Pheasant Hunting in Colorado
Last weekend I took my son Kyle pheasant hunting in southeastern Colorado, along with my friend John and his 10 year old son Joe (the same John and Joe that I wrote about here). It was a beautiful day, perhaps even a little bit too warm and dry for the dogs to get a good scent of the birds.
We met at Rocky Mountain Roosters and warmed up our shooting on some clay pigeons. Joe had a new youth-model Mossberg 500, and I was shooting my new Stoeger Condor for the first time. My Condor is the first over-and-under shotgun I have ever owned, and I was quite pleased with how well I was shooting with it. We were all shooting well on the clays, an encouraging start to the day.
The area we hunted was full of good cover with a mix of crops, tall grass, wooded draws with a lot of bushes, and some open grassy fields. We saw a rooster and a hen running off down a dirt tractor path just as we started our hunt, another encouraging sign. However the hunt started out a little slow, and I wasn’t real happy with how the dogs were performing, they were either too far out putting birds in the air out of range, or too close, sometimes even behind us. Bill was our guide and he had three golden labs that were all full of energy, just not as disciplined as I would have liked. But within an hour the dogs put up some birds within range, and John and Joe both had the first few chances and brought down two pheasants.
We were hunting a wide draw with the dogs going through the brush and trees in the center, John and Joe on the east side, and Kyle and I on the west side. The birds all seemed to be on the east side of the draw, or at least flushing that way, and all Kyle and I were getting were passing shots at birds flying very fast from left to right. I missed one, and Kyle missed a couple. I was feeling a little discouraged, but I knew it was early in the hunt. I really wanted Kyle to get some birds that day, and we both would. Here is a short video of part the area we were hunting, click here.
After about an hour of hunting in that area of the draw, we moved to an area full of uncut milo that was about 4 feet tall. Magic, one of the dogs, froze about 20 yards quartering to my left, and suddenly the loud flapping of rooster wings erupted as the bird shot up from the ground and turned to the left. I put him down with the first shot at a bird from my new Condor, a great way to break in the gun! Kyle had a few chances but wasn’t connecting. Even though he did well on the clays, I was starting to think that he may have literally outgrown his gun, making his shots go high. I felt bad for him, but he kept on trying, with a good attitude.
We roamed around the large old homestead, hunting some excellent cover, walking about 6 miles by the time we were done. As the day neared its end, I had three birds, John had three, Joe had one, and Kyle still hadn’t connected. As we were walking through the last field of the day, almost 200 yards from our trucks, a bird sprung up about 20 yards in front of Kyle, and he got it with one shot, I was so happy for him! As the dog brought the bird back I could see the huge grin on Kyle’s face, his first pheasant! That’s a day we will both always remember.