Tuesday, November 5, 2013

One Chance

Emma and I hunted the Shawnee Creek Covert this morning. A huge expanse of woodcock cover with a mix of crabapple, hawthorn, alder and pines with small fields of goldenrod scattered through it.

  The crabapples and hawthorn had dropped most of their fruit and the deer are using the bottom heavily.

Although Emma hunted hard we couldn't find any birds along the near side of the creek. We reached the northern end of cover, crossed the creek and headed south through nice looking crabapple thickets. Two and half hours after leaving the truck we were nearing the southern creek crossing without even seeing any woodcock whitewash and I was thinking that we were going to be "shut out" today. As I searched for the shallow riffles to wade across the creek Emma's beeper sounded in the distance. I weaved my way through crabapples and hawthorns until I saw her frozen on point. I swung to my left hoping to pin the bird between Emma and myself and moved in. The 'cock spiraled straight up through the crabs and haws like  woodcock are supposed to do, although most don't seem to follow that rule anymore. After missing my last two birds that I had shot at I was ready and turned my body a quarter turn, waited for the bird to clear the treetops, focused and brought little "Colette" to my shoulder and dropped the right hammer. 7/8 ounces of number 8 1/2 shot out of her cylinder barrel caught the bird in the middle of it's pattern and the 'cock was dead before he hit the ground. Emma making a nice retrieve.
It seems fitting to use a 100+ year old chestnut post to display the little 100+ year old Belgium hammergun and the bird she dropped.
Emma says these little birds don't taste that bad.
We worked our way back to the truck with no more bird contacts, but we were happy to spend the day in the woods together and to make the most of the one chance that we had today.

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