Brute's Bleat November 2, 2016

I was toying with the idea of going grouse hunting last week until I got a call from the retired Mike Muller who suggested a pheasant hunt on Thursday in the Odessa area. We decided a half-day hunt might work and asked Daryl Hennen if he was available, but one of his vendors at the lumber yard had extended a pheasant hunt to him for the same day at one of Minnesota’s many pheasant farms which he would have been nuts to turn down. Muller and I, along with Vanna, and Mike’s English Setters, Lucky and Jack (a young pup), picked a WIA (Walk In Acres) with harvested corn on three sides. We split up, each going down one side, with plans to come back through the middle. Mike had the first action, a long shot, when a rooster jumped ahead of his dogs, which he missed. Vanna was next when she was on a bird which flushed and cackled as it broke out of the weeds. My shot broke a wing and Vanna stuck with it and was sitting at the end of the 80-rod long field with the dead pheasant when I caught up with her. I had two other opportunities on the way back, but missed both times. I saw nine roosters that day, including two on the road, one in a road ditch, and harvested one more during the golden hour on Vanna’s point (she gets 95% again). I was pleased with the number of roosters I saw, but felt kind of sorry for Muller who had just one shot. . . On Sunday three of us, Muller, Daryl Hennen and I, had kind of a gentleman’s hunt not leaving ML until about 10:30 a.m. That could also be termed a senior citizen hunt although Hennen doesn’t qualify. We gave the same spot where we had flushed four earlier in the week a try. Neither Mike nor I got any shooting, but Daryl and his grandson, Evan’s, Springer Spaniel harvested one after the rooster led both of them on a wild chase zig-zagging up and down the WIA before it broke out of the weeds and tall grass. There were a fair number of hunters hunting in the same area, but we didn’t see near the number of roosters as previously. Their IQ seems to jump dramatically after a couple of weeks of having been chased. We had one rooster fly across the road and into a swampy area which Daryl and I went after. Vanna took us on a detour when she picked up a scent, but it turned out to be a hen when it flushed ahead of her. We didn’t catch up with the rooster, but flushed other hens before the day was over . . . All three of us agreed that going south would be a better option for a future hunt. There were some duck and goose hunters in the area and we’d hear their rapid fire, mostly later in the day.
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I see the troops at the Messenger office reminded me of my Halloween birthday in last week’s Messenger. Thanks to each of you. Having a birthday on a holiday makes it an easy day to remember, both for me and for them. For those who are wondering how many fishing and hunting seasons this year makes, it’s 84, and believe me I’m thankful for being healthy and able to enjoy the outdoors and continue to write this column almost every week. Thanks, too, to wife, Janis, and daughter, Anna, for looking after me and seeing to my wants and needs as well as Vanna’s.
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Rifle and shotgun deer hunting begins on Saturday and it sounds like the hunters will be enjoying relatively pleasant weather. We wish them all some sort of success, whether it’s individually or as a party. We bumped a couple of does out of the WIA grass and two were standing on the shoulder of the road and gave us the right-of-way on our way back to ML through Morris. Hopefully, none of the hunters will fall out of their stands like I did one season after I had shot a buck. It was an old rickety tree stand and I shouldn’t have been up there anyway, but it gave way as I stepped backwards and I landed on my back unhurt after a five-foot fall.
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This is the weekend to set the clocks back an hour if a person wants to be in time with the rest of the world. I think the actual time is something like 3 a.m. Sunday, but I’m guessing it will be Saturday night when I go to bed. . . And don’t forget to vote next Tuesday!
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Congratulations to the Irish football and volleyball athletes who will be competing in the playoff finals this week for the opportunity to go to state. MLHS’s cross country will also be represented at State this week. That’s the reward for all the grueling practices and meets they’ve gone through this fall. We wish them well.

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