Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Two Weeks: Part II

The morning after my trifecta I slept in a bit and then accompanied a good friend to breakfast at the new greasy spoon in town. Being a Sunday, the after church crowd of a small town was in full effect and it was pretty busy. Despite not actually being from this small town, I sure did see a lot of people I knew having their breakfasts. I love that you can still get two eggs, bacon, hash brown, toast, and a cup of OJ for less than $5. Charming, really, especially when the waitress knows everyone's names.

I headed back to the spot where Ike found the quail and the chickens on Thanksgiving morning wishing they would hold again, only this time I'd keep the camera in my pocket. I started at the south end this time; hopefully the stiff artic breeze would alert Ike to the chickens' location before we had to crest a hill and blow our cover. Late season chickens can be jumpy, especially if they've been pressured. Ike made a nice early cast into some CRP and the Astro told me he was on point. I thought it could be pheasants, but I saw some deer running away, so I decided to wait him out since we were here for chickens anyway. Five minutes later and he was still on point 450 yards into the CRP. I snapped a pic of the Astro's screen and got to hopping the fence. The Astro directed me right to his location and a pair of roosters erupted skyward, and like the day before I dropped them both. Elated, extatic, all of the above. I reached into my pocket for my camera to document my second double in two days, and like the transmitter and GPS, it was gone. I walked between that spot and where I crossed the fence three times and was never able to find it. A real bummer, it had some good pictures on it. More than anything else I wanted the card out of it. More bittersweet, I guess.

We returned to the pasture ground with a heavier game sack and worked our way across so that we'd be directly downwind of where I thought we'd find the chickens loafing about. Before we could make our turn north Ike went on point again, now in a bottom area below a man made pond. I snuck below the canopy of the trees and found him pointing in an area with literally no ground cover, just bare dirt with a few horse apples littering the ground. Maybe a squirrel or a rabbit? Ike will point just about anything. He relocated through the thicket and slammed on point again. I walked to his side and peered at the ground, thinking that if ever I was going to see a covey of quail bunched up ready to bust this would be it. A minute passed and I never found anything. One step and I was surrounded by quail exploding from the ground just in front of Ike, absolutely huge covey, maybe two dozen birds. I can't believe I never saw them, they were right there! Ike found one single that jumped in the wind and I missed badly. They landed mostly in some private ground so I pulled him off to get after those chickens. We worked north and I found a couple roosts, but no birds.

We worked into the breeze and when we were circling back to the truck the chickens lifted off the ground quite a ways from where they were last time. Ike was not in the vicinity, and they flew into the wind right over me. I couldn't resist and knocked down another mature male chicken. Had I managed one of those quail it would have been two slams in two days, with two pointed doubles on pheasants. I hunted a new spot, two sections of pasture, hoping for more chickens. But despite a long walk the wind beat us up pretty bad and we weren't able to move any birds. Oh well.

More to come...

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