Friday afternoon, our group of five hardcore pheasant hunters took to the fields in search of the scarce pheasants at Mayberry. Surprisingly we found quite a few birds, but these well-trained escape artists evaded and dodged us quite expertly. We shot at not less than three roosters, but didn’t even touch a feather.
At the end of our first leg, I had my best chance of the day. Lola had been inhailing pheasant scent for a couple hundred yards and I’d been working hard to keep up with her when she went into a serious pheasant chase. I sped up, sloshing through the eight-inch deep water trying to keep pace. When the bird got up – low and fast – at about 35 yards out. I threw the gun up and took a quick shot, but didn’t manage to hit the bird.
On a better note, it looks like I did bag my birthday rooster, it just took a week to catch it. If you read my previous post about attempting to bag a rooster on my 60th birthday, you already know that I did knock down a rooster last Saturday, but it managed to beat Lola to a large berry patch and survived with a broken wing.
Now for the rest of the story. As Rob and his pooch Peetie rounded that same berry patch on our pheasant hunt this Friday (a week after the previous event), Peetie got some pheasant scent. She took up the trail and instead of sending a pheasant skyward, she caught it. Yes, most likely (since we’ve not crippled any other birds in that vicinity) it was my birthday pheasant afterall. It just took a week to retrieve it.
The weather this weekend was quite turbulent and at the end of our pheasant several dark rain cells passed through the area and we got a bit wet. Here’s a couple nice rainbow photos.
Very intense rainbow
Duck hunting in November has always been spotty. There are exceptions, but if I had to eliminate duck hunting during November it wouldn’t break my heart. Fred and I did manage to bring home some geese last week, but the hunt was boldstered by one big barrage at a large flock of Alleutians that came over at close range. We knocked down four before each wiffing on our third shots.
Pheasant hunting sometimes takes up the slack for a lack of ducks, but this year and last have been tough.
Yesterday I hit the duck ponds for just the third watefowl hunt of the year and the heavy north winds made the day look promising, but for one of the first times in my life I’d have to say that the wind blew too hard. It was very unpleasant out there and few ducks worked our pond. I knocked down one greenhead that tried to land in front of me and missed another. Lola maintained her stellar record for the season – no lost birds and found one extra (that Fred had lost earlier).
I had Fred snap a photo after the goose hunt.
Rich with geese and pintail on a November goose hunt
Nothing makes me think of the good old days like pheasant hunting.
While looking through the archives – the days before digital photography – I found some old photos of our 90s pheasant harvest. A few of them have the date on them – 11-25-95.
That is fourteen years ago and it sure was different then. Take a look.
Cousin Wes and brother Rob with limits
Friends Fred, Steve, Gary and Ralph with limits
Rich and Terry with limits
Rich and Val with limit
In the 90s, we had years where every hunter went home with a limit through Thanksgiving. We’ve only had a couple limits taken so far this year and tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
What’s different? Weather patterns, a shift from farming to ranching on Sherman Island and older less productive habitat on our property.
Oh yes, we are also a little older and slower.
What a day for a birthday. Sunny and clear after an evening of outdoor dining and a little jamming, however weak. The banjo and guitar supplied by Rob and cousin Wes and some singing by me.
Our rendition of “He’s in the Jailhouse Now” left plenty to be desired, but on Saturday morning all I could think of was bagging a bright wild rooster on my 60th birthday.
At 8:00 AM sharp, Rob – accompanied by Tule and Peetie, Wes and I -accompanied by Lola, hit the fields.
It was long before Lola had a hen up and then another. The next field produced a rooster quickly and I knocked it down with my first shot – a birthday bird?
It was not to be and the winged rooster made it to a nearby berry patch and escaped. Too bad, but we had plenty of hunting to do.
Field three produced nothing. Nothing but about 100 bitterns and a river otter that posed – and me with no camera.
We planned an attack on the next field, one of our most productive. I circled and came in from the far ditch. As I moved into position, with Lola a few yards in front of me, a rooster climbed into the air only ten yards away. The bird headed for the thick cover on the opposite side of a 20- yard wide ditch.
It cackled a long continuous cackle and nearly hovered, offering an ‘unmissable’ shot. Unfortunately, I couldn’t shoot. I was not convinced that Lola would make the retrieve and having already lost one bird, I was gun shy. I let the rooster go – with some regret. Maybe I’ll find him again and Lola will get him up over dry ground on our side of the ditch where the odds of retrieving him will be better. There’s plenty of days of pheasant hunting remaining. In fact I’ll be back again this week and I’ll be looking for him.
In the mean time I’ll have to consider him a worth birthday rooster. Game on.
Looks like Mick Dover is at it again. This time he’s got a great looking B-Zone blacktail from the mountains west of Corning. Haven’t got all the details yet, but here’s the photo.
Can’t wait to hear the stories that go along with this buck.
Kevin Olech, one of the Purple Heart recipients who participated in Livermore’s Purple Heart Blacktail Hunt has expanded his hunting experience. On a recent trip to Colorado, Kevin shot his first elk. Here’s the photo.
Congratulations Kevin. Good luck with the whitetails back home.
On the way to the ranch a couple weeks ago, an early morning rain combined with early sun produced some good rainbows. Here’s one of the best that I was able to photograph.
It looks like it’s coming directly out of the General Electric reactor on Valecitos Road.