The pheasant hunting club that we belong to releases hens during our late season. For Patty and I, the late season started with our visit there today.
There is some talk around the clubhouse that hens are harder for the dogs to find. The thinking is that they give off less scent and have evolved that way to protect their nests and ensure higher survival of their chicks.
It sounds plausible but after a quick web search I came up with only anecdotal evidence and nothing very credible.
Regardless, the conditions were good today. The humidity was high, the temperature was just right (50’s) and there seemed to be exactly enough wind to carry but not blow away the scent.
We tend to hunt on the edges of the club. There are less birds there and therefore less hunters too. The pheasants have typically been flushed once or twice before they end up that far out. It’s still not a wild bird hunt but it’s the next best thing.
Patty found two hens during our hunt and they both held tight in thick cover in front of him. The first surprised me, popping up out of some knee high grass right under my feet. She flew back over Patty, to my left. I had to regain my composure quickly and swing the gun over before knocking her down.
Patty pointed the second bird in a patch of dry and twisted cattails. At first I couldn’t even see him but I followed the GPS signal and soon enough saw white through the head-high reeds. I kicked around awhile up-wind of his position before the hen bird lost her nerve.
She came up about 5 yards off my right elbow so, as a left-handed shooter there was no twisting or wild swinging required. I only had to mount the gun and squeeze off a simple shot.
Patty made good retrieves on both birds. Neither were very far but the second dropped into another patch of cattails and he had to work hard to find her. I managed to grab a little video clip of the second retrieve with my phone. I hope you enjoy it!