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I am still in Montana hunting pheasants. This year I have been shooting very well. Much better than usual. Many days I am bat

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  • I am still in Montana hunting pheasants. This year I have been shooting very well. Much better than usual. Many days I am bat

    I am still in Montana hunting pheasants. This year I have been shooting very well. Much better than usual. Many days I am batting a thousand and never worse than .500. My glasses were changed slightly in February but any advantage that might have provided has been nullified by the rapid progress of cataract in my good right eye. Haven't changed my gun or loads. Hunting conditions have, however, changed significantly. It's not been a good year here for pheasants. I can find birds but it takes a LOT of work. Yesterday I bagged a rare limit of roosters but had to walk at least twelve miles. A very long day without water or grub ... or rest. By the time we finally did get into some birds I was pretty much in the bag. But only fired five shots for three birds. And one round connected hard on a rooster that didn't come down. So, my question is this: if it takes so much effort to find the birds, shouldn't my birds per shot ratio be lower? Is there something in my subconscious working to improve my aim in situations where shots are few? Have any of you encountered this phenomenon?

  • #2
    Earlier in the season my Britt did make a difference. She is maturing into an excellent pointing dog. However, the birds are getting spooky and cattle have been moved onto winter grounds eliminating much cover. Consequently pheasants are now mostly in the thick stuff and not holding well. So it's work for the flushing labs which means surprise shots at greater distances ("greater" meaning further than the point blank shooting over the pointer). Again, my shooting should be suffering under these conditions. It's not.

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    • #3
      OH quit complaining I would give anything to hunt Montana with a good dog. Some times it's the journey not the destination.

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      • #4
        Not complaining. Not at all. The longer I'm in the field, the happier I am.

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        • #5
          HUH?

          Geez, Honk!
          To heck with shooting percentage!
          Who would wander off for a full day of hunting with no water and no grub?
          When the rescuers find your rotting corpse, I don't think "Hey! Three roosters with five shots! Not bad!" will be foremost on their minds!
          More than likely, they'll think "Geez! What a dumba$$! No food, no water! What was he thinking?"

          What do you say guys?
          What's more important to you:
          Self preservation?
          Shooting percentage?

          Honk!
          You're a hoot!

          ...and you taught school?

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          • #6
            Hope it wasn't survival school.

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            • #7
              Glad you are having fun. I must say that if I have to stomp all day for a shot, my hit ratio tends to drop. I will never forget one day long ago when I had stomped about 15 miles without seeing a bird. I made the brilliant decision to walk the heavy bull rushes on the Missouri River breaks. I did that for about five miles until I could hardly stand anymore. The front of my legs throbbed in pain from having to push trashy rushes forward on each step. Still no birds!

              About the time I was ready to fall to the ground in exhaustion, five big roosters all jumped at the same time right in front of me (no dog). I raised my gun and opened up. To my chagrin I never touched a feather in five shots. They all cruised to the horizon as I watched them go. I couldn't believe it but it sure dropped my hit ratio to an all time low.

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              • #8
                Honk,
                Your shooting might improve as will your vision if you are properly hydrated. You should not even sit in your livingroom watching TV that long without water intake. Not lecturing you my friend, just some healthy advice.

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                • #9
                  I'm hunting pheasants in agricultural areas. Bubba, if you had half a brain you would have deduced that from what I wrote. Anyway, most folks know pheasants are not wilderness creatures. If I'd wanted to walk another six miles further east (certainly doable!) I could have bought a lunch in an Albertson's grocery store. But I would have had to pass by at least two ranch houses and half of a small town. I guess if I was in trouble I could stop at any one of those houses for drink of water or bite to eat. Or I could just flip open my cell and call one of several friends a few miles away. Or the owner of the property. His house was usually within sight.

                  I know my limitations and a measly twelve miles on mostly level ground on a lovely bright cool windless day is not anywhere close to them. I have taken care of myself and I have a lot of experience. I'm not some lardass sofa-softened channel flipping weekend hunter who can't walk a half hour without sitting down and filling my face. In fact, I did not sit down once yesterday!

                  Not particularly worried about water. Plenty of snow still in the shaded spots. I didn't need to partake but it kept the dogs hydrated. Carrying a bunch of water and grub that I really could do without would only have weighed me down and wore me out quicker/worse. Bad enough having to carry out the birds!

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                  • #10
                    I guess I'm not as dedicated as you guys.
                    After working a couple of miles with dogs and no birds, I believe I'd try something else.

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                    • #11
                      Bubba, what else would you try? Watching TV? Heading to the bar? The days of "lovely bright cool windless" conditions are becoming scarce this late in the year. I need to take full advantage of those that are left. If I hadn't seen any birds yesterday, it still would have been a wonderful time. The dogs enjoy themselves no matter what. We should learn from them.

                      As Dakota has so aptly illustrated above, even a misadventure is still an adventure. I watch TV and go shopping all the time. But I can't remember a thing about that time spent. However, it will be a long time before I forget yesterday. Or the day before when I came home empty handed.

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                      • #12
                        Honk

                        If you had half a brain, you would have stuck a couple of pint water bottles in your game/shell pouch. Approx. 2 lbs.
                        If you had half a brain, a half pound of trail mix would have given you some quick, extra energy.
                        If you had half a brain, you'd realize that the load would have lightened as you consumed your supplies.
                        ...and heck, fuzzy fire NO! I don't frequent headache shops! Gave up that silly business in 1979!

                        But I DO have a brain! That's why my hunting pack ALWAYS contains at least ONE bottle of water, some type snack and a half roll of toilet paper.
                        Even if I'm only walking a quarter mile to a deer stand, I'm gonna be toting water.
                        I am in awe every second I'm afield! For that reason, I take the extra precaution to prepare!
                        It increases my chances of being able to return afield tomorrow!

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                        • #13
                          GO BUBBA!

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                          • #14
                            BTW, Honk!

                            I have a hip implant. You can't tell from my gait that I have a problem.
                            When the wife and me go to the grocery store, I push the cart.
                            So what?
                            The longer I "support" the implant, the longer it will last.
                            At the "trailhead" to all my blinds, you'll find a walking stick. Nothing fancy, just a limb or sapling I've cut and trimmed. I want to hunt. Not have another implant installed.
                            You can "justify" all you want, but going out unprepared is why there are "Search & Rescue" teams. (Ask S&R teams if they ever go afield without water or a snack!)

                            It's been years since I've needed the toilet paper for it's intended purpose, but it's ALWAYS in my pack! Just in case!

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                            • #15
                              OH, You get more focused as there are fewer shots, plus it has a lot to do with the kind of boots you wear.

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