Any day is a good day to bird hunt. Yesterday… well, yesterday was an amazingday to get out in the field.
Each year, my friends at Chippewa Kennels (http://chippewa-gsp.com/) organize a pheasant hunt for their German Shorthair Pointers (GSPs). My 2-year-old GSP, Chippewa Gracie’s Molteno Storm (“Stormy” for short) fares from Chippewa lineage. Yesterday, 14 Chippewa dogs ran the fields, noses to the ground, searching out their quarry.
The group hunt is historically held at Luckiamute Valley Pheasants (http://www.lvpheasants.com/) in Pedee, Oregon. I know LV Pheasants quite well. I have spent many a day traversing each of the three hunting units the facility has to offer, two of which grace the banks of the Luckiamute River. I have hunted the fields and forest both with GSPs, and my old retired lab, Lena. Whether you are behind a flusher or a pointer, LV Pheasants offers a great hunting opportunity, regardless of your skill set.
When I left Portland and embarked on my hour and a half drive to LV Pheasants, the weather was all but pleasant. It was chilly and raining; the type of rain that saturates to the bone in mere moments. Although the conditions left something to be desired, I was optimistic the weather would improve as I ventured south. I was not far from Portland before the skies began to let up. By the time I reached Pedee the rain had dissipated and warm sunshine filled the heavens. As I drove down the long drive to the preserve, Stormy stood in her kennel and began to whine. She knew where we were, and she knew it was time to play!
As we arrived, Stormy and I were greeted by Lacy and Luke, two 16 week old Chippewa pups. The two spent the morning in the field training over planted quail. What better way to start a hunt than to be greeted with puppy kisses?
Stormy and I were paired up with her litter mate “CJ” and his owner Grant. (Grant’s son also accompanied us on the hunt.) We took to the field and set the dogs to work. As a dog handler, I can say nothing pleases me more than to watch my GSP run so gracefully through the field, zigzagging through rows or corn and sorgam, pausing every so often to lift her nose and test the wind.
I was a proud momma yesterday as I watched Stormy work. Her cooperation was exceptional. She required very little correction, and her nose… her nose was HOT! We were in the field less than three minutes before Stormy locked up on a solitary rooster. Her point was graciously honored by CJ. We flushed the rooster which I quickly put down with a single shot. Although the dogs fought for a moment over the first retrieve, they worked out their differences and we moved along.
It was not long before limits were reached and we called it a day. Back at the club house (a nice clean barn with running water and a wood burning stove) we shared stories with the other hunters as they returned. The dogs rough housed a bit, with the little energy they had left, then it was time to say our goodbyes.
Stormy and I will not be gone for long. We will be returning next weekend to guide an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife/ Becoming and Outdoors Woman hunt on Saturday, and a mentored youth hunt on Sunday.
Any day is a good day to bird hunt. Next weekend… well, next weekend will be an amazing time to get out in the field.