About three weeks ago I was mulling over the fact that this past pheasant hunting season was such a total disaster (see Friday, January 20, 2012 I'm Baaaack! entry below) I made the decision to take advantage of a “pay for play” pheasant hunting enterprise. Since these enterprises hunting seasons are from September to March there was still time to rid myself and my dog Guy’s severe attack of cabin fever.
I contacted several of the “pay for play” enterprises before I made my decision of which one to experience. I wanted one that was close enough to make it a single day trip. As we (Guy and myself) waited for a semi decent weather forecast the tension was intolerable. It was so intense in the household that the BOSS told me to pick a day and get it done with, which I immediately did. The arrangements were made for the next day.
Since neither Guy nor I could sleep very well, like youngsters the anticipation was killing us, we arose earlier than needed and got out of the house and on our way. We made the drive to a small town near the intended destination and found a small restaurant that catered to the early rising locals and I partook in a huge and delicious breakfast and enjoyed some friendly conversation. It was pleasant surprise that the residents of this small burg harbored no ill will towards this big city personage.
Since my hunting buddy was relegated to the truck I bought a couple of pancakes and a generous piece of ham for him which he enjoyed immensely. After he finished his breakfast, had a large drink of water and a potty break we were on our way to nirvana.
Upon arriving at our destination we met our host at the clubhouse. After discussing the rules of engagement, services offered and the separation of me and my money I was ready to go.
He directed us to an area that was the most promising area to start. As I was getting Guy and my gear out he offered me this advice, “down in the old creek bed at the end of the mixed milo and corn field at around 7 to 7:30 there will be plenty of birds as the creek carries a small amount of spring water year around.” This really charged me up. As you well know that pheasants, quail, etc. feed around daybreak and if there is water nearby they drink prior to laying up for the day.
Finally we are on our way and both Guy and I are filled with anticipation. Just as we are leaving the yard the proprietor hollered out to me that in the aforementioned creek bed yesterday he spotted “THE BIG OL’ FAT WOOSTER CALLED WALPH”, the proprietor
has a speech impediment is speech challenged (have to be PC ya’ know) and waved us farewell.
We proceeded into the field and about 50 yards in Guy locks up on point. I approach and a rooster barrels out, I bring the gun up and proceed to miss. Guy runs about 100 feet in the hope that I didn’t miss, realizes I did miss and stops then continues hunting. About 5 minutes later he goes on point again I approach the bird flushes same result as before except Guy didn’t run as far and turned and gave me one of those disgusted looks that say “Look buster I’m doing my job so get on board and do yours.”
We continue on hunting, approximately 10 minutes later, the following occurs; Point, Approach, Flush except this time feathers fall but the bird doesn’t so off Guy goes. The bird and dog are heading for the next county. No amount of hollering, whistling will stop Guy from the chase. About 15 minutes later here he comes with a rooster in his mouth and still alive. He retrieves it to hand and I do my duty and dispatch it. We are both a little happier now.
We are now approaching the end of the field and the “creek bed” and I think to myself maybe, just maybe I might redeem myself in my dog’s eyes. About 20 feet from the end Guy locks up on point I in turn am just starting to hustle forward when Guy starts “flagging”, turns around and runs up and hides behind me.. I think to myself what the heck is going on. I ready myself thinking that there must be a coyote, bobcat or something else there. But seeing as I am toting a shotgun that holds four shots and I can in all likelihood handle the situation. I carefully approach the creek bed to see just what is there when lo and behold there is “WALPH” partaking in a drink of water with no fear of me or Guy.
“WALPH” is the biggest rooster pheasant I have ever seen or even heard of bar none!
I am glad that I have #6 shot shells loaded. I proceeded to pick up a dirt clod and threw it at him so he would flush as I really didn’t want to “Arkansas” him, but he just ignored it. I try again same result. One more time, same result. So I surmise that he has been hit before and can’t fly and I should finish the job.
I draw a bead on him and fire; he flinches but doesn’t go down for the count. I fire two more times with the same results but it looks like one more shot will do the trick. I pull out a shell loaded with #4 shot, draw a careful bead on his head and fire, down he goes for the count. I send Guy for the retrieve and he looks at me with a No Way Jose’ look and just stands there.
I hear the honking of a car horn and look around and see the proprietor bouncing around the field edge road at about 150 mph waving his fist out the driver’s door window. I am thinking what the heck is going on! With the dirt flying he slams to a stop about 10 feet from me, jumps out and is whoopin’ and a hollerin’ and congratulating me as for what I hadn’t figured out. He finally settled down enough to explain that he was watching our progress with binoculars out of one of the second story windows and saw us dispatch “WALPH”.
So we picked the huge bird up, jumped into the truck and decided to head back to the club house for a hot cup of coffee. I forgot to mention that it was really, really cold and a tad breezy, most probably the reason for my previous misses.
Upon arriving at the clubhouse and imbibing a couple of “Irish” coffees I thought a picture of “WALPH THE BIG OL’ FAT WOOSTER” was required. After drinking the coffee I figured that my and Guy’s hunting itch had been scratched. Sure am glad that there are eight months for Guy to recover from this traumatizing experience.
I also surmised that those who read this account just might call it a “big Windy”, as they used to say.
You can see for yourself that this is NOT a big windy by perusing the picture below of the proprietor and “WALPH THE BIG OL’ FAT WOOSTER”.
Before I left the proprietor told me his name was Sam and his great, great, great grandfather was Samuel Clemens.