Wingshooting

One of shotgunning’s most underutilized live resources is the pest pigeon population. Generally pest pigeon shooting here in the USA has little resemblance to the woodpigeon shooting that is so popular in the British Isles. In England woodpigeons are usually decoyed, and you hire a guide who has the birds scouted, the land owner’s permission to hunt, and all the equipment so that clients can enjoy great sport.

Wing shooting on the farm where I grew up in Montgomery County Illinois, about 25 miles south of Springfield, in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s was pretty much limited to pass shooting doves down by the pond, jump shooting ducks on local farm ponds or hunting quail along the fence rows and Osage orange hedge rows that bordered most farm fields and pastures in those days.

The Golden State may not have a reputation as a top destination for hunters, but it’s home to half of the quail species found in the U.S.

No, I’m not talking about Bill Murray’s character in that annoying movie and no, I am not now playing for the other team.  But I am thinking of a gentleman from the prairie: Mr. Bobwhite. 

No turkey is safe when Lee goes hunting with Lady Luck.

Lee Harwell has a golden horseshoe tucked away where the sun never shines. Always has and always will. We’ve hunted together for nearly 40 years and regardless of the game, Lee has always returned from a day in the field with his quarry, or a good story. Most often, he drags home both.

It was 7 am Monday morning in Spokane when I picked up Mark and Puck to begin the three hour drive to the portion of the Columbia we would hunt for the next two days. After loading Mark’s gear including Puck, my Tahoe was packed to the ceiling with all of the gear required to hunt ducks. Most of the gear was designed to keep our bodies as warm as possible, but as all duck hunters know, the reels of decoy lines, decoys, stools, camo, dog food, water, waders, boots and the list goes on, all just to bag a few ducks is necessary as I was to beginning to understand.

Dale Spartas might be the luckiest guy I know, for I’m very envious of the fine double guns he owns – as well of his Camp Swampy. On second thought Spartas has no doubt simply worked harder than I have – acquiring all those wonderful shotguns – as well as Camp Swampy. Dale and I were staying at Camp Swampy recently, using it as our base camp for hunting Hungarian partridge.

Most fantasies are better than the actual experience. Occasionally the opposite is true, a well known fact of hunters around Maryland.

I know that if you want to hunt wild and hard to find pheasants in Montana you have one of two choices, either cold weather or very cold weather, and lots of hard hunting which means a bunch of miles on foot.

The ruffed grouse is to the forest what pheasants are to the grasslands. But unlike the flashier, bigger plains bird, you can’t bully a grouse around. The “we-got-’em-surrounded” mentality that often works with pheasants – big crowds pushing a section of real estate to pinch birds and force them to flight – won’t get you anywhere in the grouse woods. No, this is one bird that requires finesse.

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