Oak Hill Shooting Preserve

Near the town of Snow Hill, North Carolina is a place that has been a labor of love for the owner of the preserve. That man is Dickie Killinger, and the place has become known as Oak Hill Shooting Preserve.

 I first met Dickie at a local Field Trial about ten years ago. I was running a German Shorthair and Dickie one of his trademark setters. We started talking between braces and discovered a shared admiration for the canine athletes that we get to walk behind.

At the conclusion of the trial (I didn’t place by the way), Dickie stated that he was going to run a trial at his place and invited me to attend. After running the trial and seeing the property and hearing the plans that are in place for the continued development of the preserve, I knew I had to hunt it.

 I contacted him to do a hunt early in the season and he said to come on out. I went out, just me and my dog and a small hunt of ten birds, and had a great time. My dog did well and my shooting was not where it should have been but we got some birds and I knew I would be back.

Come back is what we did. It was me, my dog Cash, and my friend Doug. We arrived at the preserve early in the morning that started overcast and cool, which made for very comfortable hunting conditions.

As we got our equipment out of the vehicles and I put the collar on the dog, Dickie put the first group of birds out for us. This field is on a slight hill and is a clearing in the woods at the edge of the property. As we begin to move away from the trucks about one hundred yards into the walk, the dog goes on point. We move in for the flush and up goes the bird. My friend gets the first shot as he is not an avid bird hunter. His twelve gauge barks twice but the bird escapes. After we figure where the bird went down, we start to move that direction.

As we head toward the location of the down bird the dog goes on point again.

This time it is my shot. I move in for the flush, the bird takes flight, and my twenty-eight gauge takes the bird. In all fairness, it took me two shots. The dog does a mediocre retrieve and we are back after the birds. After a few more points and some more horrible shooting, we get some birds in the bag. All the while the rest of the birds are being put out in the woods for us to get into some cover.  

The cover is mixed pines and scrub brush that gives birds a place settle into so they hold for a point, but not so thick that the walk is not enjoyable.

  We continue the hunt in the cover and have some really nice points. One point in particular was in an area that was not expected. I was taking the dog to a water bucket that is on the property to water him down for a second time. As we get near the bucket the dog goes past the bucket and goes on point. This is surprising because we had just walked all over that area. We get the flush and put the bird in the bag and get to water the dog.

This leads us up to the field to see if we can find any birds that we may have missed, and we get two more points as we head out. I let Doug take the first flush. The shot is an easy one, going away as if you are on the skeet range and at station seven shooting a low house. So this easy shot created a missed bird. The dog was not steady all the way to the fall, and pursued the bird, causing it to come back towards me. Now I have an easy incoming shot and I miss it, then I have an easy shot going away and I miss that one also, thus proving that there are never any easy shots. We come up on another bird, and this one goes in the bag pretty straight forward and quickly.

 This is the last bird of the day and we head to the truck for a tailgate inspection of the dog and then the mandatory pictures with the hunters and the birds.

  While this was not a big hunt, it was an enjoyable one, celebrating my friend’s birthday and hunting on a piece of land that has been worked diligently and passionately to provide a hunt that is challenging and fun for all experience levels.

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