Thursday, October 23, 2014

Trip Report: Stewart Forest Pheasant Hunt 10/19/14

Since the pheasant hunt from the other week didn’t work out too well due to the rain, I was eager to get out again and give it another try. This past weekend looked good weather wise. It was dry, and temperatures were around 50F (10C). There was a strong wind, but conditions are never perfect.

Rich, I and the dog headed out for another try. The wind was stronger than expected, so we had to stick close to the dog. With high winds the birds tend to spook more easily, and can flush out further away from you and the dog than then ordinarily would.



For the first part of the day we didn’t have much luck. We started to think that it would be a repeat of the pervious hunt. We covered a lot of ground, but couldn’t flush anything out.

Luckily, while rich and the dog were moving ahead of me, I got stuck in a patch of thorn bushes. While I was trying to get out, I heard something moving. I waited fro about twenty minutes for Rich to bring the dog around. I tried to flush out the bird myself, but couldn’t push through the brush in the area. Once Rich was back, we did a pincer move around the patch and sent in the dog. It took some work, but eventually the dog flushed out a bird, a good distance ahead of us, maybe 30-35 yards. I was shooting high brass shells out of an improved cylinder choke, so I managed to tag it at that distance.



We continued to hunt for the rest of the day. We had a few more birds flush out, but way ahead of us.





We hit several different fields within the forest, but couldn’t connect with anything other than thorn bushes.


Eventually we made our way out. I took the opportunity to field dress the bird. The way I do it is to step on the wings, grab the bird by the legs, and pull up until the rid pulls apart in two sections.


Usually the bird will separate into two parts. One part will have the wings and breast meat. The other part will have the thighs, legs, and the back. The pulling process removes most of the skin. This bird was hit in the rib cage, so it didn’t separate as cleanly, requiring me to do some extra work. Here you see the breas meat with the wings.


There isn’t much meat on the wings, so I cut them off at the joint.


That will leave you with the breast meat. In the process, remove and save the gizzard, heart and liver.


Usually when you pull apart the bird, the skin will come off the back and thighs and leave it as an almost finished back section. Because this bird was hit center mass, it pulled apart too easily and most of the skin remained on the back portion, so I had to remove it.


I cleared the skin off the thighs and legs. I didn’t keep the back portion this time because there isn’t that much meat on it. I cut of the feet at the joint below the leg, and then cut off the thigh at the point where it meets the body. That leaves the cleaned leg and thigh.


What you are left with is the parts that contain most of the meat, or at least the parts that I bother eating.


This is obviously not how you would prep a bird if you needed to get every calorie out of it, but that’s not the scenario here.

Anyway, it was an exhausting hunt, but we did get a bird out of it. Big props to Rich for working the dog the whole day. Without her it would have been a tough day.

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