So technically the Pheasant season ended in Illinois on January 8th, but my season just ended today (March 29th). As any Illinoisan knows finding Illinois Pheasants in the wild isn’t any easy endeavor with numbers waning over the years. The Illinois DNR website says you have about a 33% chance of bagging a Pheasant in the wild any given day. So I hunt Pheasants at a hunt club. The habitat there is great for Pheasants so I’m sure I’ve hit a wild one here or there but the majority are stocked. Until I travel to the Dakotas this is my situation, but I’m not complaining it is a great time. Any day in the field is a good day.
I have a pup named Lucy that just turned 9 months and has been heading out with us all year. It has been fun to see the gradual process of her becoming a good bird dog. Lucy is a lab and a flusher, my dad’s dog Josie who just turned a year this winter is a German Shorthair Pointer. She points and finds the birds and my dog flushes. It is a good combination and fun to see both dogs work in their own way. There is something special about working a bird dog that you raise and work with. If you haven’t ever had the experience of watching a Pointer come to point on a bird, you haven’t lived. There is the inherit draw to something that is just instinctual. Sure my dad worked hard in training his German Shorthair, but there is this amazing fact that she was made to hunt birds. She knows what to do and it is just the humans job to guide her on how we want it done.
The last day of the year I took AJ Hauser out to hunt with us. The forecast called for some high winds, which led to some birds running, but we got our share to lift up and got some good shots off. Off the bat the birds were holding down hard in the sorghum and Lucy pounced on them and they took off. Later in the day they just started to run. The birds get in the timber and when they hear a dog they are already about 50 yards up than where you think. They really started to run across roads and dive in the thick brush. We took down 6 roosters so it was a good day. Then the usual happens when you hop in the car to leave, one runs across the road.
It was a great way to close out the “season”, until next year…can’t wait.