Saturday, January 30, 2010

Return to Pintail Point

Somehow we drove a pheasant right into the woods. It was a one way trip for the bird.

As part of The Big Hunting Weekend, we decided to purchase some "shooting insurance," meaning some guaranteed meat in the freezer and shots on live birds if our "real" hunting didn't work out. We scheduled an upland shoot over the sorghum fields at Pintail Point Plantation. Both Tug and Nutty came up from VA and my hunting buddy Rich joined us. We "purchased" 15 chukar and 15 pheasant, so we thought we'd have some fun shooting, and we were right.

Tug and our guide walk through the sorghum and millet plot.
In Maryland, the "preserve shoot" season lasts longer - I believe October to March - because the birds are domesticated, fat, happy, and not migrating anywhere. Still, by this point in the winter, the cold rains and the snow cover have usually put a pretty big dent in the available cover for any upland birds - domesticated or not. While the larger pheasants may be able to stick it out through the winter, I have a hard time believing that the quail and chukar can do the same. Regardless, we were there to shoot, and that's what we did.

Our guide Max and his dog, Sam, bringing the aforementioned pheasant rooster back out of the woods after Rich connected with a crushing shot on the bird in trees, brambles, and heavy cover.
On this trip, I felt a little more comfort and "reach" with the 20 gauge....once I got settled down a bit. I passed up some long shots and luckily the other fellas reached out with their 12's and made it happen. The Nutty One made some absolutely crushing shots with his full choke 1962 Remington Sportsman was right at 40-45 yards....awesome to watch! On my last trip to Pintail with Tug, I made hits on birds at 30+ yards with the 20 gauge but failed to bring them down, so my goal was to try and adjust my shooting, rather than blame it on the gun and start switching loads (I was using Winchester Heavy Quail) and chokes (Briley Extended Modified).
Our guide, Max, was a younger guy and was pretty laid back. His style of hunting and working the dog was a little different from John Turner's. He was also pretty quick to improvise and switch tactics, and it worked out often enough that it made him look like a very smart hunter. Just like our last trip to Pintail, there was no stress and no pressure, which was perfect for a cloudy sunday afternoon in January. The final harvest? I think we pushed up 27 of our 30 possible birds and killed 23 of them - an improvement over our last shoot, but still leaving plenty of room for season.
Nutty and Rich stalk a chukar on the run


Downeast Duck Hunter said...

We have some places up here for pheasant and quail shooting, after reading your post I suppose it's time for me to check these out. Nice write up...


{nUtTyPrOfFeSsOr} said...

it was sweet, but of course sweetness comes with a pricetag, but so chill it didn't amtter.


Kirk Mantay said...

What kept me away from those places so long was the fear that it was a luxury shoot that carried the same stresses as putting on a regular shoot, or a real hunt, on my own.

I've now seen that if you choose a good facility/program, it's the farthest thing from stressful.

And in my mind - that's what the price tag is for. To enjoy some fun wingshooting, at really fun ranges (generally 5 yards to 20 yards), and to be able to do it without worrying what the dog is doing, whether the game warden is behind the next shrub, or whether the pheasant the dog is on, will be the last one you see that day.

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