Name: Aaron P
Date of Hunt: December 2, 2017
Location of Hunt: Southeastern, CO
Animal Hunted: Pheasant
Were you successful?: Yes!
Weather, Wind, and Conditions: Warm (45 F), Sunny, and Calm
Interesting Details of the Hunt: I headed out to hunt in Southeastern Colorado for a 2nd year in a row. I had a doe mule deer tag and an antelope doe tag for the late season hunt and I was hoping to fill at least one of them on this trip.
The year before I had seen a pheasant or two and so I brought along my shotgun just in case I had another opportunity. It turns out that bringing along the shotgun was a good idea.
With the warm weather and a full moon, antelope and mule deer were hard to find. However, this year was an amazing year for pheasants. They were everywhere. If I would have stopped hunting for deer and antelope and instead focused on pheasant, I could have filled my limit every day.
As it was, I did take a couple opportunities to go after pheasant. As I drove by a field mid-afternoon, I saw 4-5 roosters scurry off into the grass from the road. I pulled over and quickly walked out into the field. As anyone who has hunted pheasant can attest, when things happen, they happen fast. Suddenly 3 roosters broke cover all at the same time and flushed. I aimed at one and quickly shot. I was thrilled to see it go down! I quickly aim at another, but it was already gone.
I headed over to find my bird and I started to search. After a few minutes of not locating it, I started to grid the area. It was knee-high grass but I would been able to see any pheasant on the ground. Finally after 15 minutes or so of carefully covering the area, I had to admit defeat. I believe I just winged it and it was able to run off into the grass. I was pretty disappointed.
As I walked back to the truck, I noticed another truck pull up behind. My heart gave a little leap when I noticed it was a Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer. I had never been checked by the CPW and while I had all the proper licenses and information, it still made me nervous.
The officer walked over and asked what I was doing and I told him I was out hunting for deer, antelope, and pheasants. He asked for my licenses and proof of hunter education. I was very thankful I had all my proper information (including my up-to-date CIP) and gave it to him.
Getting checked out by a wildlife officer when hunting can be a stressful thing, but I have to say I was impressed by the experience. The officer was polite and friendly. (I don’t think it hurt that I tried to be polite and friendly as well!) After checking all my information we chatted for a couple minutes. He gave me some recommendations of where I might find antelope and deer and answered a few questions I had about the area. When we were done, he wished me luck and headed back to the truck.
I walked back to my truck revealed about my CPW experience, but bummed out about losing the pheasant.
As if often the case with hunting, things often come unexpected. I got back in my truck and drove only 2 minutes down the road when I saw a couple more roosters scoot into the grass.
Once again I jump out of the truck and headed into the field. Once again a couple roosters flushed. Once again I fired at one and saw it go down. However this time, I didn’t bother with shooting at another and instead ran over to the spot I saw it go down.
As I got close, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I saw the rooster I shoot running off into the grass. I had winged another one! This time I gave chase. the pheasant ran about 30 yards and dove into a clump of grass. Seeing where it went, I was able to get right up next to it. Suddenly it took off running again and I took a second shot.
The pheasant did one final dive into another clump of grass but it was finished. I was able to walk up and pull out my hard-earned pheasant! It was one of the few times I have actually had to chase my target. It had taken two shots, but I had done it.
The rest of my trip I had a few more opportunities to harvest a pheasant. Unfortunately I’m still working on my shotgun skills and I have to admit I missed more than I should have missed. I do plan on working on my shotgun skills and hope that next year I can get a couple more. However, this year provided another great memory and experience. I look forward to the next time I can chase a rooster through the bush!