Page Updated 10/11/08
(L to R) Les Svatosch, Tim Sims, Chuck Sekerak (behind), Marla Nelson, Billy Conrad,
(Click any of the small photos on this page to enlarge them into a pop-up window.)
Pheasant Hunt - Day 1:
The first day it rained on us all day long, even downpouring at times, so we don't have any photos of the actual hunt. The morning started out slow and not many birds were to be found in the grasslands, or among the pines and milo fields. Despite the rain, the SportDog Training Collar - donated by Gander Mountain - worked great with Duchess out in the field. All-in-all, the afternoon ended up being a BLAST, with Billy Conrad getting his first pheasant ever and then an additional FOUR more contributing to our total of 27 pheasant and 10 chukar!! We're proud of you Billy, you did GREAT for your first upland hunt!!! After the birds were sent out for processing, our Guides, Boo and Jim, served as bartenders out in The Dog House.
Pheasant Hunt - Day 2:
After breakfast, some of the group went trout fishing and caught a few, and the rest went down to the Sporting Clays course and shot a few rounds. None of us did too great as the course was difficult and the sun was not in an optimal spot. Even so, we were all really looking forward to hunting on a dry and sunny day. After the sporting clays, we loaded up two SUVs and headed about 10 miles straight north of Alexandria for some hunting in food plots (short corn) and CRP. The short corn was especially fun because it was an easy walk, the dog work was excellent and the birds were plentiful. We could see the roosters out in front, running down the row and dodging back and forth between the corn rows. I shot my first Pheasant Rooster with Bob right by my side, witnessing the entire thing. He couldn't be more proud and was just beaming, probably even more than I was! I had a hunch when I found the $10 bill in the parking lot after breakfast that it was going to be my day and that I was going to get my first bird! It's funny how things work out sometimes. We reached our limit of 30 birds by mid-afternoon and called it another successful hunt.
Pheasant Hunt - Day 3:
This day we headed back out to the fields mid-morning. First we combed a couple milo food plots and some grasslands, but the birds were not around. Then we hit some more short corn strips to try and push the birds into the next grassy field. It was tough going and the day was sunny, but a bit windy which added to the challenge. We were joined by Jerry Thoms, a writer for Gun Dog magazine who interviewed us for a few articles he was writing on Llewellin Setters and for the Garmin Astro GPS system we were using with our dogs. By the end of our grueling day, we had a total of 28 roosters in the bag.
Mealtimes and Awards:
Meals were really nice. Each morning and evening we ate a hot buffet meal that was all-you-can-eat. My breakfast favorite was the homemade biscuits and sausage gravy. Each night it was something different, from thick cut pork chops to prime rib, the meals did not disappoint.
Dinnertime was also a great opportunity to give out gifts from our sponsors, Gander Mountain, Granite Springs and Hickory Hollow Llewellins. Gander Mountain was especially good to us this year and we were so excited to share the gifts with our group. We put everyone's name in a hat and let someone pick the names each evening. Here's how things sorted out with the drawings.
(sorry about not having photos of the winners... I don't know what I was thinking not taking any, DOH! Maybe Marla will have some. I'll check with her when she gets back from SD.)
Hanging at the Dog House:
The last two evenings we were at Granite Springs, our group hung out at The Dog House, a large out building separate from the main lodge where the pool table and dart board were located, along with a bird cleaning station, a couple couches and satellite TV, not to mention the fully stocked bar! The building is attached to the kennel system where all the Granite Springs Labrador Retreivers stay, so the entire building is called The Dog House. We played a couple rounds of Cricket and the guys played pool and hung out and smoked stogies. I think one of the guys said something like this after lighting up a cigar, "Now it feels like we're on a hunting trip"!! I guess the stogies are part of the tradition.
We would like to take one last opportunity to thank our event sponsors:
We hope that people will patronize these businesses for any future hunting needs.