Last Friday Corbet and I got up way too early and headed east to the Fort Pierre National Grasslands for some pheasant hunting. This year hunting time, and outdoor time in general, has been limited at best. Since we were hunting heavily pressured hunting public land in a year with lower pheasant numbers I didn’t know what to expect. With gale force winds predicted that day I didn’t have high hopes but figured it was worth the trip to at least get Corbet back into bird country.
I’m not sure if this trip actually counts as a success or not. We didn’t see much in the way of birds and shot even less. But Corbet did get the chance to actually work a field by himself, which was a first for him. With no labs to show him up in the flushing department, he finally got the opportunity to show off his true pointing skills. He had two nice points and was thoroughly disappointed when I didn’t shot either. How you explain to a dog who’s held up their end of the bargain that you can’t shoot hen pheasants I don’t know but I sure wish there was a way. Unfortunately those two hens were the only pheasants we saw all day so he didn’t get to show off his retrieving skills except with the dummy which I threw as a consolation prize after his awesome points.
Besides not bringing home any birds, my almost-qualifies-as-an-antique Toyota pick-up blew-up it’s motor about an hour from home. Talk about a rough ending to an already tough day of hunting. After having been wind-blasted and frozen all day and not seeing a single rooster pheasant, sitting on the side of the interstate was the last thing I wanted to do that evening. As I watched the South Dakota sunset I had to remind myself that hunting isn’t always about the hunt, it’s about getting to spend a memorable day in the great outdoors watching my dog work. But I’m not going to lie, if on the next trip we actually shoot a bird and don’t blow-up a pick-up motor we’ll definitely call it a success!
*Warning: If you do not agree with hunting today’s post is not for you. While there are no gory photos (as this is something that even I don’t like) I know some people don’t condone this activity. However, hunting is an activity that I truly love and appreciate and I wanted to share this awesome adventure. Consider yourself warned and read on if you’d like. If not, I promise tomorrow’s post will not be hunting related and I’ll see ya then! ~R
After years and years of having a turkey tag, of watching them saunter across fields just on the other side of public land boundaries, of getting almost close enough but then having them spook I finally got a turkey. And wow!! These birds are pretty cool to watch in the wild. They are so beautiful and mine, well, he was downright gorgeous. The beauty of this bird and the yummy food that will grace our table are not taken for granted. And this hunt will be a memory that I will treasure and laugh at for a long time.
Like a lot of my hunting adventures, and as evidenced by my bare toes in the photo, this didn’t go down the way most peoples hunts go. In fact, I hadn’t intended on hunting at all that morning. I was supposed to be cleaning the house. Oops!!
Had the dogs not whined at the door to go out I never would have noticed the turkeys. They were in a pretty good location though so I figured, what the heck. Of course, my bow was still out in my pick-up so I had to go get it….
And my arrows were in another room so I had to go get them….
Finally I was ready and headed out the door to try and sneak up on them. I figured if they were still even anywhere nearby it was at least worth trying. And the trying worked. As I drew my bow and released my arrow I knew my placement was on. Practice pays off as I’ve been working on this shot for almost a year. Of course I had to do a tiny happy dance, it was after all my first turkey! And then I had to figure out how to clean the turkey but that’s a story for another day.
Archery deer season in South Dakota opened last Saturday. Jake and I had every intention of getting up early that morning and heading out to see what we could find. But when we found ourselves cracking our eyelids at closer to 9AM we knew we had blown that opportunity! It was kind of funny actually because we had even laid our all our gear out and were pretty stoked to get out but apparently after the long week before sleep was the bigger priority. Good thing there’s two days to the weekend!
Saturday afternoon we made our way back to my parents cabin to spend the night. We hadn’t seen any deer the weekend before up here but mostly I was hoping to hear the elk bugle again. This early in the season I’m not to serious about hunting for “the deer” just yet.
Sunday morning turned into a bit of a sleep-in day as well although nothing like Saturday . Since we hadn’t been monitoring the area throughout the summer and weren’t sure what the deers’ patterns were we figured we’d just take our bows on a walk and see what we could see. And that’s exactly what we did, take our bows for a walk. We did stalk some does for a while, just to see how close we could get but I’m not gonna lie, spot-and-stalk is not a technique that I’m good at. Our bigger excitement of the day was finding some tiny remaining patches of snow. Proof that there was snow in September!
Our season opener weekend makes me laugh. If you’ve ever watched any hunting show you’d believe that every time a hunter goes out they bring something back home and whatever they harvest is a huge “insert-animal-name-here.” If this were true there’d be a lot more really rich and very busy taxidermists and a much different looking animal population. Fortunately for the animals sake (but maybe not so much for the taxidermists’) it’s a lot more about “taking our bows for a walk” and getting to spend time in the great outdoors. For me at least, that a lot of what this “hunting” thing is all about. I’m sure you’ll find me back out there this weekend, taking my bow for another walk!