2022/2023 Upland Hunting

Mountain

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Just back from a cold & icy hunt in Maine. This is my buddy's dog, Lexi. This may have been her last hunt as she is going on 11 y.o. and has hip problems. The second photo is Lexi retrieving the bird that my dog, Darcy, pointed earlier that day.

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Nice! Good for a dog to have a nice successful hunt before she retires.

My friend and I are planning a week in Maine next October. Remote 'camp' with no cell service but several cabins and a lodge with meals. Supposed to be great grouse country and some good brookie and salmon fishing as well.
 

Reeg

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Nice! Good for a dog to have a nice successful hunt before she retires.

My friend and I are planning a week in Maine next October. Remote 'camp' with no cell service but several cabins and a lodge with meals. Supposed to be great grouse country and some good brookie and salmon fishing as well.

I wish Maine would end the season in late October so one could do a cast 'n blast.

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Mountain

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Little man's first hunt. We waited til about 8:30 to go in, just to let the guys with dogs go in and do their thing. We saw nothing but he did great listening to me about where to be and when to be quiet etc...
He wanted to carry the gun back to the truck. Unloaded of course.
That's awesome. Days like these become fond memories that last.
 

Mountain

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Final pheasant hunt of the season for me today. We hit up my club's 500 acres for any hold outs smart enough to make it, and the few birds left did not disappoint. We arrived extra early and had the place to ourselves for a couple hours. Maybe a little too early. We both missed the first rooster while still shaking out the cobwebs, which is rare for us. A hen flushed on the edge of the property and in the only direction we could not shoot due to buildings. Later we couldn't get a shot on what was probably the most wily rooster I've encountered so far. It first flushed far away from us and the dog. We found it later but it was lodged in tight into a dense brush pile. Once bird magnet flushed it out of the brush it ran down into a canyon with the dog between us. Flying just above the ground through heavy woods it didn't fly upwards until it was a good 80 yards away.

My friend's pup did great finding these birds on a heavily hunted property. He was doing his job- we just weren't doing our job. On our swing back about a mile from the trucks he pointed hard at a well hidden rooster. It finally flushed right over us and we fired simultaneously at the exact same moment. Flushing so close we thankfully both went for and connected with head shots to preserve the meat. Made it back to the truck just as the rain started. I'll get in a couple more game preserve hunts for pheasant and chukar, but what an excellent season for me and could not have ended it on a better note.

Bird magnet (not his real name, that's his NES handle LOL) on the job-

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I'll spare folks from pics of the headless pheasant. [laugh]
 
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Mountain

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Not even close to done pheasant hunting for the year..

Had a great afternoon with Ben in the uplands. Saw a couple deer, a good amount of birds and have some post holiday fun..
Nothing more fun than hunting with your kid.

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Nice!

Private game preserve? Season ends tomorrow, excepting private reserves of course.
 

Mark from MA

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Final hunt for me yesterday, and very unfortunately probably my last for my GSP.

She has cancer and has been losing weight even though I kept her out of the field for a lot of this season. She still has the desire of a very healthy dog and we put on miles together.
But she's a rack of skin and bones and its tough to see even though she seems happy.

We hunted both days and shot our limit both days and moved many more birds. I'm glad my son got to get out for one last time with her as well.
 

dixidawg

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That's tough Mark. Any bird dog that has hunted has had a good life. I am glad she got to get one more season in even if it was a light load. Losing a dog is never easy, losing a hunting partner that is a dog is about as shitty as it comes.
^What he said^. Shitty times Mark. I feel for you. Been there many times myself. It sucks.
 

RDG

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Excellent- didn't know that! Figured you were in MA given the profile location.
I am in MA, but I get a non resident for CT every year... worth it with the long season. CT is literally down street for me.


^What he said^. Shitty times Mark. I feel for you. Been there many times myself. It sucks.
X3...
 

Mark from MA

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That's tough Mark. Any bird dog that has hunted has had a good life. I am glad she got to get one more season in even if it was a light load. Losing a dog is never easy, losing a hunting partner that is a dog is about as shitty as it comes.
Thank you. This is my third bird dog and Im used of the drill...but its never easy.
 

admcd

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The final tally in MA for Dale and I was 5 birds harvested, 7 flushed.

