This year we have been experiencing a real winter, with cold temperatures and snow. Mitch told me this would be “real” pheasant hunting (you mean all the other times weren’t?). This was going to be a short trip, just a weekend trip with an overnight stay. So I didn’t need to pack my whole wardrobe, I was reminded. But I would need to think COLD and pack “warm”, in other words, my whole wardrobe. Can’t have too many layers.
When we got to Todd’s preserve there was another group of hunters just heading off in the direction that we normally went. Todd came walking over to us and we caught up on what had been going on since November. The morning was cold with a strong wind out of the north and there were heavy clouds, looking like it could start snowing soon.
Todd said, “I’m going to take you to a different place to hunt this morning. It’s over by my house and there are lots of pheasant and chukkar that have escaped and are just hanging out around in that area. I want to get that area cleaned out.”
It didn’t matter to us where we hunted as long as there were birds, and this sounded like it would be just too easy, so we said sure. We loaded the dogs back into the car and followed Todd over to the property close to his home. Mitch pulled the station wagon in and parked alongside Todd’s truck. We got out and surveyed the area. We had never been to this area before and felt kind of special, like we had made it to the inner circle or something. There was about 200 acres of more land that Todd owned. To our left was a corn stubble field, in front of us were small hills and down over the hill was a wooded area. But Todd wanted us to work a small wooded draw off to our immediate right. It started at the road and went back into his property about the length of a football field. It wasn’t very big at all. Along side of the draw on the left were old junk, parts of some farm machinery, tubes that looked like they were part of a silo and various other sundry items. On the right side of the draw was where he kept some cattle at the edge of his family lands. So we had to be careful about shooting in that direction. Down in the draw we could see a winding creek and open ground with no cover except for the tall trees growing out of the draw.
Mitch was clearly skeptical and we were both a little disappointed. We thought that we were going to “hunter’s heaven” and here we were standing at the edge of what looked like a huge waste of time. But outwardly Mitch didn’t show any of his disappointment to Todd. Todd told us to start at the street and work our way to the back and we could go to our left and work the cornfield and after that we would go farther into the fields. Todd suggested that one of us stay up top on the outside edge on the right side of the draw and the other one go down in the middle and work our way back. Todd said he had some things to do and would come back by in about an hour and see how we had done.