Deacon the Wonderdog - My First Pheasant Hunt

Stuart and I have been extremely busy over the last few weeks as we try to finish up 2014 with a bang.  The last couple of weekends have been spent out on Lake Michigan chasing lake trout, lake run browns and cohos with Austin Adduci from Grab Your Fly Charters.  Austin's been great and put us on fish, but we'll get to that later. 

The company I work for has offices around the Midwest and I work with some great people.  One thing most of the guys who sell for us have in common is a love for the outdoors.  For some that means they're avid hunters, others of us avid fishermen.  I had gotten wind of a few guys looking to set up a pheasant hunt at a game farm up in Wisconsin and was offered up an invitation to join to take some pictures.  I'm not much of a hunter and thought going along to take some pictures would be a good introduction in to the sport and if I enjoyed it, I knew it wouldn't be too hard to convince everyone to go again.  

After a late night at our company holiday party, we arose early a bit sleepy headed, but ready to hit the road and get the day started.  A quick couple hours in the car, watching the sun come up over the farmers fields, and we were one of the first to arrive.  The day was quite foggy and overcast, unseasonably warm for December.  As we gathered our gear and downed our coffee, they got the birds out and readied them to be dropped in the field.  An odd thing to look at the birds you know will soon wrapped up and ready to be seasoned and tossed on the grill.  

I was with three of my co-workers, Nick, Tony and Matt.  All avid hunters and great shooters that do a good amount of both deer and bird hunting.  Nick brought along his dog, Deacon, who would be working up the birds for us.  I'm a big dog guy and was excited to see him work.  And boy did he work.  

After getting the go ahead, we grabbed our gear and headed out to our field.  Broken almost in to segments, the guys noted it would section off nicely, allowing Deacon to work everything thoroughly.  And like that we were off.  

It's amazing how fast 4 hours can go by.  We walked the field, kicked up birds, and had a blast.  Getting to watch Deacon work was like watching a craftsman ply their trade with grace and expertise.  He worked back when the wind was in to us, worked away from us when the wind was at our backs.  I'm not familiar with training dogs or what goes in to it, but I have to say, this was impressive.  

The guys got their lot of 25 birds and we even bagged a couple of black pheasants.  As part of the deal I worked out first dibs on the feathers and walked away with more feathers than a guy can use.  Though those black tail feathers are gonna look good on some nymphs.  

Needless to say I'll be for sure getting out there and doing this again, only this time lining up the beads on the barrel of the shotgun, not a lens and camera.