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2 DA GILLS

Hunting Memories

14 posts in this topic

I know I have some time to wait, but I have reached the point where hunting is a daily conversation topic again. Frankly, my wife has heard enough and she does not have any stories to share. It would be great to read some stories or memories from last season or beyond. My most memorable pheasant hunt for the 2006 season was the second to last day of the season (or was it the 3rd - not important).

As expected in late December in MN, it had been raining all morning. confused.gif As afternoon approached, the rain turned to snow. I suddenly realized that I needed to go hunting and I needed to leave now. The wife was not pleased, but the dog was. We got to the piece of public ground and the snow started to fall even harder. To make matters even more interesting the wind really started to blow. It had become one of those driving, heavy snows that actually stings a bit when it hits any exposed flesh. Zeus and I headed out and found a sloppy, wet mess in the field. 15 minutes into the hunt I was soaked, but things were perfect. Zeus was working well and before long, the first solid point. It was a hen and she held tight. I almost had to step on her before she would flush. We continued on and encounter numerous birds in the 90 minutes we spent in the field. The birds held tight, the dog worked excellent, the weather was terrible and there wasn't another soul to be found. It was a perfect day of hunting and it was late December. I think we did get one rooster that day, but that is not what made the day. What made the day for me was hunting public ground after a long season and watching the dog point over a dozen birds in that 90 minutes. I think there were 2 other roosters pointed and flushed that day, but the memory gets a bit foggy on what happen after the flush. Selective memory, it is a wonderful thing.

I can't wait. The seasons can not get here soon enough.

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I believe every memory is a good memory, specially since youre doing what you love to do, enjoying nature at its fullest with nice and inclement weather. Being out there with those you love and those best buds of yours. Even when youre out there by yourself reflecting on things other than work.

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A friend and I hunt the Northern Black Hills every year. Archery deer, turkeys, and an awesome trout stream right through camp. Last year, the deer were already butchered, the trout were harassed to their limits and we had a bunch of turkey tags left.

We had a few days left of our vacation, but the weather said we needed to leave tomorrow. The last morning of our hunt we set up in an area with a bunch of roosted turkeys. Turns out there were many more of them than we could have guessed. As it got lighter we could see and HEAR turkeys everywhere! We guessed at least 100, probably closer to 150 or more!

We filled our tags, but the real story was being in the middle of sooo many birds. If any of you have ever heard a flock of fall turkeys waking up, you can only imagine the noise and excitement we felt. We have photos of that morning, but none of them compare to what's stuck in my head.

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I do have to say though the first DEER HUNT ever was here in minnesota up on rum river state forest. 2003 i think it was. opening day was like -7 the snow was so crunchy i thought anyone within a hundred miles could hear us. we were all inexperienced My dad my brother and I. well we only walked in a bit and i decided to sit down. I HEAR thunderous crunchin and im thinking wow there comes another hunter. To my amazement a 6 point buck walks out. i couldnt even bring the shotgun up to my face it was so cold and so exciting. I shook and my lens was fogged up from what little i could see I FIRED (only because there was a big hill behind him. I MISSED he ran a bit and walked as if nothing had happened i still had a shot. I did not know what was beyond so i watched him in my scope until he disappeared. I was so excited, to have even seen a deer. I was so excited and i was hooked. I knew then and there I would be a deer hunter for life. I was also excited that i was able to keep my self in check and not fire off a second shot. By the time i told the story to everyone at home it was about an 18 point buck grin.gifwink.giflaugh.gif

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Two years ago on the evening before the opening of the early goose season I kiddingly asked who was going hunting with me in the morning. I had two daughters at home, ages 9 and 11, and I didn't expect any takers. To my surprise my 9 year old piped up that she would like to go. I was totally unprepared for that answer. I asked if she was serious because we had to get up at 5:00am. She said she was so I spent the next hour scrounging up something that she could wear to provide a level of camouflage. I dug out an old hunting vest I had, a dark green hat, and she found some pants that were camo. She was having fun with all of this.

