Halfway across the country...for pheasant.
I've got a group of buddies that have been making an annual trip out to Kansas for the last 15 years or so. I took a break from the trip for about three years for various reasons (dating, engagement, marriage). This year I decided that I had to rekindle the Thanksgiving pheasant hunting tradition because my almost two year old GSP had not yet got a whiff of the long tailed birds.
My traveling buddy, Big Wally, and I departed on the 17th and 16 hours later we were back in Kansas. The rest of the group was already there. The weather forecast called for 50s & 60s. Those temps are a little warm for my taste but I'd packed as if I was going to take the place over.
After a decent nights sleep, we set into our morning routine of a big breakfast and then watching the sunrise.
My anticipation level was a little high for the first field. I wondered what Hazel would do when she smelled her first rooster? I had tried to prep her by explaining that these guys run like track stars. We had watched youtube videos of roosters flushing. All that was left to do was to step in the field.
We got about 20 yards into the first field and Hazel had a solid point right in front of me. I figured the bird was long gone and moved in for the flush. Two quail exploded and I dropped one. A quick retrieve and we were on the board.
About 50 yards further a covey of about 15 flushed ahead of the dogs. I think one rooster was taken from the first field. For one reason or another all the pheasant had moved to the far corner of the field and Hazel and I were left out of the action.
I love looking at the sites between fields. Hard to imagine what finally caused people to up and leave. I have a lot of respect for the folks who make a living by working this beautiful land.
It wasn't long until the temperatures really started to plunge. The folks at the Weather Channel were off a bit.
We were walking a grass edge to hunt a field when Hazel pointed about 50 yards to the front and left. She went from a dead sprint to a dead stop. The dog held but the bird didn't. A couple shots were fired in vain.
Next field Hazel and I caught up to the track star for the first time.
She locked up about 70 yards into a filed and I walked in. I really wish that I had carried a camera with me into that field. She was about two feet away from a rooster that she had nailed. I stepped in and the bird flushed up and was dropped on the second shot.
A very proud dad...
and a very tired little girl.
We got to see lots of the ultimate pheasant hunters...
and more old structures that I would love to hear the story behind...
a little more.
and fields that stretch forever.
Wally and I found some classy presents for our hunting buddies.
Somehow, toward the end of our trip the weather managed to get a little colder but we stayed tough and stayed in the birds.
This photo is not the best but is one of my favorites from the trip. My girl is one of the younger dogs on the trip and the lab, Jake, is one of the seniors. Jake is a bird hunting machine. It does not matter what kind of bird your hunting. I love watching Jake work. He is an amazing bird dog. I think my two favorite things about this trip is being able to watch some great dog work and being with a great group of guys.
The cast for the annual trip to Kansas has changed a bit over the years. But, at the end of the day I would say that in my experience this trip was one of the best so far. We had a great group of safe hunters. There were a few faces that I really wish were there...
but we toasted the guys who couldn't make the trip...
and hoped that they would be with us the next time the sun set on our brief time in Kansas.
Thanks for a great report and awesome pictures. Nothing like it and the pheasants make a great tablefare. I was born and raised in Ohio. My father and uncle operated a dairy farm south of Columbus. Every Thanksgiving the ritual was to finish milking and go pheasant hunting. Mid-afternoon was dinner and back to the cows.
Amazing photos of a quality trip. I really enjoyed that.
Excellent Photos. Glad you guys had a good time.
I notice lots of red faces....the result of cold winds of course.:biggrin:
Grouseman.............. Thanks for the pics.! Never made it out to that part of the country, but it sure looks like a great place to visit. Couple of guys from work go out there every year around this time, I think they said 18 of them make the trip. They duck hunt part of the day and pheasant hunt the other half.
Thanks again for sharing with us, I really enjoyed the report!
Pretty big pile of mallards & teal.
Hey Jason, Sawyer said that he would trade you 2 ducks for every pheasant....... :biggrin:
Lewis and John can sure cook the grub can't they?
Awesome pictures! You must have a great camera:smile: and you have a good eye for pictures.
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