Nobody hunting yet?


Active Member
Today was the first day for the "old timers" pheasant season. Took Cassie; my young (17 mos.) yellow lab female on her first pheasant hunt at one of the release sites. While she had tagged along on some duck and goose hunting last season (mostly jump shooting) or on a lead while others shot ducks over decoys this was her first experience chasing upland birds. She had demonstrated a great nose, is very athletic, and willingness to take on almost any challenge.

In spite of some puppy issues thought she did well. We had no more gotten into the field and she took off to join the nearest hunting party for what she thought be play time with other dogs. Fortunately the hunter was very understanding and once got her back under control moved to an area that didn't seem to have other hunters. Cassie got down to business and she seemed to be able to use a nice breeze to her advantage. In a little less than 2 hours she found 7 birds (6 or which flushed inside of easy gun range). One of the flushes was towards another hunter, one was behind a big tree, two were next to a 7 wire fence and would have likely fallen on the wrong side of the fence and did not want her to deal with that. The other two were nice easy shots (though it took both barrels to get the first) for a limit. She marked the birds well and went directly to them though was hesitant to bring them to hand.

In spite of the puppy issues and some obvious things to work on I was ecstatic with her work. She seemed to catch the birds scent 20 so yards down wind and would go directly to the bird with nose up in the air. Of the bird held would stop and stare at it (have to encourage that!) for a moment. It was less than ideal conditions for tracking birds but she stayed with a couple birds and eventually found them. I was able to watch a rooster running away from her; I stayed behind her to let her work things out and after 5 minutes or so she successfully flushed the bird.

With some luck I may have a bird dog on my hands and expect as she gains more experience she may become a bird finding machine.



Active Member
Round two -
Without the rain showers and the radar showing some sun returned to a release site hoping to find drier conditions and see if Cassie could find another bird and work on her tracking skills.

Once again she preformed above expectations. Managed to flush three birds tracking down the birds easily; two were in easy gun range and somehow I managed to down both with nice clean shots. The first landed in a blackberry thicket and it took a bit for her to find the bird (fortunately it was dead). She did a very nice job on the second bird which had landed in the water with 30 feet of thick weeds that Cassie had to negotiate coming and going.

With less than 4 hours under her belt I can watch her confidence grow. Without undue amount of direction she is consistently working within 25/30 years of me ranging nicely from side to side as well as out in front. She had trouble with a couple potential other birds that got into large patches of thick stuff. She was more than willing to tackle the brush but just could not push them to the flush. However she worked hard and had the bloody blackberry scratches to prove here effort. Doubt it will be long before her tracking skills are such that even those thick patches will not be a safe refuge for pheasants.

The early training and off season work is paying off; that with her natural abilities and a little more experience I suspect that I will soon have a very serviceable upland dog as well as a waterfowl partner. The next 4 months are going to be fun!!!


Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
I'll make my inaugural debut into the "old guys season" on Thursday. Hank has been quite insistent (I left the regs on the end table & I think he read them, smart little bugger.).

Vladimir Steblina

Retired fishing instead of working
Took my geezer friend out for the geezer pheasant hunt. It was fairly slow, but the dog appreciated the work. Today he was hunting slow and methodical checking back to see where I was and wondering why my friend was shooting all the birds

Final count for three days was five pheasants and two rattlesnakes. The damn snakes were are crawling around in the middle of the sage. I hate these 75 degree, sunny warm days in the fall. They were fat. Must be a good year for snakes. I have not seen any around the house this summer, so the basin must have had a better "hatch".

Jim Ficklin

Genuine Montana Fossil
No snakes, more "old" hunters than I anticipated, but Hank had a good time, ran-off some energy, & pointed the only rooster we saw. Kudos for him . . . 2 guys with no dog told me they had hunted thru there & that I was wasting my time. It pays to have a good furry partner. Amazingly, I'm 1 for 1 (stats are sure to change later in October, lol.).


Stalking the little fish that think they're big...
8yd shot with my Toelke Whip longbow during early elk archery...she was just shy of 300lbs (pic doesn't do her justice)

Saw a boar that was bigger, called in a 5x5, then found her. Nice clean shot. Ran 30yds and done. Plus, got to fish for two hours before evening hunt, and caught about 20 cutts on dries...sweet.

Best parts: Pure fair chase and my wife was right beside me


OK, I've had some vacation to burn this year and have put 29 days in the field so far during archery, muzzleloader, and modern seasons (thank you WDFW for the multi season deer tag this year). So far I've been skunked during archery elk but got into some big bulls but passed on shots due to the conditions not being right. I attempted to target a specific mule deer during the three seasons and I ended up screwing up my one and only stalk on it (well next year will be the third year trying for this guy and hopefully third times a charm). However, I went out the last week of blacktail season and finally tagged my first ever blacktail. I also tagged a mule deer doe thanks to my 2nd deer tag I drew. This year I also hunted antelope in Wyoming for the first time and brought back two nice bucks. I feel very fortunate for the opportunities I've had this year. All this and I caught my first bull trout in BC this past August as well!

I've still got the late season for elk archery. ;)