Antelope Hunt · Birds or Small Game

Aaron P – Pheasant, December 2, 2017

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.

Aaron P-Pheasant, Dec 2, 2018 (2)
Colorado Plains in December

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.

Aaron P-Pheasant, Dec 2, 2018 (3)
Warm and Dry in December, Southeastern, CO

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.

Aaron P-Pheasant, Dec 2, 2018 (1)
Finally got a Pheasant

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!

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