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perma

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Joined
May 31, 2022
Messages
360
Location
The wild west
Alright folks, here’s the deets.
November was an emotional roller coaster for me. My job is letting me relocate back west to either CO or WY. Now, before you say “aNoThEr TrAnSpLaNt”, my wife and I are from the west. We just toured the Midwest for 7 years. We loved it, we hated it. We’re coming home.

That being said, the house needs to go on the market. We had some urgent repairs that needed to be done. That unfortunately took two weekends. Weekends of whitetail rut hunting. Big blow to me but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Fast forward to this weekend. I planned on going scouting for deer for my muzzy tag but got food poisoning before going out, so all I had left was two days of pheasant hunts. If you were following along, you know the results.

I get there yesterday and the GW asks where my dog is. “I don’t have one”. He laughed at me and wished me luck on a long walk of hunts. Whatever man. Later I learned he was looking out for me.

I spent the full day walking 5 miles of tall grass and didn’t flush any. People in adjacent fields were knocking them down, so I tried to hunt the pressure they applied. Nothing. I gave up and went back to the truck and took off for lunch. On the way back into a different part of the forest, guess what was crossing the road into a restricted area. “You sorry some &;[email protected]“.

I get out and talk to the GW and he told me he might know a guy that would be willing to run with me. He asked I be back the next day at 7:30 to get hooked up. Said sure why not. It was 2 PM, last two hours to shoot. I walk along a service road and found four roosters gossiping on a bend. I tried to stalk them and actually took a shot when they started to run. No dice. It’s 3, one more hour left.

I take off back to my truck and try to zigzag in a field on my way back. No dice. It’s 3:50 when I’m 1/4 mile away and what do I see? Ol’ white neck a few yards from my truck on the service road. He spots me and takes off into the tall grass. I start to still hunt towards him and didn’t flush. I got 10 yards from my truck. 3:55, 5 minutes left. I start to tell myself that I don’t know where he went. I look in an open field and didn’t see him so he must have ran away somewhere past me. I sit there and decide to come back. As soon as I take two steps to my truck, he flushes out in front of me. I shouldered my gun, locked my bead on him and pulled the trigger. Feathers flew everywhere. Final time was 3:57. I barely made shooting time.

Now the shot was really bad, I admit that. I didn’t give him much chance to fly, and as a result, he lost a leg and his guts. All he had to salvage was the tail feathers, heart, one breast and one leg and thigh. Even then, both had a lot of shot in it that I had to pick out. In the end, I was able to clean it. It’s in the freezer now. I pulled the tail feathers for the decor and pulled the wing for a cat toy. They’re bathing in salt for now.

I finally did it.
 

perma

Well-known member
Joined
May 31, 2022
Messages
360
Location
The wild west
Part 2

Today was rather interesting. I get to the check station and the GW says to talk to the guy in the parking lot adjacent from us. He’s got a dog and is willing to run with me. We chat for a bit and sit in our trucks until shooting hours. We get out at 8:55 and talk about the plan. Easy peasy.

We get to the field and not a few seconds after 9 the dog flushes a bird. He pops it and the dog retrieves it. Wow, that didn’t take long. We walk some more and the dog flushes a bird towards me. I take two shots and he took one. All misses. Easiest shot I’ve ever seen and I look at him and I said “no idea what happened there”. Anyway, we carry on and his dog flushes another. He pops it and calls it good for the day. He walks with me in a different field and the dog flushes one. I popped him out no problem at all. Wasn’t going to miss twice. Then finally we get to a tree line where the dog flushes him out of the trees. He got high but I managed to snag him. We were done by 11. Would have been done by 10 if I didn’t wiff that one shot.

Crazy different experience with a dog. It almost felt like cheating, but it’s hard to perceive that since I didn’t put in any work for the dog. I rode on the coat tail while he did it all. But it was a privilege that this random guy was willing to take a stranger like me to help grab more ring birds. I’m humbled by hunters every day, good and bad. I tried to tip him but he wouldn’t take it. Super cool dude.

I will admit, with no disrespect to him, that my first bird was more satisfying. I busted my tail working for that one bird and probably worked harder than I needed to. But regardless I’m thankful for giving me a chance.

The now bad news is that one of my firearm tags is null because I didn’t read the regulations for this area. I assumed I could use a muzzy but the GW said no. So I have only one usable permit. I think my archery hunts are over now. I don’t know how much action public land archers get for whitetail after the first firearm season, but I didn’t see any sign at all in that area. For the sake of not wasting my time, I think the bow will be hung up for the year. Unless someone can convince me otherwise.

Onto muzzleloader season prep. This is my last chance at a Midwest whitetail. Gonna make it count. Lord help me.
 

perma

Well-known member
Joined
May 31, 2022
Messages
360
Location
The wild west
Tomorrow is the last supper. My most likely last Midwest hunt ever. Past two days were bad weather and no sign. I’ve come to terms I have no idea how to hunt white tails. But I got a tag and one more day. Here’s to hiking the nasty topography of north central IL….
 

perma

Well-known member
Joined
May 31, 2022
Messages
360
Location
The wild west
Tomorrow is the last supper. My most likely last Midwest hunt ever. Past two days were bad weather and no sign. I’ve come to terms I have no idea how to hunt white tails. But I got a tag and one more day. Here’s to hiking the nasty topography of north central IL….
Well scratch that.. woke up with a nasty bug in my stomach. It’s not cooperating so unless it clears up in an hour there’s no way.

That’s the conclusion of the year for me! Thanks for following along! I have 3 hunts lined up for next year already and going to try and add a 4th. The monkey is off my back now since I got some birds. But we all know the real deal is with big game. I learned a lot about myself this year.

- Gear is truly (almost) everything. I stayed out longer with better gear and left early when I had bad gear.
- Preparation is key. I saw more animals when I e-scouted compared to hunts where I didn’t.
- I was in some sort of shape but need to be better.
- I need to build some more comfort in being in the dark. Light and a gun helps. Being alone doesn’t.
- If I was a better stalker, I would have got a pronghorn this year. Need to find a way to “practice”.
 
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