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Late Season Pheasant Hunt

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It isn’t very often that we get to enjoy a pheasant hunt in well-established native tallgrass prairie in Southeastern Nebraska.  We’re not the only ones.  In the 1960’s 140,000 hunters bagged about 1.4 million pheasants annually in Nebraska.  These days, the annual count is around 50,000 hunters and 200,000 birds (Hendee, Omaha World-Herald, 01/23/11).  Speaking to other Nebraska hunters this year from across the state, pheasant numbers this year have been up from recent years past, but obviously nowhere near the level of the mid-20th century.

Our hunt last Saturday was in some amazing habitat on private ground east of Lincoln.  It was a cold, windless winter morning, ideal for keeping the roosters held tight in the thick grass.  The air was moist and slightly foggy, perfect scenting conditions for the dogs.

The SE Nebraska combination of windbreaks, crop fields and a smattering of prairie.

Nate, the landowner, begins working the fields

Sam and Charles make their way through the big bluestem

We headed east, away from the farmstead, pushing through some thick cover towards a small cattle feedlot.  As we neared the break between the prairie ground and the feedlot, Nate saw a flock of hens flush to the north.  I saw one rooster fly into a windbreak at least 40 yards out, then Charles and I both saw another rooster spook way out of range.  I’ll admit that we were all probably a little too chatty about what we had already seen and not focused on keeping quiet for any other roosters nearby.

The guys thought they had seen a rooster land to the south in a bit of a marshy area, so we pivoted as we came to the feedlot and began to work our way through some tough swamp weeds.

Busting through some weeds

Walking down a waterway

Sam running on the left, Sue visibly pregnant on the right

As we worked our way back west out of the swampy area and into the grassland, the dogs both started acting birdy: retracing their paths with their noses to the ground, Sam sneaking lower to the ground, Sue holding her head high, circling and searching.  Finally, Sam’s beeper collar starts to make the loud, sharp beep, telling us that he’s on point.  Charles walks right in for a close flush and takes the rooster.

Stay focused! The rooster takes the impact, but unfortunately my auto-focus thought I was taking a picture of that piece of grass

Sam presents the gift

The rooster!

We continued to push southward into the corner of the property, then made our way west, working a treeline on our way.

Checking back in: that’s pregnant Sue on the left with the frosty face

Following the take of the rooster, we worked the field for another hour or so, with no further sightings of pheasant.

Arriving back to the farm

The pose: Nate with Sue, Charles, Sam and the rooster

 

Guiding at Pheasant Haven January 9th

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The snow began to fall on Sunday morning, but it wasn’t enough to deter the hunters of Pheasant Haven Hunting Acres in Elk City, Nebraska (www.pheasanthavenlodge.com).  Charles and the dogs guided their third hunt on the preserve, with myself on hand as co-handler of the dogs, guide assistant and photographer.

We began the day running both Sam and Sue, which led to some very fast shooting and more retrieves than we could keep up with at times.  There were points where we had to stop to let the dogs catch up on picking up the shot pheasants on the ground.

Charles takes a retrieve from Sue while looking out for Sam working a bird

Sam on retrieve

Sue happily checks back in

We stopped around 11 for a lunch of pheasant breast and mushroom stew, then went back out with Sam for a second sweep of the property.

Walking the fields at Pheasant Haven

Sam brings in a rooster

Sam on point

Hunter walks in on Sam’s point

Sam gives Charles another perfect retrieve

The hunters, 24 pheasant, Sam and Charles

Your reporter in the field, posing with the birds

In 2011 litter news, Sam and Sue completed breeding at Christmas and she is showing obvious signs of pregnancy.  We anticipate whelping towards the end of February.  The puppy application is ready and has been sent out to the 30+ individuals expressing interest, with more calling and e-mailing every day.  I am excited to raise these pups and get them into some excellent hunting homes!

 

Snipe 2010 and More Youth Hunt Pics

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Charles took Sam out last Sunday for a snipe hunt in Saunders County, Nebraska.  Yes, snipe do exist, and a “snipe hunt” isn’t a joke!  They are a swamp bird that sort of looks like a small woodcock.  I’ve never shot one myself, but I have seen them flush out of the marshes.  They fly in a strange zig-zag pattern.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Sam, Charles and Caleb with three snipe

I received some additional photos from the Heartland Chapter #491 Pheasants Forever Youth Hunt that took place a few weeks ago.  Thanks to chapter member Ron Funk for getting these shots.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Sue on point

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Sue retrieving a pheasant

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Charles, the unidentified youth (again) and Sue filling the game bag

The dogs are getting this weekend off due to doe only deer season.  Charles didn’t have any luck yesterday morning and decided to take our 6 year old son, Conrad, with him today.

Deer hunt

Conrad’s first deer hunt

We’ll see if they have any luck with the afternoon deer hunt.  The dogs will be back in action next weekend hunting ducks in the Sandhills.

Thank God for “The Good Life”!

Pheasants Forever Youth Hunt: Heartland #491 2010 and Pheasant Pot Pie

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Charles and Sue had a grand time guiding at Pheasants Forever Heartland Chapter’s Youth Hunt on Saturday, September 25th at Pheasant Bonanza in Tekamah, Nebraska http://www.pheasantbonanza.com/.  I wasn’t there to witness, but Charles said that Sue did a great job pointing and retrieving the birds.  She’s got the point part down on the bird box.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Sue pointing the box of pheasants

The best tale I heard was where a pheasant went down on the far side of a barbed wire fence and Sue had no problem going through the fence to retrieve and back through with the bird in her mouth without dropping it.  There will be more pictures of the youth hunt forthcoming from other members.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

Unidentified youth, Sue and Charles at the 2010 Pheasants Forever Heartland Chapter Youth Hunt

Since I knew that Charles would be bringing home EVEN MORE pheasants to put in the freezer, he pulled a couple out before he left that morning for me to do something with.  So I made my most easy, “half-homemade” pheasant pot pie.

  • Place two whole plucked and gutted pheasants in a large stock pot.  Fill with water and boil for a couple of hours or so.  Defrost two frozen roll-out pie crusts
  • Shred/debone pheasant meat, preheat oven to 375
  • Sautee about 5 sliced mushrooms, mix with pheasant meat in a bowl
  • Add about 3 cups of frozen mixed vegetables
  • Add 1 can of cream of chicken soup, mix
  • Warm the whole mixture up in a sauce pan on the stove, but don’t cook it too much
  • Grease a round casserole dish and place one of the frozen pie crusts in the bottom
  • Dump the grub in and put the other pie crust on top, cutting slits
  • Place foil on the crimped edges of the pie and bake for an hour and a half or so

Pheasant Pot Pie

 

Charles in Nebraskaland: July 2003

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I recently scanned a page from the Nebraskaland July 2003 issue which featured Charles as a youth hunting mentor for Heartland Chapter #491 of Pheasants Forever.  Here’s a link to the article/photo:

Charles Nebraskaland

Nebraskaland is the monthly outdoor magazine of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.  Here is the link to the magazine if you would like to check it out:http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/nebland/

Our chapter holds an annual youth hunt for holders of a Nebraska Hunter’s Education certificate.  We are awaiting information for this year’s hunt, but if you have an interested Sarpy or Douglas County Nebraska youth, you can contact us at bluestemkennels@cox.net.

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