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Upland Bird Hunting

CrabHusker

Shut up and color
5 Year Member
Having spent most of the first 35 years of my life in the Nebraska and/or Colorado, I grew up hunting upland birds. Easy access. Equipment was cheap. All you really needed was a shotgun and a good pair of boots. Public land was usually pretty close to wherever I lived and even in Colorado, I'd find birds most days. Maybe not a limit, but it was rare that I'd walk a field and not flush at least a few birds. Mostly pheasants, but occasionally a quail or two. Taking them home was another question, but even then, that wasn't really always the point. For years I mostly hunted alone, then I got to hunt over a great dog for the first time. He and I were frequent companions on weekends in the fall and winter and he seemed to enjoy the trips as much as I did. I don't think I understood how relaxing upland hunting was for me or how much I really enjoyed it until years later it wasn't an option, or at least hunting actual birds was more of a fantasy than reality.

Fast forward to 2002 and I'm living and working in Tennessee. I'd read story after story growing up about the clouds of quail in Tennessee, Virginia and the Carolina's. I knew pheasants were scarce, but it sounded like I could easily replace one bird for another. I was wrong. Now if you wanted to hunt farm raised birds on a game preserve, you could find and kill birds. That's never been my deal, so I walked a lot. So did my dog. We found a few coveys, but there were few and far between. Next stop was Virginia and again, no wild quail to speak of. Heard a few guys talk ruffed grouse up in the Virginia mountains, so my dog and I spent weekend after weekend looking for birds. Yeah, that was a fantasy too. I walked miles in miles in the Virginia mountains looking for ruffed grouse and found a few tracks, saw a few birds flush wild 50+ yards away, but never fired a shot.

So now I'm in South Carolina. Another upland wasteland and other than my infrequent trips to Western Kansas pheasant hunting, my memories and a few pictures are all that's left. The birdiest dog I've ever know, Chester, has been gone almost eight years now. I replaced him with more Brittany's, who're just as birdy, but are momma's couch dogs these days. They'll kill a dove in the back yard from time to time, but they don't have that intense need to chase a rooster in waist deep Big Blue Stem.

I wish I'd have appreciated my time out west in the corn fields, walking fence lines and slogging through cattails and hearing that rush of beating wings and that whistle when a rooster took to the air. It wasn't all about that, but those moments, mixed with the smell of the fields, the feel of the gun and the sound of my boots covering another mile stays with me.

What are your upland memories?
 

PasadenaHusker

Just A Fan
10 Year Member
When I was a boy, my dad would take my brother and me multiple times a year to Rushville area, and I can't remember a single time we didn't get our limit on pheasants. My dad still goes back once a year, but it has been almost 20 years since I was able to make it back. I am planning on going next year, and will take my oldest son who will be 7 with me.
 
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Cyberbach

Founding Father
20 Year Member
My earliest memories of upland hunting was as a child of 8, my Dad waking me and my older bother in the dark to get dressed and ready. I was so excited, I asked my brother what gun Dad was going to let me shoot, he merely replied "Dad will show you what you need to do." We drove across town and stopped at one of his friends house where he and 3 of his boys came out and got in our 67 station-wagon and headed out for the hunt. I remember noticing Dad only had a couple guns and his buddy only brought 1?
When we arrived at the first field we finally found out our "assignments"... we were the freak'n dogs! Dad and his buddy dropped us off on a section and had us walk the cornfield rows 3 rows between us and told us to hot trot it to the other end where they would be waiting to the side and take the birds as the flew out the end. We would hear the shooting when were 3/4 of the way through and it would take all season before I ever saw a bird get shot.... they would limit out before we got all the way through.
The best part of the whole ordeal was when Dad and his Buddy would decide they needed a drink and we would stop at a little sleepy town and go to their greasy spoon bar that always had Hunters Specials, either breakfast or lunch. The food was good but the best part..... wait for it,

Shuffleboard, I'd finish my meal and took a look around and saw the big shuffleboard table and had to give it a try... I was a natural, I just had "that touch". Beat everyone I played at the bar, my brother and 2 of the other kids.

It stayed that way for the next several years till I was 10 or 11 and Dad let me carry the .410
 
D

Deleted member 3889

Guest
When I was a boy, my dad would take my brother and me multiple times a year to Rushville area, and I can't remember a single time we didn't get our limit on pheasants. My dad still goes back once a year, but it has been almost 20 years since I was able to make it back. I am planning on going next year, and will take my oldest son who will be 7 with me.
There aren't near as many pheasants around the Rushville area anymore. My very first hunting trip was a pheasant hunt just north of Rushville with my dad. Good times.
 

