Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pheasant And Quail Hunting Washington State

Sarge (one of the pups from Joanie's last litter) is sitting to whistle and taking casts at 10 months old. 

Guest author Fran Seagren posts this journal entry from her hunting diary:

Sarge and I were hunting pheasants and quail last week in an area we call “The Big Wild.”  This area has every kind of cover eastern Washington can dish up.  The pheasants are as wild as they get and have a lot of places to elude and escape us.  In order to get close enough to get a shot at one of these roosters, a good dog is primary. 

A good upland dog will quarter within gun range with little reminding.  The dog absolutely requires an optimistic personality – translated to “a lot of drive.”  The dog must want to get into the stickery, thickest, nastiest cover there is, because that’s where the pheasants are.  And they won’t just come out without good reason.  A good upland dog must have a lot of stamina – there are not a lot of pheasants in eastern Washington.  To have any success, you and your dog will need to be prepared to put a lot of miles into the hunt.  

The quieter we are, the more chances to sneak up and surprise, or confuse the birds.  As pheasants consistently outwit us more than we do them, getting one is always a challenge.  Which is one of the reasons I love upland hunting more than anything.   A dog must also have some training.  He must come when called – using a whistle instead of your voice.  He must stop/sit on a whistle command.  When a dog is trailing a moving pheasant, it’s important to be especially quiet.  If the dog gets a little out of range, a single quiet sit whistle should stop him so the hunter can catch up.  A  silent “cast” should send him on his hunt.  

Sarge is 11 months old now.  Although still a puppy, he shows such maturity and control when it comes to hunting, it’s easy to forget how young he is.  Sarge is one of those dogs that was “born” knowing how to upland hunt.  The first time he was hunted this year, it was like he had done it before.  Sarge and Scott got a grouse that day.   

In this picture, I was hunting with Sarge.  He was in and out of the cover along the trees in the area “The Big Wild.”   He had been very birdy and I thought he was on something hot.  He was getting a little too far ahead and I gave a sit whistle.  As I got up closer to him, I snapped this picture.  We continued on and Sarge flushed a hen.  We had a great hunt.

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