I've always had a long held wish to go hunting out west with my dad. My buddy Jerod has a ranch in North Dakota and we've always talked of doing a hunting trip. So put the two ideas together and my dad, Erynn and I headed to North Dakota for some pheasant hunting. My dad, brother and I used to hunt all the time when I was in junior high and high school. But after I headed to college, rowing and travel took over my life and we never got out again. Jerod had been to see us in North Carolina a couple months before and we headed to the local Dick's so I could pick up a shotgun for the adventure. If you're a fan of this web site, you'll know that this is not our only adventure with firearms with Jerod and Mylynn.
The main hunting party consisted of Jerod, my dad, Jerod's father-in-law, Elmer, and myself. Erynn and Taggart helped a bunch by flushing the birds.
Some more pictures of us before the hunt.
Off we go to bag us some birds! November in North Dakota was cold and windy, but we still had a great time.
Left photo: Jerod and myself. Right photo: Hugh and Elmer
Jerod and Mylynn live on a huge ranch in the middle of nowhere in North Dakota. I always explain it to friends that it's about an hour away from Bismarck. For those that would know, Bismarck is about the size of Dubuque, and they're and hour away! You can see some other photos of the ranch from a previous trip here. It really is beautiful country though.
Jerod and my dad.
It's hard to explain how many pheasants we saw. And those were only the ones that flushed. There were probably 2-3 times that many that ran away and we didn't see. Erynn and Taggart are wonderful people, but they weren't great pheasant dogs. Jerod hadn't hunted much pheasant so we learned as we went. Also, we weren't terribly concerned if we got our daily limit. We just wanted to bag enough birds in order to make a pheasant stew that Jerod had a recipe for, which amounted to 4-5 birds over 4 days. No problem, right?
Above is a photo of my first pheasant on the trip. On this day, we kept seeing all of these pheasants flushing a couple hundred yards in front of us -- too far to get a good shot. We kept pushing them to a slough on the property to trap them. As we got nearer they started to jump and we all emptied our guns. I was the only one to hit a bird on that occasion, but the problem was that the bird landed out on the ice. Erynn, being the good bird dog, thought it'd be a good idea to walk out on the ice. The slough was really shallow so when she broke through it only went over her boots, which was exactly the depth needed to end our hunt. I also broke through trying to help her retrieve the bird and we stood around just long enough to snap these photos.
Erynn was having fun with the camera and took some cool photos of a pheasant sticking out of my back pocket and of Elmer's cows.
Taggart is a wonderful boy, and I think Erynn has a friend for life. He was a real tropper. He walked for miles with us on multiple days helping us flush pheasant.
Back at the house we mostly just hung out and played with Taggart and their daughter Elyse.
Taggart and Erynn were like peas and carrots. They played games and put together jigsaw puzzles for days.
Their daughter Elyse is precious, and Taggart is a handful. :-)
More cure photos of Elyse.
Much to his grandpa's chagrin, Taggart thinks John Deere is the best company ever. As I mentioned, Erynn and Taggart spent hours putting together puzzles so I mailed a couple John Deere puzzles to Taggart after the trip and Jerod sent me the photo of him with it completed. He even got a cool Gator utility vehicle for Christmas.
© 2008 Doug Rathburn