Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Right Mix

Through some romantic connections I've secured hunting access to an unlikely piece of ground in central Kansas. No, it doesn't have a million pheasants like some places in South Dakota, or several covies of bobwhites like west Texas. But, a few things do make it special.

In the fall of 2007 I hunted, several times, a plot of Walk-In Hunting Access land just a few miles from this spot. The setup couldn't have been better. A full quarter section to hunt, half of it cut milo, the other half CRP, and bordered by a tree-lined creekbed. Always with both of my setters on the ground we only ever moved a couple hens.

Back to the "the right mix." On the morning of Thanksgiving Day in 2007, I ventured with the landowner to this spot for a quick hunt. He had it leased out already, but eagerly took me there anyway. We assuaged our ethical reservations by agreeing to only shoot birds that the dogs managed to pin and point, and that would hold for our approach. We walked up several cattail-filled draws and hit the mother-load with a group flush of about forty pheasants. Sage did manage to point a hen on the edge of the thick cover, but that was it for the dogwork.

How could this land support such a large population of pheasants? It was only a quarter-section of flattened milo stalks, with a creek bed cutting through it. Bordered to the north and south by pasture ground; it didn't seem any better than the piece of public close by. More on this later...

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