Hunted Bolton Flats on 11/12 and put up three birds, harvested two there. The new shotgun is a lazer and SO much easier to tote around for 3 or 4 hours than my silver pigeon.

All that said, I didn't have as much time as I wanted this year due to my new(ish) job and losing a prime week to work travel.

I'm thinking about jumping the border and hunting RI some this December. Anyone have suggestions on good places to hunt? I see Rhode Island takes the bold approach of letting people know when they're stocking their WMAs but I've never hunted pheasant out of state before so don't know what to expect.

Trying to drive less than an hour from my place in Holliston.
 

Mountain

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The final tally in MA for Dale and I was 5 birds harvested, 7 flushed.

Hunted Bolton Flats on 11/12 and put up three birds, harvested two there. The new shotgun is a lazer and SO much easier to tote around for 3 or 4 hours than my silver pigeon.

All that said, I didn't have as much time as I wanted this year due to my new(ish) job and losing a prime week to work travel.

I'm thinking about jumping the border and hunting RI some this December. Anyone have suggestions on good places to hunt? I see Rhode Island takes the bold approach of letting people know when they're stocking their WMAs but I've never hunted pheasant out of state before so don't know what to expect.

Trying to drive less than an hour from my place in Holliston.
Nice! That's a good season. What shotgun did you end up with that is lighter than the Silver Pigeon?

Last day out was our worst in terms of flushed and not dropped, but two of those three were not shoot-able so it was only one miss and I did get one. Overall between me and my hunting partner we only missed that one shoot-able bird and I dropped one that was a pretty cool shot somewhere close to 60 yards. Lead no. 5's and a full choke on the second barrel did the job, would not have tried with an improved cylinder choke and no. 6's which is typically my first shot.

I'm not done-done, as there are some upcoming special hunts for me. My club has a special preserve pheasant hunt coming up plus a clean up hunt, which I will do. Nice to belong to a licensed preserve in order to extend the season. I hope the birds come from the same place as in the past which provided some big and beautiful birds including some darker phase roosters. Looking forward to a couple chukar hunts too- those things are crazy. They fly at you, at your hunting partner, at the dog- you never know what the hell they will do.
 

admcd

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Nice! That's a good season. What shotgun did you end up with that is lighter than the Silver Pigeon?
I was very happy, overall, with the season but would have liked one or two more birds. We got six last year in Dale's rookie campaign. I was hoping to top that.

My daughter (5 years old going on 18) loves to cook and eat pheasant so the one I have in the deep freeze (A small hen) for when my wife goes out of town won't be enough for her.

The best recipe we discovered this year was Hank Shaw's Pheasant Cacciatore recipe. I'd recommend it highly.

I bought a Weatherby Orion from Gunbroker for about $650 in 20 ga. 26" barrels down from the 30" on my Silver Pigeon. Dropping 4" of barrel length and a smaller bloc was a huge weight saving. I'm hoping to play with chokes and ammo more this spring/summer and get it dialed in.

The SP is back in the case for Skeet and Sporting Clays, the Weatherby is now my dedicated field gun.

If I'm being entirely honest, I actually partially bought it for my daughter in the hopes that she will continue to beg to come hunting with me when she's old enough to hunt.
 

Mountain

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I was very happy, overall, with the season but would have liked one or two more birds. We got six last year in Dale's rookie campaign. I was hoping to top that.

My daughter (5 years old going on 18) loves to cook and eat pheasant so the one I have in the deep freeze (A small hen) for when my wife goes out of town won't be enough for her.

The best recipe we discovered this year was Hank Shaw's Pheasant Cacciatore recipe. I'd recommend it highly.

I bought a Weatherby Orion from Gunbroker for about $650 in 20 ga. 26" barrels down from the 30" on my Silver Pigeon. Dropping 4" of barrel length and a smaller bloc was a huge weight saving. I'm hoping to play with chokes and ammo more this spring/summer and get it dialed in.

