Public Land

This time I thought I would talk about a little public land success that I have had recently. Yes you read that correctly. Public land success.
I don’t really write about my wild bird adventures because they are not full of opportunity to take a bird and tell you about my mediocre shooting or the good dog work. This year I have put in a lot of time hunting wild birds and going to areas where I usually find them pretty consistently.
However after hitting my honey holes and coming up short I decided to start hunting new areas that I have never been in and thought that looked birdy. This train of thought has led me to hunt a large national forest near where I live called the Croatan National Forest.

Stock Photo

I have never been in this forest for Bobwhite, other types of hunting yes, but not birds. There are a number of areas that look really birdy and that I thought would be good to put the dog down. With my honey holes gone dry I thought I would try all new areas.
I went out in one area that was recommended to me and that was a beautiful big pine meadow that went on for miles. So with three hunters and three dogs we hunt this area. We thought we covered it well but after looking at the tract of land and then the history on our trackers we see that we just barely touched it. So that will be another story.
After this hunt I decide that I am going to try new areas every weekend that look birdy to me and see what we can do. One weekend it was me and my dog. We are on the ground maybe twenty minutes and he goes on point. I am thinking no way, that was fast. I go in for the flush and up goes a small covey over some extremely thick cover that if I shot one we most likely would not have recovered the bird. So no shot but it was great to see them flying. This hunt goes on for another two hours and all we find are two deer that were avoiding the deer hunters pretty well.
After a couple of weeks my friend and I decide that we will go up the same road and hunt the opposite side of it.
We meet where we are going to drop the dogs and get geared up and set off into a beautiful pine meadow that has tall wire grass and what I call wax berry bushes and some nice thick spots throughout.
We are on the ground for about an hour and my setter is really moving nicely. He is ranging well and his race is quick and purposeful. We get to a thick hedgerow where my dog goes through to the other side and I decide to walk to the end of it and come back around to him. I round the end of the hedgerow and meet up with the dog. We start working back down this side and he goes on point. I kind of don’t believe that it is anything but a tweety bird and I move in to flush. To my surprise up goes a single Bobwhite. I shoulder the gun but do not shoot because I thought don’t take the last one. The dog gives a little chase and another bird flushes wild. So now I am thinking that I might be in the middle of something and we continue to hunt. We get another wild flush. Then after a few more minutes a point. I move in and the bird flushes. I shoulder my 28 gauge, pull the trigger and the bird falls. After the retrieve I have a hard earned North Carolina Bobwhite in my hand.

I am pretty excited because this has been a tough season for us to even find a bird never mind a covey and be successful in putting one in the bag.
After the retrieve we start to head back for the trucks as we have a long walk out and the time is getting short for us.
We arrive at the trucks water and kennel the dogs. Take a few pics for me to brag about and then off to take care of family duties for both of us.

I know only one bird is not brag worthy but to get one and know that there are more make it a spot to take note of.
This hunt was an encouraging one. Hopefully with some more habitat management the birds will respond and the hunting will continue to be rewarding.

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