Winter Roosters

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Re: Winter Roosters

Postby AverageGuy » Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:09 pm

Spud and I were in pursuit of some remaining public lands roosters yesterday. Our hunts in Iowa have mostly been a lot of difficult hunts with pointed hen to rooster ratios of 30:1. Hunting cattails a lot which is exhausting to boot. In Mtlhdr's thread we have been discussing taking photos vs shooting. I did none of that yesterday.

Yesterday was our day. 9 degrees 7 mph winds hunting some excellent tall thick warm season grass next to corn stubble on public lands. Spud got on some birds in short order and got a point which produced two close flushing hens and an out of range rooster which I marked down into a brushy creek winding through more warm season grass also on public lands. I made a mental note to head there once we hunted out the cover we were in. We hunted on, Spud working birdy and cautious, then on point. Again two hens flushed close and then an edge of gun range rooster. I fired once and hit him hard in the back half. The rooster had a full head of steam and powered away and into a plum thicket along the same creek the first rooster had flown into. So we headed there.

As I got nearer to the plum thicket I silently toned Spud in and motioned for him to hunt Dead in the plum thicket. He went in, hit scent, worked it, went on point and as I approached the Rooster flushed keeping the plum thicket between us as he did. Given he was already carrying lead, I fired once and think I put some more shot into him as he flew a much shorter distance this time and landed in some brush up the creek a ways. Spud was buried in cover and did not get a great mark but he headed that way at a high rate of speed and I arrived shortly. Spud was hunting, I motioned him towards my mark in the brush and told him to hunt Dead. He picked up the rooster's track, worked through the brush and out into the grass. When he knew the rooster was close he started looping out, got the wind in his favor and then worked back into it, smelled the rooster, homed in on the specific grass clump source of the scent, went on point, then dove into the grass burying his head and pulled out the rooster. Wrecked his tail but I was of course thrilled.

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We moved on toward my mark on the first rooster and before we arrived right at it, Spud picked up a track of a moving bird and worked it about 100 yards cautious and birdy. As the track heated up, Spud swung out on a downwind loop and then slammed down on a beautiful head high intense point into the wind, facing me. I really wanted to bite off my glove, wake up my camera and take a photo. But I wanted to reward Spud's dog work more and given I had marked a rooster into the area, I was more hopeful this point could be him. I marched towards Spud with my shotgun at port arms and just as I was concluding I must have walked past it, the rooster flushed at my feet cackling as he went. Rooster number two went down. No beautiful point photo but did get a retrieve photo of a thoroughly shot rooster. :)

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I was content to stop at two roosters and leave any left to hunt another day as the season winds down. Spud was not and as we headed towards the truck he got onto more moving birds. He worked them cautiously and birdy and went on point in a patch of tall cane in the surrounding heavy tall warm season grass. I headed into the cane making an impossible amount of noise as I went, the birds and Spud moved on. Spud did some very nice work for another 100 yards and came down on point again. I moved in and a bird started struggling up out of the cover. My brain processed the gaudy colors of a rooster as he pumped his wings and wrung his beautiful long tail accelerating up and out of the cover. Rooster number 3 went down. I took the retrieve photo a moment too soon.

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Blessed and know it.

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P.S. on the theme of sharing a hunting tip, I have excellent success marking down wild/long flushing roosters into the cover they fly towards and land in, and when that cover is thick the percentage of them which can be found again and pointed with good dog work is surprisingly high. I have no idea why but it seems when we walk, often pretty long distances, to my marks, the second time the dog works the rooster they hold much better and we bag a high percentage of them. Of course I am not always able to mark them down and they don't always fly into accessible heavy cover but when they do I find the effort to followup on them is very worth the while.
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Re: Winter Roosters

Postby ANick » Tue Jan 01, 2019 2:56 am

AG,
I think I can forgive you not busting out the camera. :)

The inbound shots and the story do a great job, giving that trio at the end has a lot of provenance!

Great story, great tip on the mark.

Nick
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Re: Winter Roosters

Postby Drahthaar1108 » Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:58 pm

Awesome, and yes you are well Blessed. Forrest
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