The SP is back in the case for Skeet and Sporting Clays, the Weatherby is now my dedicated field gun.

If I'm being entirely honest, I actually partially bought it for my daughter in the hopes that she will continue to beg to come hunting with me when she's old enough to hunt.
Awesome that your daughter likes to cook and eat pheasant, and at a young age. Given that, I think there's a great chance she'll enjoy hunting with you later.

The Orion is a nice gun. Seems like you had enough juice with a 20 ga?
 

admcd

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Awesome that your daughter likes to cook and eat pheasant, and at a young age. Given that, I think there's a great chance she'll enjoy hunting with you later.

The Orion is a nice gun. Seems like you had enough juice with a 20 ga?
I think so. Limits the distance I can take shots a bit, but so far, it's 100% fatal to the birds I've shot it at. I think, for farm-raised birds at least, it's more than sufficient.
 

Mark from MA

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20 is plenty. I recently moved to a 28 ga and am finding the same thing. Works fine for pen raised pheasants.
All I use is 20 and 28. Perfectly good for raised birds over a pointing dog or a close working flusher.

I've taken some long shots and still knocked them down good. Going away shots of distance can be tough, but that can be tough with any gun.
 

admcd

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All I use is 20 and 28. Perfectly good for raised birds over a pointing dog or a close working flusher.

I've taken some long shots and still knocked them down good. Going away shots of distance can be tough, but that can be tough with any gun.
I absolutely got away with one this year. Hit it with two pieces of shot. One in her leg, the other entered under her wing and got her lungs. She flew about 150 yards and then folded and hit the ground. We thought she hit a tree branch and broke her neck until I started plucking her.
 

Mountain

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20 is plenty. I recently moved to a 28 ga and am finding the same thing. Works fine for pen raised pheasants.

I think so. Limits the distance I can take shots a bit, but so far, it's 100% fatal to the birds I've shot it at. I think, for farm-raised birds at least, it's more than sufficient.

All I use is 20 and 28. Perfectly good for raised birds over a pointing dog or a close working flusher.

I've taken some long shots and still knocked them down good. Going away shots of distance can be tough, but that can be tough with any gun.

Thanks guys- appreciate the feedback. I sold a couple rifles to make some space (and $) to eventually get another shotgun. I have a 28 o/u and I prefer it for chukar. The places I hunt those have big hills and it's nice to carry. Otherwise I have 12 ga Winchester 96 o/u (plain wrapper 101) that I shoot well but it is not so nice to carry for hours in challenging terrain.

The place we source our late season special hunt pheasants from usually gives us some bruisers that are significantly bigger than the usual farm sourced stockers. I thought the WMA birds were decent sized this year too. I think the 12 is good for these but overkill on the average size birds, especially on close in shots. A couple friends have the Franchi light 16's which I like a lot but a 20 might be more practical. Next fall I'll get quite a few days in the Maine boonies for grouse. I sure as hell don't want to carry the 12 all day and would like something more than the 28.
 

dixidawg

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Thanks guys- appreciate the feedback. I sold a couple rifles to make some space (and $) to eventually get another shotgun. I have a 28 o/u and I prefer it for chukar. The places I hunt those have big hills and it's nice to carry. Otherwise I have 12 ga Winchester 96 o/u (plain wrapper 101) that I shoot well but it is not so nice to carry for hours in challenging terrain.

The place we source our late season special hunt pheasants from usually gives us some bruisers that are significantly bigger than the usual farm sourced stockers. I thought the WMA birds were decent sized this year too. I think the 12 is good for these but overkill on the average size birds, especially on close in shots. A couple friends have the Franchi light 16's which I like a lot but a 20 might be more practical. Next fall I'll get quite a few days in the Maine boonies for grouse. I sure as hell don't want to carry the 12 all day and would like something more than the 28.
I had been using typical 20 ga hunting lead loads of 1oz of #6 @ 1200 fps. Deadly, and not really all that far removed ballistically from 12 ga generic hunting loads. A bit less payload, but kills them just as dead as the 12 ga loads.
 
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