If you have been following my blog for any time, you know I often make a trip “out west” over the Thanksgiving holiday. Those trips include a lot of feasting and family time, but usually some hunting and late fall fishing too! This year was no exception, time to give you a quick report.
I like to chase a few pheasants over the Thanksgiving weekend. No, my hunting partners and I usually do not shoot a lot. We do at least get to walk off the Thanksgiving feast. We often hunt some of the usual spots that I have hunted for a long, long time now. No, pheasant populations are nothing like they used to be, but good pheasant habitat and good hunting opportunities can still be found in some parts of the state, mostly “out west”.
I am not going to tell you we shot a lot of birds, quite the opposite. Even with fresh snow and excellent conditions, it was still hunting, not just shooting. But, as you might expect, I do have a couple stories to tell. . . .
The first was a long-tailed rooster that got up just a little too far. He had tail feathers as long as any I have ever seen. Wish he would have held in the snow until I got just a few yards closer.
A couple of my nephews joined my son and I, and one of them had his oldest son tagging along. We are in the midst of our Take ‘Em Hunting challenge right now, and my nephew and his boy are exactly what that is all about. I have had my son and his cousins tag along on those Thanksgiving pheasant hunts for a lot of years–so many years that now they have their own boys that are starting to tag along too.
If you grew up pheasant hunting like I have, you started tagging along long before you were allowed to carry a shotgun. We have often joked that the young, gun-less hunters were along to “bird dog”. In some cases, that is exactly what the boys do. . . .
Shortly after my nephew and his boy joined us, Andrew knocked down a rooster in heavy, weedy cover. We knew exactly where the bird went down. My son and I stood and spotted while my nephew and his boy moved in to find the bird.
You know who found it–the “bird dog”.
My nephew’s boy got to the spot and then burrowed right into the weeds on all fours. Sure enough, he was the first to spot tail-feathers! After a little chasing and kicking, the rooster was finally pinned under-foot.
You know the weather over the long holiday weekend was not nice. You can see there was snow, and then mist and drizzle and wind, and cold, and well, just not nice. Did not mean nothing, we went fishing anyway.
I hooked and lost a fish on the first spot; was afraid we might not get many chances, and I was kicking myself. I landed one on the next spot and figured we better get a picture of the first fish we caught, regardless of size.
About twenty minutes later I landed one a little bit bigger.
She was 24 1/2 inches, released right after picture-taking.
My son and I dried off a few more rainbows that afternoon including another really nice fish. We quit early. It was windy and cold and well, we were satisfied.
Saw some skim ice on a few waterbodies after the weekend. Hopefully my first ice fishing report, my New Year, is not far away! “Stay tuned”!