With both boys out of school for Christmas break, we decided to head out for an afternoon pheasant hunt. The weather has been brutal in MN for nearly a month, but today we had temps in the mid 30’s and a light wind. With the good weather, deep snow, and the prospect of another storm hitting MN tomorrow I figured the pheasants would be on the move. We had to do most of our scouting from the car and then walk ditches because all of the grassy cover in the area is under 3 feet of snow. Not the ideal pheasant hunt, but we had to make do.
I turned onto our first gravel road at 2:15 PM. A half mile down the road we spotted a group of 7-8 hens sitting in a bush. We pulled up along side of them and got to watch them for nearly a minute before they flew off into a cattail swamp. As we started to pull away a rooster flew into the cattails on the other side of the road. I parked, loaded up and walked in after him. A few minutes later I had 10-15 birds erupt from the cattails and brush around me. I made a clean shot on the rooster closest to me and held off on other shots as the birds flew over thick cover and I didn’t want to risk a lost bird. Plus the snow was up to my waist (literally) and I was spent pretty after three minutes of walking through it. I was shocked the birds held so tight. Below is a picture of Jake with rooster #1.
A couple minutes later we drove along a brushy ditch that ran along some stubble corn. The road was covered up in tracks, so we parked the car and started to walked the edge of the ditch. As soon as we got into the thick cover the air erupted around us as 7 roosters flushed within 5-10 yards of us. Three shots later and I had two roosters laying face down in the snow. The boys each made a retrieve in the deep snow and our hunt was done in 15 minutes.
We drove around a bit more and saw several other big groups of birds. It was fun seeing all the birds, but with all the snow and lack of cover in the area they could be in big trouble by the end of the winter. We might sneak out for one more hunt on Friday and that would put an end to my 2010 hunting season. Although if it ended today, it will still be my best season ever! Luckily Minny-Mo gets to start the 2011 hunting season off with a late February hog hunt in Oklahoma, so stay tuned. Hopefully 2011 is as good to me as 2010.....
12/31/10- The rain and sleet held off this morning so the entire family made a quick trip back to Meeker Co. before todays storm moved in. Just like Tuesday, we pulled onto the same road and immediately saw 20+ pheasants run out of a corn field and into the same brush/swamp I shot bird #1 on Wednesday. This time the birds flushed a bit more wild and kept the majority of the brush between us. One rooster got a bit to high in the air for his own good and I was able to whack pheasant #1 less than 5 minutes into legal shooting time.
Minutes later Logan made his first ever spot on a rooster that was sitting down in some cattails along the shoreline of a swamp. I was able to walk within 10 yards of the bird before he even moved. The bird flushed up into the cattails and got himself tangled up in the mess of grass. I felt like I was shooting a pop can off a fence pole. 1 shot and a cloud of feathers. I am guessing #2 load might have been a bit heavy for this shot. Logan was one proud hunter when we retrieved the bird.
We saw several more birds but they either spooked as we approached or held up in areas we couldn’t hunt. Either way it was a fun morning. 2010 season is officially closed!