Saturday, November 26, 2011

November Hunting

My brother Shawn walking the rimrock during a chukar hunt
I've been fortunate this month to spend a few days afield in pursuit of pheasants, chukar, and ducks.
The dogs working the edge of the phragmites
I've had some great times with friends and family. We are truly blessed to live in a place that gives us these hunting opportunities. I always hear that Utah doesn't have the opportunities of other states for bird hunting. That's true but there are birds available if your wiling to put in the time and the shoeleather.
My nephew Mike on the pheasant hunt
This year we haven't put a lot of birds in the bag but the hunting has been enjoyable and we are getting enough contacts to keep it fun and exciting. Enough birds and excitement to keep us coming back for more. Isn't that what it's all about? (at least that's what I'm going to keep telling myself every time I come home with an empty vest)
The amazing, talented Pudelpointer Hazel
Were coming home empty more because of poor shooting. We've had our chances each time we go out thanks to the dog work. Hazel has been awesome this year and Chief is having his moments too. And my brother's shorthair Sage is also a ton of fun to hunt behind. We have a great mix of dogs that all compliment one another. It's a lot of fun to watch them all get on the ground and work some birds. We had a chukar covey on the move yesterday and Hazel went up high and cut them off while chief worked the covey below and Sage tracked and stalked them from the rear. We had them busted (or at least the dogs did) we complimented it all with missing 5 shots on the covey. :) Holy crap we suck. We had a good laugh about that one. Good times.
The rookie Llewellin Chief. 
Hazel taking a rejuvenating roll in a patch of snow while chukar hunting

Sunday, November 13, 2011

2011 Utah Pheasant Hunt Opener

Chief's first Rooster Pheasant
I Had a beautiful opening day of the pheasant hunt this year. My dogs both worked well. Hazel busted the first rooster we encountered but she soon calmed down and was simply amazing the rest of the day.

It was a brag on your dog kind of day. I hate to brag because as soon as I do I know the next time I take out my dogs they will do something awful but I can't help it this time.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the DWR released a bunch of chukar partridge a few weeks ago in the same area I pheasant hunt. We had our limit of chukars within an hour. This particular area butts up against some mountains that are very good chukar habitat so I think the may have been trying to supplement that area or maybe just adding some birds to get more action for the pheasant hunters. Maybe there was a youth hunt in the area. I'm not sure. I have to footnote this with the fact that I didn't get into the field until about 11:00 in the morning. When I pulled in, there were 6 trucks and SUVs leaving the area. The entire place had been thoroughly worked by many hunters and dogs throughout the morning. Footprints in the snow everywhere. One hunter even said "I don't think there is anything left. We hit it pretty hard and we only got up 2 chukars. Good luck but I think you've come too late." I thanked him and went on my way. Within 2 minutes Hazel put up a rooster, I didn't shoot and I could hear the guys in the parking lot guffawing over our find. I loved it! We then started to clean up on the chukars. I got my limit and helped other hunters get 3 additional birds. Throughout all this we were getting points on hen pheasants. I was calling hunters over to Hazel's points. If it was a rooster I asked for the shot, if it was a chukar it was theirs. We had so much fun. Chief, the 7 month old Llewellin, got up the only rooster I bagged for the day. (pictured above) He retrieved it too! He is awesome. It was Chief's first wild rooster, what a special moment. He also pointed and retrieved a chukar. I had other opportunities on pheasants but I sadly I missed the other rooster Hazel found for me. I was back home by 3:30. It was a very fruitful opening day.

I've been out a couple more times this week with moderate success. We've bagged a couple and missed a couple but are having a ton of fun the entire time. Any success hunting pheasants in Utah is a very positive thing. We were hoping to get to South Dakota this year but things fell through and we didn't get it done. All the usual excuses apply – Work, timing, money. Oh well, we do what we can.

Hope everyone else is enjoying the the fall. If your hunting, I wish you the best of luck.