Well, the next morning I made up a thermos of cocoa, we went out into our wheat stubble, set up along side a round straw bale, I gave her my goose call to "practice", and she sat there with me for about three hours without seeing a single goose.

That in itself was a total surprise for me but the story gets better. That evening I asked if she wanted to go again and she said yes even though I was going to be driving an hour and a half to a friend's house so we would be getting up at 3:00am. Her reply was that she could sleep on the way. Well, she didn't.

Anyway, we get set up on some straw stubble over by Foley. I had a burlap blanket big enough to cover us and hide our form and we just laid on the ground among the decoys. It wasn't long before we had some geese approaching from behind us and although we couldn't see them, our hunting partner was in a position at a right angle to us so he could see them.

Pretty soon my daughter said that she saw one on the ground right next to her. I couldn't see it and with more geese coming in I didn't want to move to look. We were visiting by a flock of about 50 birds and managed to get a couple. My hunting partner later told me that a flock of about four birds came first and landed just behind us within about 10 feet of my daughter. He couldn't take a shot because he would have been shooting over us plus he could see the other 50 bird flock coming in. My daughter was quite the trooper although she was not too sure about the noise.

After the season ended we went to find some camo clothing that would fit her so she could look like a hunter too.

She went with us again the following week, last year, and is looking forward to going again this year.

Bob

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My oldest daughter now 13, had never shown any interest in hunting until last year. When she was going to turn 12, I told her she was going to take a firearms safety course even if she never used it. I wanted her to learn about guns and ammo and learn it right. I believe too many of our anti-gun supporters have no knowledge of guns and that fosters fear.

Anyway, after completing the course she began to insist that she wanted to go deer hunting in the fall. I figured it was a short-lived fad but I humored her along anyway. Well, fall comes and she continued stating she wanted to go so I scrounged around and borrowed a .410 for her to use. I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on a new gun just to find out if she's really interested.

Opening morning of her first deer hunt in her life we are sitting in a ground blind. About 15 minutes into the hunt I give a light blow on my grunt and within 5 minutes we hear something approaching from our south side and soon caught glimpse of what we thought was a nice size doe in the brush heading right for an opening not 25 yards from us. When we caught a second glimpse of her we realized it was a timberwolf; probably the largest timber I had ever seen. It caught our scent and stopped but it was positioned behind a tree and I couldn't see it very well. I moved to get a better look and it took off. That was pretty exciting for my daughter but it wasn't over yet.

About two or three minutes later we could hear something else approaching from our north side only this time it was taking very deliberate steps. I told her, "This is a deer sneeking up on us!" A few seconds later she motioned that she could see a "huge buck!" I couldn't see it until it finally stepped out from behind the ridge we were sitting on. It stopped not 20 yards away behind a tree. I could see it rear and she could see its head. I told her not to try and shoot it in the head and to be patient and wait for it to step out from behind the tree.

She wasn't positioned to be able to take the shot very well as it was on her right and she shoots right-handed so I told her to quietly and slowly turn in her chair for better positioning. Her clothes rustled just enough that he made a quick jump out into the open and was now standing broadside. I told her, "Katie, if you ever have a shot at a deer, this is it. Take it!" She took her shot and he bolted out of there.

I told her that we'll just sit and wait for about 15 to 20 minutes, have a cup of cocoa, calm her nerves as she was a nervous wreck, and then we'll go see if there is blood to follow.

A couple minutes go by when she indicates that she saw him. From my vantage point I couldn't see him and she told me he was too far away for the .410 so I traded places with her to get a view from her line of sight with my 30-06. Sure enough, there he was staring at us from about 75 yards through the brush. Man she's got good eyes!

We didn't find any blood or hair where she shot at him but later when we skinned him we found two bullet holes. He was a nice young 8-pointer and we weren't 1 hour into her first deer hunt.

Two hours later my nephew, also 12 and on his first ever deer hunt, shot a nice 10-pointer that topped the scales at 185 pounds dressed. What an exciting first day of hunting. She too insists that she'll be hunting again this year.

