Today a friend (Mike) and I took a couple hours to hunt pheasants a few miles from my home here in Wyoming. 95% (or better) of our local pheasant hunting is for released birds in two areas and it gets crowded, WalMart after 5 pm crowded. It's really not my thing.
However, we do have a sparse population of wild birds, enough to hunt once in a while. As such I truly cherish the few opportunities I take to shoot a rooster here rather than out of state. Special moments of course require a special gun, 16 ga. to be specific, and today's choice was the Sterly.
I have never hunted the ground my friend secured permission to hunt, but did fish there way back in my early teens. The place looked about like I remembered from the days when Dad dropped me off with a fishing pole while he went to tend mules and such. I sure enjoyed those days. I enjoyed this day as well.
An hour and a half of hiking around river bottom cover in 5" of freshly fallen snow was time well spent. Tracks revealed that we certainly had cause to be there. The first strip of Russian Olives held birds, but they ran fast and flushed wild. At the end of the row, Mike went one direction and I headed another. He has to walk pretty slow these days. I tend to really gobble up ground and we had more ground than time, so divide and conquer seemed appropriate. I fared well. Mike did shoot at a bird, but for the most part they out ran him. We need to formulate a plan where I can push birds to him. Easier said than done in brush country.
The birds obviously had been hunted before. Many flushed across the partially frozen river where neither of us could go. Dirty rats. However, Rusty sniffed out a few stragglers here and there. I also got to literally nudge one bird from a tangle with my boot tip. Excitement! The rooster didn't make it far, snow was still sifting from his back when a dose #5 shot found the blue behind his beak. The crown jewel however, was a mature bird with a 25 5/8" tail. Not bad, not bad at all.
Unlike so many hunts, I was home before the snow finished melting from either my boots or Rusty's well sculpted coat. I haven't actually taken a 3 bird limit near home in over a decade. With the report of a 16 gauge, the holidays are officially off to an early start. There is much to be thankful for.
_________________ Only catch snowflakes on your tongue AFTER the birds fly south for the winter...
Joined: 12 Aug 2007
Location: Northern Illinois
Makes me jealous. I was out for four hours today and saw three birds and my buddy got one. The other two were distant dots in the sky they flushed so far in front of us. I did get a rooster yesterday and I forgot my camera.
Have a great holiday. I always get a kick out your pics of Rusty. He is some dog.
Every wild late season rooster is a trophy and one with long tails is even more so. I was happy with a 23 1/2" rooster I shot last weekend haha. One with 25 5/8" tail feathers is truly exceptional! Congrats!
It's good to see Rusty is still doing well. He is a handsome boy.
Awesome. Wyoming wild pheasants are a real treat indeed. It would be cool if there was a way to encourage landowners to plant some food plots. In my part of Wyoming, most wild birds are focused around hay feeding grounds. Are you going to mount that 25" tail? I have never shot anything longer than 2 ft in Wyoming.
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