First heavy snow pheasants

Oldtimer2

Member
Jul 29, 2020
270
495
Iowa City Iowa
Name
Rob Malone
Boat
don't got no boat
Back here in the middle of flyover land, we got our first heavy snow (11-13 inches) yesterday. Woke up this morning to a white wonderland, and the first thing I thought of was "that oughta group up the pheasants".

So I asked the pups if they were interested in giving it a try. It seems that they were. Really really really were. ;)

Now I'm getting a lil long in the tooth to be breaking through 12 inches of heavy snow, I put on some gaiters, walked outa the backdoor, strapped on a pair of cross country skis, and off we went. I don't actually ski, I just shuffle along. But the skis do keep ya on top of the snow; only problem is going slow enuf down hills, but other than that, it works ok. (I'd rather use snowshoes, but the bummed hip won't let me.)

So we meandered down the front valley to the creek. No tracks in the valley, but with the deep snow, we didn't expect much there. Got to the cedar windbreak we'd built to provide some cover for the birds. Dogs got birdy and out pops a rooster. Lordy me, are they pretty against the white snow. Great retrieve, and lots of wagging tails. One in the bag. As we approached the creek, it was clear that the birds were grouped up a lil. Set down the sidebyside, and took out the camera. Here's a pic:

pheas on snow.JPG


Of course, they all dispersed into the cover as we walked to the creek. The creek has mature trees on both sides, with ground cover extending out some 20 yards of so on each side. We (and our neighbors) put the land along the creek into the wetland varient of the CRP program a number of years ago. There is about a mile of creek with cover. On either side of that it's plow up to edge of the creek. Still, the mile provides good winter cover for a lot of animals.

The pups got birdy 100 yards in; flushed a hen. Of course I didn't shoot, and I got the "look". (If you have hunted with pups, you know the look. It's "what the hill, I'm working my behind off to get you some birds, and you won't even shoot at them.") A rooster flushed about 10 seconds after the hen, and I shot through the trees. He landed on the other side of the creek. Since they didn't see the shot bird, I sat the youngster next to me, and handled the senior dog thru the trees across the creek and to the bird. It's nice to have all that training you do pay off.

As we pushed along the creek, we got to a fencerow that comes down to the creek from the south. There was a set of tracks leaving the cover and running along the fence. It looked like a good size rooster from the tail drag. The fence has tall grass and weeds along it, but most were covered in snow. Still, it's not uncommon for a bird to dig in under the snow and curl up in the grass. It provides pretty good insulation.

I asked the pups to work slow and stay next to me. They were willing cause they'd already got two birds, and I think they were starting to get a bit tired. (I was on skis, but they had to push through the snow and the drifts.) I could see where the tracks ended, and there were no wing marks, so I knew he hadn't flown. The anticipation built. I stood back about 15 yards and told 'em "Get him". They both dove into the snow, and for a second I was afraid they'd catch the bird. The rooster made it out, took off and let the pups and me know he was pissed with his cackle caw cackle. What a great sound. What a great sight against the snow. He flew with the wind and was really building up speed. I had to move to catch up with him, and he landed about 30 yards on top of the snow. I sat the senior dog, and let junior get the retrieve. Dog happiness all around. We walked (well, I ski shuffled) the half mile or so back to the house all of us wagging, even me.

Here's a picture:
PheasHuntsnow.JPG


I cleaned the pups (burrs), I cleaned the birds, and I cleaned the gun. Made a pot of coffee, sat down and decided to write up our "expedition" for BD. I don't get to go ocean fishing any more, figured that people on BD weren't likely to be very interested in fishing for crappie and bluegill, but hoped there might be a couple of folks that liked bird hunting with pups.

I'm getting pretty old and got the ailments associated. If it weren't for the pups, I wouldn't likely hunt very much any more. But they truly love it, and I guess I gotta say I love them, and so we go out and give it a try. Sometimes we get the birds, and sometimes we have nice long walks. Today, we had good luck.

Happy New Year to y'all. Be safe out there.
 
Last edited:
Upvote 0

Oldtimer2

Member
Jul 29, 2020
270
495
Iowa City Iowa
Name
Rob Malone
Boat
don't got no boat
Thanks for the kind word, DragonBall.

Your description says you live in Washingon. Many years ago, there were a decent number of pheasants in eastern Washington, especially in the regions around Enterprise and La Grande.

I had a great aunt who had a farm outside of Enterprise, and as a teenager we would occasionally go hunting birds up there. Up at higher elevations in the Wallowa Mt. and the bluffs along the Snake River, there were chukars. Man, were THEY a lot of work! LOL
 
Last edited:
Upvote 0

Oldtimer2

Member
Jul 29, 2020
270
495
Iowa City Iowa
Name
Rob Malone
Boat
don't got no boat
Thanks for the kind word, DragonBall.
Your description says you live in Washingon. Many years ago, there were a decent number of pheasants in eastern Washington, especially in the regions around Enterprise and La Grande. I had a great aunt who had a farm outside of Enterprise, and as a teenager we would occasionally go hunting birds up there. Up at higher elevations in the Wallowa Mt. and the bluffs along the Snake River, there were chukars. Many were THEY a lot of work! LOL

Good golly Ms. Molly!!
I just did a senior moment thing. The Wallowas and Enterprise are in NE OREGON....not Washington. Holy hotdogs! I keep thinking I ain't senile yet, and then something like this happens.