Middle-aged_Ball_Coach

Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga of H-Max
2 Year Member
Having spent most of the first 35 years of my life in the Nebraska and/or Colorado, I grew up hunting upland birds. Easy access. Equipment was cheap. All you really needed was a shotgun and a good pair of boots. Public land was usually pretty close to wherever I lived and even in Colorado, I'd find birds most days. Maybe not a limit, but it was rare that I'd walk a field and not flush at least a few birds. Mostly pheasants, but occasionally a quail or two. Taking them home was another question, but even then, that wasn't really always the point. For years I mostly hunted alone, then I got to hunt over a great dog for the first time. He and I were frequent companions on weekends in the fall and winter and he seemed to enjoy the trips as much as I did. I don't think I understood how relaxing upland hunting was for me or how much I really enjoyed it until years later it wasn't an option, or at least hunting actual birds was more of a fantasy than reality.

Fast forward to 2002 and I'm living and working in Tennessee. I'd read story after story growing up about the clouds of quail in Tennessee, Virginia and the Carolina's. I knew pheasants were scarce, but it sounded like I could easily replace one bird for another. I was wrong. Now if you wanted to hunt farm raised birds on a game preserve, you could find and kill birds. That's never been my deal, so I walked a lot. So did my dog. We found a few coveys, but there were few and far between. Next stop was Virginia and again, no wild quail to speak of. Heard a few guys talk ruffed grouse up in the Virginia mountains, so my dog and I spent weekend after weekend looking for birds. Yeah, that was a fantasy too. I walked miles in miles in the Virginia mountains looking for ruffed grouse and found a few tracks, saw a few birds flush wild 50+ yards away, but never fired a shot.

So now I'm in South Carolina. Another upland wasteland and other than my infrequent trips to Western Kansas pheasant hunting, my memories and a few pictures are all that's left. The birdiest dog I've ever know, Chester, has been gone almost eight years now. I replaced him with more Brittany's, who're just as birdy, but are momma's couch dogs these days. They'll kill a dove in the back yard from time to time, but they don't have that intense need to chase a rooster in waist deep Big Blue Stem.

I wish I'd have appreciated my time out west in the corn fields, walking fence lines and slogging through cattails and hearing that rush of beating wings and that whistle when a rooster took to the air. It wasn't all about that, but those moments, mixed with the smell of the fields, the feel of the gun and the sound of my boots covering another mile stays with me.

What are your upland memories?
Yeah, I can relate.... No, sorry, I live in South Dakota, and I have to dodge pheasants while driving to work. I guess I can't relate. Sorry.

I'm kidding! I lived overseas for 9 years, and even worse, I lived in Sioux City for 2 years! I had pheasant withdrawal.
 

PasadenaHusker

Just A Fan
10 Year Member
There aren't near as many pheasants around the Rushville area anymore. My very first hunting trip was a pheasant hunt just north of Rushville with my dad. Good times.
My dad and his business partner owned the grocery store in White Clay, so we always had alot of different fields to hunt ad they knew everyone in the area. Sometimes we would get our limit in the first field or two, sometimes we would walk 6-8 different ones before we limited out.
 
D

Deleted member 3889

Guest
My dad and his business partner owned the grocery store in White Clay, so we always had alot of different fields to hunt ad they knew everyone in the area. Sometimes we would get our limit in the first field or two, sometimes we would walk 6-8 different ones before we limited out.
White Clay Grocery or Vick's? I have family in Rushville and grew up in Pine Ridge.
 

RedStones

Self Quarantined b4 it was Cool
5 Year Member
I am from a large family. Growing up I remember 15 to 20 of us walking corn fields, prairie land and draws around the Kearney area hunting pheasant. Most of us walked the field with a few blocking at the end. Pheasant were thick back then but by the time I graduated high school they had almost entirely disappeared. There was still rabbit, duck, goose, and turkey hunting but it wasn't the same.

I was never big on quail, probably because of my short attention span :Biggrin:. I'd be walking, not seeing anything to shoot and begin daydreaming. About that time a covey would break and scare the crap out of me. By the time I drew there was nothing to shoot.

After I graduated college and moved out of Nebraska I never had much opportunity to hunt. Now that I've moved back I'm hoping to go out more but the landscape has changed a lot. Finding a place to hunt is much more difficult and expensive.
 
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