Friday, December 17, 2010

Thanks to neighbors combining resources and deep snow, some of the best hunting is at the end

Trouncing through the snow can have its rewards
Photo taken by Therese O'Fallon

The hunting season is drawing to a close. While there is still a couple weeks of deer archery and pheasant hunting left, the chances for getting out again are slim.

After an initial dry run of four weeks of seeing no deer archery hunting, I had some exciting experiences. I finally put it all together archery hunting in late October, only to have the buck jump my string. I put some meat in the freezer during rifle season, nothing dramatic, I shot two fawns in a managed unit late in the season.

Then, the dynamic of hunters bringing different resources to a hunt, and new snow, brought a really great late-season pheasant hunt. On December fourth, my neighbor Eric and I went pheasant hunting at the farm of one of my family friends near Hutchinson, MN. The place is only hunted by neighbors who hunt each other's land and sections of swamp. Eric brought his dog, Brody, who wasn't intended to be a hunting dog, but has turned into one. Eleven inches of new snow brought birds that were holding very tight. After flushing an intial covey of at least fifteen birds, we flushed birds for the next two-three hours in the frozen swamp. The first flush quickly produced two kills, and after working the huge swamp, we had a couple more, and had missed a few others. Working our way back to the woods, a nice flush set up and we had the fifth, one short of our limit. We downed our sixth in the woods where we started.

It was a beautiful day, the fresh, powdery snow making a patch of hardwood forest invaded by buckthorn a mystical place. The dog had to work hard in the snow, but with all the action, Brody was regularly re-energized. We left a bird for our host, who took pictures and served us coffee and brownies before we left. It was a fitting end to a hunt that Eric decribed as something he hadn't experienced since he was in South Dakota as a teenager.


  1. Looks like that foray out on that snowy morning was worth it!

  2. Defintely ! I aged the pheasants a few days in the basement, then dry-plucked them. What a chore. It did make them more tender, but it is almost a feather at a time. It took Paula and I about an hour to do two of the birds. I'm going with an immediate wet-pluck next time, then letting them age in the fridge.