Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11 Hunt

Ken and I had tentatively planned a hunt today when he returned from his physical therapy appointment if he felt up to it. (Remember, he hurt his back on our Nevada hunt.) Unfortunately, he didn’t feel like it so Nellie and I departed on our own about 11:00 a.m.

I was primarily after pheasants today which require fairly heavy loads. Normally I reload all my hunting loads but I decided to experiment with some factory shells today. About 30 years ago my next door neighbor was Arlen Chaney who was the marketing manager for CCI in Lewiston who manufactures primers and .22 shells. Arlen gave me some unusual shells from a company called Wanda from Houston. He said the ammo was made in Mexico and, of course, CCI had the primer contract. The company had gone out of business and he thought they might have some collector value because of their uniqueness. They were loaded in a thick red translucent plastic cylinder with an over wad instead of a crimp to hold the contents. I’ve had them all these years and as I’m not really a collector I decided I’d give them a try today. The other experiment was with some shells that Ken gave called Prairie Storm made by Federal. They contain an ounce and a quarter of lead (12 gauge) with a velocity of 1,500 feet per second. Half the pellets are round copper coated lead and the other half are kind of Saturn shaped nickel plated lead. Ken said they tore the birds up too much but they are advertised as being lethal at a long range while holding a tight pattern. I thought I’d try them as my second shot.

Our hunting location was on steep hills with the road and a small creek in the bottom. I let Nellie out of the truck and had just gotten my gun out and loaded when I heard a cackle up the hill to my right where Nellie was. Suddenly a big rooster pheasant was zooming about 30 yards up over the road. I quickly swung and shot with one of the Wandas. To my delight (and maybe a little surprise) the big bird folded in mid air and due to his speed and height hit about a quarter of the way up the hill on the other side. I could tell he was a dead bird. I hadn’t even loaded another shell in my gun when another rooster jumped up out of the ditch quite a ways down the road. It was a long low going away shot that I probably wouldn’t ordinarily take but I thought I’d give these long range Prairie Storms a try. I pulled up and took a quick shot and this time I truly was surprised when the bird rolled and fell in the creek bottom. I was afraid he wasn’t dead but I didn’t go after him because I didn’t want to take my eyes off where the first bird had fallen that I knew was dead until Nellie had found it. She found it shortly and after bringing it back I directed her down the road with me following behind. She went in the bottom and found the bird that was dead as a doornail. To take in account the distance the bird traveled after I shot it I went back about 5 to 10 yards and then stepped off the distance from where I shot. It was 48 yards which, for me at least, is an extremely long shot for an out going pheasant. When I cleaned the bird I discovered that he had been hit in the left upper wing that was totally blown up even at that distance.

Another rooster was pointed by Nellie at the top of the hill while I was in the field just above her. This time I was using my own loads. It was a down hill going away shot and I knocked the bird down but he jumped back up and fluttered all the way down to the brushy creek bottom. Nellie hadn’t seen where he ended up so I directed her down with me. She looked for a while but couldn’t seem to find it. I went back over to the road and started walking down towards where I had shot the last rooster while Nellie was in the creek bottom below. After we had gone about 200 yards Nellie began working up on the hillside. I was sure the rooster had eluded us because wounded birds normally go to the brush at the bottom and stay there. However, about a third of the way up the steep hill side Nellie’s beeper goes off indicating she is on point. Unfortunately I couldn’t get across the ditch and creek bottom at that point. I had to go all the way back up the road, cross the ditch and creek and go back and up the hill to get to her. I was afraid the beeper battery was going to give out before I finally got there. It seemed like she held the point for 15 minutes but it probably was only about 5. She was pointing to a small bushy tree when I finally arrived and then the rooster took off running. It was quite a chase up and down the hill before Nellie finally caught him. I was afraid he was going to get away because his running gear was in good shape. It was good that a wounded bird didn’t get away and that made my pheasant limit. I hunted a while more and eventually bagged a Hungarian partridge. 11-11-11 was good for me. (It really was today. The camera date is incorrect) M/W


Hallie said...

That was quite a day! Will you continue to use those long range rounds?

Mike said...

I'll probably use the Prairie Storm loads sparingly - just as a second shot on pheasants and not at all on partridge or quail.