Friday was probably my last Pheasant hunt of the season so I took both Mia and Doc on separate solo hunts. Mia has been braced with Doc all year and I wanted to give her some one-on-one quality time in the field, so I took her to McTucker Springs.
Mia started the day by going on a nice solid point just after starting out and I flushed two hen Pheasants. As it turned out, the sun made it difficult to see the birds because hunting into the slight breeze also meant hunting directly into the sun.
I walked the access road while Mia hunted the bank of the springs. At one point I stepped off the road to wait while she worked her way up to me, and almost stepped on a big rooster. Unfortunately, I had my hands in my pockets (tip: when your wife suggests wearing gloves while hunting, listen to her!) and by the time I got them out of my pockets and fumbled with the safety, the ringneck had disappeared into some Russian Olives. For some reason the birds were holding very tight and didn’t flush until you were right on top of them.
Suddenly Pheasants were bursting out of the brush between me and Mia but with the sun directly in my eyes, I couldn’t even see them well enough to shoot. We hunted for a bit before heading downstream. While checking the stream for ducks, we came upon a pair of Mallards and I missed an easy shot at the greenhead. That miss signified how the entire day would go, and after starting the hunting season with great shooting, I’ve lapsed back into missing shots.
We hunted our way into a thick forest of willows and during the course of the morning flushed almost a dozen roosters. Although there were a lot of birds, the thick brush prevented me from taking shots. Mia got lost again for a few minutes – or at least she was busy hunting and not responding, so this has become another place to avoid until I get a GPS collar. But while calling and whistling for her, a rooster flushed right next to me and I missed the shot.
Mia heard the shot and came running back and we continued on. While working some scrub brush, she went on a rock solid point. I flushed two roosters and missed my shot. I had one more shot that I missed and ended the morning going 0-for-4 on birds. However Mia showed me that she’s really settled into a solid, dependable hunter.