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Another Carolina UJ Woodcock Adventure


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bkelble, FlyChamps and I went on a frosty (for NC anyway) UJ woodcock quest on Monday, due to the the school system and the bank honoring the holiday and FlyChamps love of hunting trumping his desire to go to work that day (note: Bob is self employed and calls his own shots).

Despite our fears that the recent cold snap may have driven the birds further south, and encountering another group of woodcock hunters with a setter leaving a cover we were heading to, we put the flushers down and deployed into skirmish lines. Soon we hit our first birds and the dogs started their work and the guns came alive. 28 flushes by my count for the day though many avoided shooting lanes in the thick stuff, 6 in the bag, a limit for me as I went 3 of 5 shooting after opening 2 for 2 (4 for 4 lifetime at that point). Some good retrives including an ice breaker on a bird that fell out of sight in a frozen swamp, another round of greasy river bank retreives that included a spectacular "feet straight out" 5 foot fall down the river bank by yours truly and Ben losing a hand grasp and sliding down the bank only to miraculously find purchase on a water level root, plus a more than reluctant water retreive by the normally water loving Chessie who has developed a healthy fear of steep pitched 5 feet greasy undercut riverbanks and heightened sense of self preservation over the last couple weeks given recent hard experiences.

A little sore at work today after the many miles covered and the bruises obtained during the fall, but I thouroughly enjoyed the hunt, the company and hats off again to Ben for the invite.

After avoiding a potential calamity involving gates that close at the parking area, it was noted that sadly, Bob's cell phone did not return from the field and will be sorely missed. On the plus side, we can now call and listen for woodcock in the area until the battery dies.

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It is always an adventure when we doodle hunt.  Last week I got us lost and this week we return too late and the cars are 1/4 mile behind a locked gate.  We got out though.  

      I really did not expect to find birds.  We had 2 days of near zero temps and it had been cold for a few days before that.  The first flush was a shock.

       I did manage to have possibly the worst shooting day of my life.  I took 11 shots and never drew a feather.  I may need to get a belled out 10 gauge for next year.

The day started off with everything frozen solid, but by noon the good old mud was back with a vengeance.  We all fell crossing creeks and I plugged my barrels with mud for the first time in my life.

Only 2 weeks left in the season so I might make it still married and with some of my blood left.  I just had a couple of students come in the room to see me and one asked who I had been in a fight with.  That pretty much sums up what these covers are like.

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Great!  What a grand time.

Maybe that lost cell phone is snapping off a few pictures for us to look at?  

Best,

FP

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I forced FlyChamps to take a shot of the icebreaker retrieve, not sure if any others were taken. The crowd declined glory shots.
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Longrifle,

Sounds like fun was had by all :D

Longrifle:

Despite our fears that the recent cold snap may have driven the birds further south, and encountering another group of woodcock hunters with a setter leaving a cover we were heading to, we put the flushers down and deployed into skirmish lines.

Hmmmmmmm? A pointer dig :p

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NC Quailhunter

Longrifle

Your tales of the hunts around N.C. are definately making me homesick. I can't wait to get back and get out there. Hopefully I can get at least a preserve hunt in this year. Anyway thanks for the tales of Carolina.

NCQ

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Seeing the guys with the setter was a shock because most of the time a 2 hole dog box in a pickup indicates that there are a dozen beagles in the woods, not other woodcock hunters.  But yeah, it did feel kinda good to go into a hunted area and have our dogs work up so many birds.
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Brian,

I know it's a jinx to put a firm date on your return given Uncle Sam's propensity to juggle due to theatre needs, but what month do you expect to be back from the sandbox?

Carll9843,

Noooooo, I would never stir a hornet's nest by implying our flushers would outwork such a fine looking setter. I think the determination setting on the other group was set too low and they didn't chance the log walks and creek crossing to get to the heavy cover, or maybe they were allergic to thorns.

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NC Quailhunter
I can't really say when I leave the sand box but needless to say this has been a long deplyoment and I can't wait to get home. Keep the stories coming and helping me get through this.
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Keep the stories coming and helping me get through this.

Thanks for your service Quailhunter.  Here is some of what awaits your arrival home.

Braces of Bobwhites

Jan2109LateWcock010.jpg

Tight sitting w'cock

Jan2109LateWcock003.jpg

Good dog work

Jan2109LateWcock002.jpg

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If your shooting ever improves, there won't be any to come back North!

Nice pics Backlash but that's a clean dog and not a freshly swum lab so couldn't this crew.

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