Wow that sure seemed like a long water fowling season. In reality it was just as long as the years previous. Three years ago I was just beat at this time. My mind shifted to Christmas season and the desire to hunt had been fulfilled. The last two seasons I have been content to end off but still had a little left in the tank to keep going. This season I decided to make a change which I will now incorporate into my regular bird hunting seasons. Upland hunting.
I spent a number of days with the dog chasing pheasants in the pheasant release areas in Alberta. There are areas where pheasants breed naturally in Alberta, they are in the south of the province, where I live an organisation the ‘Alberta Conservation Association’ arranges areas to release 26000 pheasants province wide. They team up with organisations such as Ducks Unlimited and private land owners that allow hunting in varied pheasnt hunting terrain. If you are interested in what this organisation has to offer sportsmen check out their website here : http://www.ab-conservation.com/
Now I am no expert in upland bird hunting. I see Hungarian partridge often during our waterfowl hunts. I own a German Shorthaired Pointer named ‘Piper’ and she was anxious go after some upland birds. The nice thing is I needed very little equipment that I did not own to do an upland hunt. I went hunting two times in a release area near Calgary. The dog had fun and was definitely in to it but the area was shot out of pheasants. I found out later that in this area people tend to wait for the bird release truck to come and hunt them as soon as the truck pulls away. The birds get cleaned out before they have a chance to spread out over the property. I went to the Bigelow Wildlife area NE of my home and I found out that this area was huge. It had all the terrain that one would expect in a good upland area. In fact when I drove up I saw a pheasant flying that some hunter must have flushed. That was one more pheasant that I had seen in the near to Calgary area.
The first few times Piper flushed multiple birds and each day we were able to take one home. She also kicked up some larger groups of partridge which fired Piper up big time. I went out with RJ and our dogs on the last day of hunting in this area and we did not shoot anything but had a good time with the dogs. I know that next year I will take advantage of this area. It was fun.
It is a nice change to let Piper out and for myself to follow her lead and hunting instinct. Piper just loved it, 4 hours of hunting and she would not want to stop. It is fun to watch her work and see how she reacts when on the scent. Man it is cool to see her aggressiveness go through the roof when she is on a bird and it flushes. She is a good flusher and an adequate pointer. I can deal with that since I want to get this dog on some creek hunts so she can flush duck for me. She seems to do that well on our daily training/exercise runs. Why should I be surprised she loves this? She’s a GSP. She is very fond of the after hunt days where I give her a bird wing to play and shred in the backyard. It is cool to see here re-enact the day she stalks the wing and fight it for hours before she ‘eats’ it. She also loves to play with the heads of the birds which I give her as well. At the end of the day the dog is a wreck. The next morning she is ready to go again.
During the off season I will get out to some of the private pheasant areas and buy some birds and have Piper go at it again. I have learned this season that upland bird hunting adds a new variety into my fall bird hunting. This is an a discipline of hunting that I will choose to get better in.