Bailey sprinted into the field as I walked behind with my CZ 20 gauge at the ready. A wonderfully cool Autumn morning.
After about a half an hour into the fields we had come up empty. The birds would be in the remaining standing corn fields or along the canals in the high reeds and muddy grasses that lie at the bottom of the water passages on this working farming island.
Bailey, as a Hungarian Pointer, is programmed and trained to point to the bird. It is up to me, as the hunter, to flush the bird. Today we took three birds from along the canals. Each time, Bailey would go on point from the top of the bank. He would be looking down into the deep reeds. Not a place for a hunter to walk down into, even if it was possible. Bailey knew the birds were there. His points were hard and steady.
So, I went against all the years of training, and sent Bailey in to flush the hidden birds with a, "OK Bailey; go get the bird." Down into the mud he went. Each time a pheasant would flush out and take wing. Over the next 90 minutes in the field I missed two but then took three Ringneck pheasant at about 30 yards.
Bailey did a great job on his retrieves today. He would either have to jump back across the canal with the bird in his mouth or go down to a small wood bridge to come around to give me his prize.
|One of many irrigation canals that cuts across the island|
One highlight of today was a walk we did along a ditch next to a freshly harvested corn field. Bailey was up ahead about 100 feet with the wind to our backs. As he got near the end of the ditch I watched as 9 roosters took to the air. They had run until they ran out of ditch. Bailey had not chased them but "pushed them" to the end. Bailey just stood and watched them take flight in front of him by just a dozen yards. Next time maybe I hold Bailey back a bit or take a friend and have him station himself at the end of the canal.
At the end of today's hunt, there was a bird that Bailey had flushed and I had brought down on the far side of a wide canal. This was along one of the main roads on the island. As Bailey brought the bird from the field, running 50 feet on the other side, crossed a little bridge, running back the 50 feet to me and then handed the pheasant to me, a fellow hunter and his 10-year-old son drove by with "thumbs up" signs and big smiles. That's was a "brag" retrieve is all about.
Here is to three pheasant in the ice box and my Hungarian Flusher.