Sorry Dragonball. I suspect that eastern Washington has/had pheasants too, but I'm only familiar with eastern Oregon back in the day. Not a good thing when you can't remember the daymn state!

(He leaves the thread, shaking his head slowly, wondering if his brain is going to mush..........)
 
Upvote 0

jiggermyster

Goin' out...
Dec 12, 2003
482
722
So Cal
Name
Clay
Boat
n/a
Well, you got the Snake River part right.
That's in Washington... at least the part we used to make the miserable tow from So Cal to race our boat was. Clarkston WA/Lewiston ID Thunder on the Snake.

Anyhoo...
Pullin' on YT's and tuna is work.

Workin' dogs is fun.

Good to hear you're still having fun!
 
Upvote 0

pacificscout

Hey! You got any frozen ice?
  • Jul 28, 2012
    5,567
    5,271
    Fullerton
    Name
    Wally
    Boat
    16ft Scout EMBUSTERO
    Knot a hunter but, I sure love that story.
    Oldtimer2 for being long in the tooth, and still out digging your dogs and your wonderful life, sure makes it a great read.
    Thanks for sharing.
     
    Upvote 0

    Oldtimer2

    Member
    Jul 29, 2020
    270
    495
    Iowa City Iowa
    Name
    Rob Malone
    Boat
    don't got no boat
    Well, you got the Snake River part right.
    That's in Washington... at least the part we used to make the miserable tow from So Cal to race our boat was. Clarkston WA/Lewiston ID Thunder on the Snake.
    Anyhoo...
    Pullin' on YT's and tuna is work.
    Workin' dogs is fun.
    Good to hear you're still having fun!

    Clay,
    Part of the Snake is at the edge of eastern Oregon too. (I just doan know why I couldn't remember it was Oregon. Well, it was over 50 years ago.:-) )

    Say, did you ever FISH the Snake when you took your racing boat up there?
    Back in the 60s and 70s they used to have a strong steelhead run in the Snake. They were great fighters, especially on the fly rod.

    [I gotta disagree a bit about tuna and work. Although the biggest tuna I ever caught was 101lb, so I don't know about fighting a cow, I never ever thought of it as work. Having a tuna pulling on your line is sorta like being in heaven. Truly fun. I enjoyed every single moment of catching tuna. }
     
    • Like
    Reactions: jiggermyster
    Upvote 0

    getaway

    Almost A Member
  • Aug 22, 2008
    241
    224
    jamul
    Name
    jim
    Boat
    23 parker, sea venture
    Great write up! My lab has health issues now, so her hunting days are over. I just can't get excited to go hunting without a dog. But reading your post sure brought back a lot of memories. Thanks.
     
    Upvote 0

    Dragon

    It is what it is...
    May 24, 2006
    407
    284
    SLO Co.
    Name
    Paul
    Boat
    22' Pro Sport CC / 20' Skipjack Open
    Oldtimer 2,
    Keep the Pheasant hunt photos coming! I love to hunt birds Especially Pheasant...I'm still getting out quail hunting with my son at 65. I have had some wonderful dogs Labs and Pointers in my day, and there is nothing better than working over dogs when wing shooting...Its time to get a new pup, this is the 1st time in many moons I haven't had a bird dog. I always had 2 and could rest one if I needed. You live in Pheasant Paradise!!!
    Beautiful shots lets see the dogs...God Bless & Happy new Year!!!

    Paul
     
    Upvote 0

    jiggermyster

    Goin' out...
    Dec 12, 2003
    482
    722
    So Cal
    Name
    Clay
    Boat
    n/a
    Clay,
    Part of the Snake is at the edge of eastern Oregon too. (I just doan know why I couldn't remember it was Oregon. Well, it was over 50 years ago.:-) )

    Say, did you ever FISH the Snake when you took your racing boat up there?
    Back in the 60s and 70s they used to have a strong steelhead run in the Snake. They were great fighters, especially on the fly rod.
    ...
    Never seriously fished the Snake. Once, I did toss a spinnerbait between the boats as they were floating, waiting for their heat race.
    Got a lot of "do you really think there are fish around with all this commotion going on?" looks... until I hooked a white bass looking fish in about a six foot gap between boats.
    I always carried a cheapo spinning rod in the rig for the times we'd lay over in a KOA.
    We usually drove straight through though, so I didn't get to do a lot of fishing.
     
    Upvote 0