Bob

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Kids in the woods, gotta love it! Way to go guys.

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Last year was my first full grouse hunting season with both my girlfriend, and my 1.5 year old red setter. On one particular trip we parked the truck, loaded our vests with shotgun shells and started on a trail near my deer stand. Only a couple minutes later my dogs locater started beeping. I found her about 30 yards into a new clear cut. My girlfriend approached from the dogs left as I approached from the right. Just as I stepped past the dog, a grouse busted the cover 10 yards in front of us all. My girlfriend dropped it with one shot...The dog retrieved to hand, and that was the beginning of the best day of grouse hunting I have ever had.

For the next 2.5 hours we went through over 40 shells shooting at more birds than I could keep track of. I know we had around 20 solid points.

We left the woods with vests empty of shells, but full of grouse. We missed WAY more than we hit, but it was an absolute blast for my girlfriend, myself, and my favorite little bird dog Kati.

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The best memory of last year… easy. It was one the last days of the grouse season and I was out with my new pup. He was just big enough to finally move around in the woods. Up until then all we really did was nothing more than taking walks down the trails. Anyway, I was out with a buddy of mine who was bustin’ brush off the trail with his lab. He flushed and shot a grouse and my dog ran over to where the shooting came from. I couldn’t see my pup at that point when my buddy yelled over to me “Hey Mike, call your dog!” Well I yell out a loud “Gus, come!” Well, my oh my, what comes busting out of the woods? My pup bringing a grouse to his proud master. His first retrieve. It was pretty darn cool!

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Another memory that stands out for me from last season was the pheasant opener in ND. Last fall was my griffon's second hunting season, but his first season after force fetch training.

About 30 minutes into the hunt, we got into a larger group of birds and my brother and I dropped 3 roosters. I knew one was stone dead, but I was not sure about the others. Zeus found the dead one and returned it to hand. I sent him on the next bird. He searched and had gone some distance from where the bird went down. I doubted that he was still on the downed bird. He proved me wrong and returned with the live rooster in his mouth.

Next, I got him in the area of the bird my brother had dropped. He thought the bird was dead and had marked where it went down. He had been searching the area of cattails for over 5 minutes when we arrived to search. I got Zeus started in the approximate area and started searching myself. About 30 seconds later, I heard a rooster cackle and then a squawk. Zeus had tracked him down, gave chase and the rooster tried to fly. My brother described the action to me, how Zeus had jumped and grabbed the rooster by the tail end as it crested above the cattails.

To give us our last bird for the day, Zeus made about a 200 yard retrieve on a runner in mowed field. Fun to watch and this was a bird we would not have recovered without a dog.

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Bird hunting just isn’t the same without a dog! smile.gif

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Gills - now that's what I LOVE to hear. For me, it's as much about the hunt AFTER the shot as it is BEFORE the shot.

Gotta love dogs that won't give up and follow through to the end.

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Couple of memories I have are from last pheasant season. We were getting in the last ND hunt of the year over new year's weekend. Our 9 month old lab got a bird up in front of my dad to my right and it went in front of me going away. I dropped it with one shot but didn't kill it. It ran a little ways then tried to lay down in the snow and grass and hide. Jas was on it as soon as it hit the ground. When we got up to where she was the pheasant was hugging the ground with it's wings spread out and she couldn't get it in her mouth to bring it back. So as we approached her she would stomp it with her right paw, stomp it with her left paw and then try to pick it up again. She did this several times as we were coming up. It was pretty funny, she was a little frustrated she couldn't get him to fold his wings in so she could pick him up.

The second one was our first time out in ND in December. My uncle had his 5 month old male with just to get him into the field and hope he would catch on. I was watching him as we were going through the field and it looked like he was really birdy. All of the sudden a rooster flushed right in front of him and he was only a couple inches behind it, mouth open lunging trying to catch him in the air.

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It's even better when your dog doesn't have a tail! blush.gif

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