Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Our first morning started out at a crisp 21 degrees with sunny skies and wind in the forecast. Temps were supposed to reach into the high 40's by the end of the day. As we made our first push through a CRP grass field I allowed myself to think that this was going to be a pleasant day where only a light jacket would be needed, but I soon learned the errors of my ways for allowing myself to have such thoughts. In the movie Lonesome Dove, Gus and Call are moving their heard north when they encounter a sand storm. The scene shows a huge cloud of dust moving in their direction that can be seen from a mile away. That scene popped in my mind as we crested the rise in the field and looked to the west. A dark grey cloud hung low to the ground and was moving in our direction at a rapid pace. It swallowed our group of 28 hunters and left us reaching for warmer garments for our chilled faces and ears. That was the last that we would see of the sun that day and the temps never got out of the 30's. The wind eventually pushed the dark cloud to the east, but the strong breeze decided to stay with us all day making things very chilly. At the end of the day, our bird count stood at only 9.
Our second day started out a little better. At least the 30 mph winds were no longer with us and the sun was out in spurts. The temps were in the low 20's, but without gale force winds to deal with, hunting was fairly comfortable. We were still having trouble finding birds though. This was my 8th trip to Kansas and I can honestly say that this was the most unproductive trip that we have had. Our group, ranging in size, has killed as many as 250 in a three day hunt and as little as 108 in a two day hunt. None of us had ever seen anything like this. The hunting, or should I say killing, was still slow. We did manage to find one field that reminded us why we keep coming back. As the walkers topped the hill, birds started flushing one by one and the blockers were ready. We managed to take about 12 birds from this one grass patch and kept hopes and spirits high for the afternoon hunt.
At the end of the day and the end of our hunting time together, our group managed a two day total of 30 pheasant, 2 prairie chickens, and 3 quail. Not real good. But I will say that I had a great time spending time with my Dad and seeing the friends that I have made over the years on this trip. So here's to you Gary, Swilley, A.G., Chad, Shane, Mark, Cheerio, Bill, Josh, Drew, Alf, Mike, Chitty, Guy, Captain Henry, TJ, George, and many others! I'm already ready for next year!!
I just hope the birds will be back!