants game farm just outside of Avon, MN. The dogs on the hunt were my yellow lab Duke, Ron’s black lab Isabell, Mark’s yellow lab Benelli and Mik’s black lab Jet. As is the case on all pheasant hunts, the dogs are the stars of the show. With the exception of a few “unplanned” bursts of energy by all dogs, other then Jet who was in slow gear all day, (sorry Mik) the dogs did a great job…..
Our hunt was organized by Ron and the location was chosen by Mik who lives in Sartell, MN, which is a 10 minute drive to the game farm. We purchased 24 birds and our hunt lasted from 1:00 PM until 4:30 PM.
The weather on Saturday was almost perfect; about 20 degrees with a light breeze so since your walking through switch grass, standing corn or brushy tree-lines it was very comfortable. A couple guys started out with a little heavy clothing but shortly into the hunt the bibs and parkas were removed.
Prior to hunt we met up with Keith Sand, the owner of Sandpine Pheasants. Keith had us sign in and complete the necessary release forms and then Keith drove us around to familiarize us with the fields and property lines. The property is divided into three fields; our designation was field #2.
Our hunt started out with a couple birds within a few minutes. The snow really collapsed the coverage so many of the pheasants were under the snow so the dogs had their work cut out for them. Duke and Benelli both caught a pheasant which is a testament to their speed and keen noise. Towards the end of our first push, the guns were warmed up with a number of shots fired and 6 birds in the bag.
As we all reorganized, our next push was a standing corn field with a treeline on either side. It wasn’t long until the first birds erupted from the snow-filled rows of corn. Jonathan who was walking on the west tree line had the hot spot. After a few well placed shots, JJ had two solos and some assists on other birds. All tallied, the push produced 5 birds and all the dogs were having fun…
We split up for the next two pushes and as we met at the lodge in the middle of the property, we had harvested 15 birds. Time to warm up and grab something to drink and have a snack. As we all sat around a table and watched some football and talked about the hunt we planned our next move. We decided to walk the area we started on but to start from the west and work east. At the end of the first cornfield when we were positioning to walk another area, a rooster flushed behind Mik…After turning around and shouldering his Beretta; one shot and the rooster tumbled to the ground.
As we all continued, I spotted a rooster running ahead across the snow.
As the dogs caught up the bird flushed to my right and then flew back over Ron, Jonathan, Mik and Jeff…. Not a good idea. After a their volley of shots, the rooster folded. The next push produced three more pheasants; so after a fun afternoon we ended up with 20 birds.
As we all posed for some pictures after our hunt it was time to go back to Mik’s to clean birds, have a few beverages and grill some burgers. Thanks to Mik and Jessica for their great hospitality and good food. As we conversed about the days hunt it was a nice end to the hunting season. If you have friends or family members that are just learning to hunt or an inexperienced dog the game farms provide a nice opportunity to guarantee the flush of birds and provide some nice close shots. Even with experienced hunters as was the case with this group, we enjoyed ourselves and have put this date on our calendar again for next year.
If your looking for a safe and exciting hunt, give Keith a call at 320.363.4790 or go to www.sandpinepheasants.com for more information. Good luck in the field and remember to practice safety and introduce someone new to this great sport of hunting!