I was out of town for a week and got to spend some time in Florida. No hunting put I did catch some fish in the surf with my father-in-law. Came back to find water in the basement and a little wet carpet. I had the spend the first part of today getting a new sump pump installed (ok, the plumber did that part). I have not been feeling the best but I decided to go out to the gamelands with the dogs. It has been over a week since they were out and they needed it. I arrived at the gamelands with a plan to hit the heavy cover close to the standing corn. That plan didn't seem as promising once I saw the corn had been harvested, except for 3 rows on the outside edges. I walked out the outside edges of the corn and let the dogs work. They covered the ground well and worked the thick hedgerows and had a point close to the end. Turned out to be the remains of a deer. It was just the hide and bones. We move on and the dogs are still going strong. They get birdy but we couldn't produce anything. I was walking on the edge of a swampy area and my right foot goes through the ice. No problem but then my leg sinks into the mud and the water is a half inch from coming in the top of my muck boots. I'm glad I wore them because my foot is still dry. But I can't pull it out. I need to set my gun down, take my foot out of the boot and pull it out. I get all this done and put my boot on to find out there is a ice chunk in it. Boot off, dump ice and put boot back on. I'm starting to think I should have stayed home. After this I decided to work the way back to the truck and try a different area. After driving to a different location it didn't take the dogs long to have a point. It was on the wood edge and I moved in to flush the bird. A rooster flushes away through the woods towards a safety zone. No shot but at this time I don't know if I want to take a bird. Then a 2nd rooster flushed going right to left for and easy shot in the open. I didn't take it. I thought it would be good to let some birds out for another time. The dogs kept working hard but couldn't find anything. I decided to circle back and work our way back to the truck. Then I hear a cackle and it is close. The dogs go to the area and Nittany gets a point. A big rooster takes off out of the grass and flies to the swampy woods. Then I start to hear 2 or 3 other roosters cackle from the distance. Now I think I'll take a bird if the dogs can produce another one. Shortly after this Nittany goes on point to my left and Blitz comes in from the right and goes on point. They slowly keep moving forward on a bird that must be running. The dogs keep relocating in the grass and finally a rooster flushes to my left and I turn to drop him on a straight away shot. He fell in the grass and Blitz is after him. Blitz is a pretty good retriever and I was surprised he didn't have the bird. Both dogs work the heavy grass but can't find anything. After 20 minutes of looking I can't find Blitz. I start thinking that with the way things were going lately I should have let the bird go. This is the first year we couldn't find a downed bird but that is about to change and I lost Blitz. Then I see him and the edge of the grass and he has the rooster. I figured that was a great way to end the season and went home.
For the rest of the year I will trade in the gun for the camera unless I do a preserve hunt. I hope to get some better pictures.
Thanks for the comments. I took the dogs out again today and just brought the camera. I stayed closer to home but I managed to get a few pictures.
You can see Blitz's orange in the bottom left corner. He was on point on a single hen that took a while to flush.
A single hen
Blitz on another hen
And the flush.
The dogs did find one rooster in a wooded area but I didn't get a good picture of anything. The bird ran and flushed on the other side of the tree line. I'll spend the next couple of months chasing the birds with the camera. I have a lot of fun with that and I don't have to worry about crowds. Plus the dogs love it.
Looking forward to the flushing survey. I hope I can make it up for some of them.
Happy New Year!