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Recent entries

Jeff
JEFF
IDLEMAN

Cockleburs

A Walk in the Weeds

Mon, January 09, 2012

Here is a shot from a successful hunt in Iowa earlier this season.  The Heartland Outdoors Toyota truck provides the cool graphic at the bottom.

lampetruck

For every time I actually go bird hunting, there are several other times when I just load Lil and go somewhere for a long walk in the prairie.  My hunting ground access is limited and my primary interest is getting some exercise, watching the dog work and just seeing what we can see.

Last Saturday was a good example.  Couldn’t find a spot to hunt the last weekend in the northern zone that generated any excitement.  While we had more good hunts than I had expected, generally speaking, bird numbers are way down and the thought of driving a long way (Clinton, Shelbyville) to probably see one hen flush in the distance just wasn’t worth it. 

As a result, the pooch and I just settled for a run in a no-hunting area.  Put our noses in the wind and go through the cover.  Lil got birdy in some places but nothing popped out.  As we crested a small rise, I saw a large deer standing broadside at about 150 yards.  Looked like a buck but couldn’t tell for sure.  I just stood and watched him and he watched me.

As we plowed ahead, Lil got birdy again and, after trailing for about 50 yards, she pushed out a hen.  I stepped to the side and another hen got up right at my feet.  It’s always a rush when you see the birds that closely.

Beautiful day, light wind, sun was bright, not too cold.  We just bumbled along.  Lil stayed pretty close and checked in to see where I was.  As I turned into a new area, two great horned owls lifted out of the tall grass about 30 yards in front of me.  They both landed in small scrub trees at the edge of the field.  I just stood and watched while they hooted softly back and forth.  I wondered if they had been feeding on something in the grass.  Finally Lil made her way closer to their roosts and they silently flew into the deeper timber.  They were so large and yet totally quiet in flight.  That was cool.  Checked the grass where they had flushed and couldn’t find anything. Odd to see them active at 8 a.m.

Down a gulley and up the other side.  At the crest a sudden motion caught my eye.  Wow!  Antlers were bouncing through a dense weed patch.  Then could see the buck in occasional openings.  A nice chunky 8-10 pointer.  Not record book, but still great to see. Might have been the buck I saw initially.

We worked our way back to the car and didn’t find any other birds.  Would have preferred a real hunt but this was OK. It was good to see the hens at the end of the season.  Now it is up to the predators and weather to see if they bring off broods next spring. 

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