Today was the last upland hunt that D&H had scheduled with Shags-Run. What a day it was! Good shots, strong flying birds, great dog work and, of course, great people. I had the privilege of hunting with Jeremy Moore and Rick Setzer on one of their final hunts this season.
|That’s “Missy”. She is one of Billy’s oldest dogs, at 11 years old she is still going strong and is the foundation of the Shags-Run breeding program.|
We arrived a little after 8:00. Helen was already in the hunting shanty with a roaring fire and hot coffee ready to go. We had barely come in than she was offering us homemade sausage biscuits and fresh Zucchini bread. A good start to the day. A few moments later we got our things together and jumped onto the wagon with Billy. After a short, slippery ride to the field we put Missy, an 11 year old English Setter, on the ground.
Snow was gently falling and actually we had light snow most of the morning. Billy’s place is pretty anyways, but with the snow falling and Missy quartering through the Milo strips it was an awesome sight.
|Gathered around the wagon getting assembled.|
Our first covey had about 5 or 6 birds in it. Jeremy immediately put birds on the ground. We chased a few singles and killed another bird or two out of the group. A few took off but we were able to collect them later in the morning.
The quail flew very well. The pheasant were as fun as always. Pheasants tend to be runners. They definitely stuck to the plan. Missy locked up on point shortly after the first covey, but soon was belly crawling down the crop strip. This went on for about thirty yards or more. As we approached the end of the row, one of us spotted a gaudy cock bird sprinting through the row. That one didn’t feel much like flying and was able to sneak away.
|This was a super point. Feathers were still hanging from her mouth from her last retrieve.|
The rest of the morning went really well. Soon enough Missy was showing her age and it was time to put a second dog on the ground and give Missy a break. Out came Rosy, an Irish Setter. So pretty and very careful. She came out of the box with the wind in her face and was tracking birds as soon as she hit the ground.
|This one kinda took my breath away!|
The high point came when we ran back into one of the original singles from the first covey. By the time we finally killed this bird, she had led us through three fence lines, been bumped at least twice by the dog, shot at 6 times or so and taken cover in a stacked stone pier. When Rosy pointed the pier we were dubious, but soon Billy noticed quail tracks in the snow leading right into a hole in the pier. Soon three of us were poking sticks into the pier trying to persuade the bird to move out. Sure enough after about 10 minutes of poking sticks around and just making a general racket, the bird just strolled out of the stones right into our laps. Billy and I attempted push the bird towards Rick and Jeremy. Well, the little hen took off and flew almost right into Jeremy’s face. Just before it got out of range, Rick was able to knock it down with one last shot. We eventually found it piled up beneath a cedar tree behind us. Jeremy nicknamed it the “Quarter of Box” quail, after how many shots had been fired at it.
After killing a few more pheasants and losing one or two, we ran into the last covey of quail. Six or seven birds went up. Jeremy dropped one, Rick dropped one, I dropped one and Jeremy dropped a straggler that surprised us. We found one or two more singles and ended on a good note. It was a great morning hunt. I have had some great times at Shags-Run and I think Rick and Jeremy would agree that it is a great place and more importantly, Billy Gerwin knows what he’s doing.
It was time to load up and head back for a hot lunch. The ride back was a bit more slippery than the ride in was, but we got back in one piece. The guys headed in for lunch while Billy and I cleaned their birds. The guys had killed 18 of their 25 quail and 5 of their 8 pheasants. All in all a good day.
One of the highlights for me was seeing how much the hunters enjoyed the experience. Especially Rick, who I found out later had not shot birds in almost 20 years. I think we got to him today and I hope to hunt with him again.
When I got inside a hot, grilled ham and cheese sandwich, hot chicken noodle soup, corn bread, sweet tea, and Buttermilk pie awaited me. If you haven’t had Helen’s Buttermilk pie, make sure to grab a slice after the dove hunts this September. It is superb.
|After a chilly morning hiking and shooting, a hot lunch was great.|
Billy will hunt till the end of March. If you are interested in hunting once more before winter is over contact me at the shop (513-871-3474) for details or to get you booked.