Woodland Trails: Last day of pheasant huntThe last day of Wisconsin’s pheasant hunt came and went. I had big plans to take a TV crew out and film a show with my good friend Dave Carlson of Eau Claire for his “Northland Adventures Show” that plays all over the upper Midwest. But things fell through when I hurt myself the day before.
By: Jim Bennett, Hudson Star-Observer
The last day of Wisconsin’s pheasant hunt came and went. I had big plans to take a TV crew out and film a show with my good friend Dave Carlson of Eau Claire for his “Northland Adventures Show” that plays all over the upper Midwest. But things fell through when I hurt myself the day before.
I was in bed for a day and half but Sunday afternoon with just a couple hours left in the season I felt a little better. So much so that I got dressed and decided to go for a walk with the dogs. I decided to take my gun too and hopped in the car and took a little drive. I had a plan and I wanted to see what was there and if it was still the same as it used to be.
I ended up in a place I hadn’t hunted in over 10 years — Casey’s Pond, we called it. Boy, talk about memories. It was the second place I ever went duck hunting. Jinx, LC, Skunk and I sat there many a fall night and we very seldom went home with as many shells as we came with. This place goes back to the ’60s, high school days! Talk about golden oldies, like the time LC got there and then realized he left his gun at Gert’s house. Man did the ducks come in that night, and none us lent LC our guns. We were always amazed LC ever got anywhere driving that old yellow ’64 Ford Galaxy. I remember the day his gas tank fell off. He just stopped and put it in the back of his trunk. It ran just fine. I’m sure the grouse wings he had stuck in the rusted holes just behind the headlights had something to do with it running so good. It sure classed up his car!
Another time he and Jinx decided to get comfortable in the duck blind. They took LC’s back seat out of the car and made it part of the blind. LC was always our best blind builder. They were relaxing on it when a big flock of mallards came in. As they reached for their guns the seat buckled under the weight of them both moving to the center, and they ended up piled up on top of each other. I’m not sure who was laughing harder, the hunters or the ducks as they flew away unscathed!
One of my fondest memories was a night when Skunk dropped a big fat mallard that was coming to me. It should have been mine, but he shout it out from under me and then laughed at me. He really enjoyed doing that sort of stuff. Well, he went out to fetch it because we didn’t have dogs back in those days. Sure enough, a small flock of mallards thought that it would be a good time to come in about then.
That’s something ducks always do! Just try to pull decoys or pick up a duck on the water and ducks always come in catching you off guard. Well, Skunk froze, got as low down as he could and tried to look like a bunch of weeds. The ducks spotted him right away, but as the ducks banked away I stood up and made one of those shots you always dream of. I was surprised I even hit it!
I mean this duck was high up. A dot in the sky, and I just folded it. Down it came and immediately I realized that it was headed right for Skunk. The problem was that he had been frozen in one place too long and he had sunk in the mud and couldn’t move. Pull as he might he was stuck in ooze and muck! The duck was coming down right at him and all he could do was lean back. The fat mallard hit the water a foot in front of him and made a splash that resembled a tsunami. He looked like a coach that had just won the Super Bowl and had a bucket of Gatorade poured on his head.
And then there was the time we took Bruggy duck hunting with us. He had heard all our stories and decided that it was something he wanted to try. It was the opener and we got to the pond well before the season opened and were all set up in our usual good spot. But a few minutes before the season opened a couple of guys, I’ll call them Pete and Repeat, set up directly across the pond from us. We couldn’t believe it!
A few ducks come by our side and we let them fly by a bit so our shots were not directed toward Pete and Repeat. Then a couple more ducks flew on their side and they shot when the ducks were right out in front of them. Immediately we were pelted by a barrage of BBs. It happened a second time and a third. By now Bruggy is hot and he let Pete and Repeat know it. He reminded them not so politely that we were there and that they were shooting us. We HOPE they got the message.
Minutes later, another flock of ducks flew right in front of them and once again we were pelted by buckshot. Bruggy couldn’t take it anymore. He stood up and let a couple rounds of shot go over their heads, dropping tree limbs on them. A minute or two later the Petes were headed for their vehicle, never to be seen again.
You have to remember that we were just high school boys back then and we certainly made a few mistakes. So all I can say is, don’t try to do this at home or try to copy any of the antics mentioned above. Things were much different hack in 1969 than they are today and so were we. Besides, it’s been more than seven years so I don’t think we can be put in jail for any of the crimes we committed in this column.
Oh — I did flush and shoot a pheasant that day, but that paled in comparison to all of the memories that I bagged that day.