Opening Day 2009 Report

Another opening day has come and gone. I must say that I’m not entirely disappointed, but I wasn’t blown away by it either. It was a fun weekend though; as I’ve always said, a bad day of hunting is better than a good day at work.

It started off early on Saturday. We wanted to hit a couple of fields that we had permission on, but so did some others. So we’re there at dawn, all 13 (hmmm,13. that just dawned on me) of us. This was my daughter’s first time out on opening day, and she was excited.

The first field was a cut circle field of corn, we were going to walk out the margins and the 4 triangles left from the circle. These were way overgrown by tumbleweeds, about waist deep and nearly impossible to get through at times. A couple of roosters flushed from the field, hopes were high for the rest of the day. Frankly, the rest of the field was a bust. I’m sure we walked over game due to the growth, so off to the next field.

Again, another cut circle of corn, fortunately, it wasn’t quite as overgrown as the first. We immediately get a rooster or two to flush and we’re all excited. But frankly, with 13 hunters, it’s hard to get a shot unless the pheasants flush right in front. A few of the birds were hit multiple times. But it’s all good.

One edge of this field is bordered by a dry creek bed which flushes a decent sized covey of quail. My daughter and I get down into the bottom of the creek and she takes a quail. Everyone wants a shot, so we moved out and let some of the others in. I did manage to bag a pheasant on the last corner, so at least the kid and I weren’t totally stumped.

The rest of the morning was about the same, we’d see a couple of birds and that was about it. It’s getting close to lunch so we’re trying to decide whether to hit another field or take a lunch break. Keith decides we should hit this small area on the way to lunch that he called a “tail water pit.” Basically, it’s dugout to the size of a small pond and left to overgrow. It might hold water during a real wet season, but it’s bone dry that day. A couple of guys say that we’ve never gotten anything out of it so why bother. Keith’s saying we always see stuff there. I don’t recall ever walking it out.

It’s decided that 5 of us would go through it, 3 in the bottom and 2 on the outsides, and a couple of blockers. I send my daughter down in the bottom in hopes she’ll get a better chance and I take the outside by the road. Several get in the vehicles to wait and listen to the football game (KSU is playing KU that day). I’m kind of daydreaming as I walk along.

A couple of shots ring out and I turn to see a small covey flushing out of the bottom. I don’t think anyone gets one then. We’re beating around a woodpile and a few more flush. Keith gets one towards the end. He’s totally gloating in a “see I told you” kind of way. I missed on a couple and so did my daughter.

The afternoon hunt is a bust, I don’t think we saw anything after lunch. We call it a day at sundown and go get some dinner.

The next day we awake to rain, mist and fog. It had rained most of the night, so the corn and milo fields will be a muddy mess and no one is up for it. We head down south of Meade to a local friend’s land. We generally always see quail down there. It’s all pasture and sandy hills, so would be better than slogging through muddy farm fields.

We get into a nice covey of quail and chase them around awhile. The best part of that day is Sam finally gets his first quail. He’s hunted with us for years. Yay Sam!

Like I said before, it was a fun opening weekend. It might help if we had some pointers with us rather than the lab pup, who did do a good job of retrieving for being a young one. All in all, the group harvested 7 pheasants and 7 quail (1 quail was eaten by one of the dogs, so the number would have been 8). It certainly wasn’t as great as the early reports were saying, at least in our area. But nothing beats a weekend hunting with your buddies. There’s always next time.

Kansas Pheasant and Quail Season Opener

ringneck pheasantThe pheasant and quail opening weekend will kick off in a couple of days here in Kansas. I haven’t been out on opening day in a couple of years due to spending all my allotted hunting time on deer. This year sounds like it should be a good one and I’m really looking forward to getting out for a couple of reasons.

One, I’ll get to see some guys I haven’t seen in a couple of years since I haven’t been out. There’s friends coming in from all over. Some from southeast Kansas, Wichita, Augusta and even the east coast of the U.S.

Two, and the best reason, this will be my daughter’s first opening weekend. She’s 17 and this will only be the second time she’s gone hunting. Her first time was at the end of last season after she had finally finished Hunters Safety Clinic. She also had saved up her money from working a Christmas job and bought herself a double barrel shotgun – made me want to cry. On her first time out, she dropped two quail. I was definitely the proud papa. I’m looking forward to her reaction when a dozen pheasant come blasting out of their hiding spot.

Last count, there are maybe a 8-10 hunters showing up for the opener. It’s always a good time, even if I don’t get my limit – which is most of the time (like I’ve said before, the bird population has never been in danger from us). I love being in the outdoors, hanging out with friends and seeing all the wildlife. And the traditional stuff that goes on at hunt camp.

Keith will always have to suddenly go do something when it’s time to clean the birds. Jason will complain about Keith being gone. Sam and I will complain about our sore legs. There’s always lots of stories told around the bonfire after the hunt, some true, some not, most exaggerated. It’s definitely good times.

I’ll post a report of how things go, hopefully a good report. Wish us luck!

Mid Week Hunting Round Up

Some random articles from around the web…

Hunters Help Feed Homeless, something the anti-hunting crowd doesn’t ever bring up, how much hunters share their bounty with the needy.

Why you should get your kids interested in hunting, I’ve gotten my youngest daughter interested in hunting and took her out for the first time last season. Will definitely be taking her pheasant and quail hunting next month.

After years of 100’s of unsubstantiated sightings, finally, a confirmed cougar sighting in Kansas. My dad claims to have seen one in South Central Kansas, towards the Oklahoma border. He didn’t get a photo though, but he was with his fishing buddy and he saw it too.

State by state quail hunting forecast from the Quails Forever site. Things look good for Kansas in general. It’s been a long time. Nothing more fun than a good quail hunt.

State by state pheasant forecast from Pheasants Forever site. According to them, Kansas should be excellent. Higher populations overall and specifically in the NW part of the state. SW Kansas should be improved also – which is where I’ll most likely be.

And close to my heart, The Possible Shop has an article on sighting in a Hawken rifle and determining optimum loads.

And I haven’t quite determined how I feel about this article yet,  Couple to hunter: ‘Leave without your dead deer’. I totally respect their right, since it is their land, but it just seems a bit mean to me. Of course, being a hunter, it’s hard for me to understand some, SOME, anti-hunters.

And I leave you with this quote (courtesy of The Hunting Authority):

“How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!” -Samuel Adams

That’s it for this week. Keep your powder dry!