Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pheasant Hunting

I went pheasant hunting today with my longtime hunting partner Rick. Well, to tell the truth, he had his shotgun and I was carrying my camera. It had been a long time since we tramped the fields together in search of the elusive ringneck Let’s go back to the beginning.

I grew up in the city and hunting was not part of my youthful experience. My father had hunted a little back in thirties and then lost interest. When I got my first teaching job and moved to rural small town Minnesota, he gave me his double barreled sixteen gauge shotgun. Mrs T and I decided on getting a dog. Kids would come later. The dog was Max. He was half golden retriever and half German shorthaired pointer. If the book Marley hadn’t already been written, I could have done it myself, based on Max’s exploits. He looked just like a big golden lab. And later proved, among other things. to be an amazing hunter.

Max The Wonder Dog

I tried upland game hunting a few times but had indifferent success at best. Then Rick joined the staff as our American History teacher. He was a pro when it came to hunting and I learned a lot. Thirty some years of successful pheasant and grouse hunting followed.

Back from grouse hunting.

Later, when my old football knee became so bad that I couldn’t walk safely anymore on uneven ground, I had to give it up. I then took up duck and goose hunting from a blind for a while and enjoyed that as well. Seeing a flock of honkers turn and come in to the decoys, as you called for them, was always fun.

The best memories though and the stories that go with them usually involve, somehow, my hunting dogs. Max The Wonder Dog, then Chessie and Muffy, the Chesapeake Bay retrievers.

Chessie von Milville

Pheasant hunting with gun or camera Nov. 9, 2009

Eighty acres of public hunting, restored wildlife habitat provided by the organization Pheasants Forever and the Minnesota DNR

As the sun set and it was time to call it a day, I reflected on the fact that a few years ago, after my knee replacement, I had decided to go in a different direction. A friend introduced me to birding, I got a digital camera, some binoculars and a non hunting GSD - Baron. You can find me afield year around now. Tramping the trails and woods, the parks and prairies, still hunting birds or whatever of Mother Natures bounty catches my fancy. Today, I went pheasant hunting with Rick again. A hike through the nostalgia of great memories and my younger years. But I am just as fond today of the new memories being created each time I grab my camera and round up my big puppy saying "hey Baron, let’s go for a walk."


  1. Beautiful post, Troutbirder. I love the reflection on how the things we enjoy so much can evolve over time. You've truly been a fortunate man to have had such great canine buddies. And now Baron, who is the perfect photograph hunter.

    Hope the Missus is doing well at home.

  2. I know this is unrealated to your blog but I wanted to thank you for visiting mine. I don't know where you live but there is a great book out titled Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest by Elizabeth Czarapata. It's a guide for identifying and removing invasives and is very comprehensive. Happy Habitat Restoration!

  3. Well, I'm glad you stopped carrying the shotgun and picked up the camera. I've enjoyed rambling around with you and Barron and seeing the wildlife thru your eyes.

  4. Even without hunting it is still great to get outdoors and enjoy nature. Sounds like you have had quite a few adventures. I really liked the photos of your past dogs. It's nice to reminisce.

  5. I think that's probably why most people hunt-just the enjoyment of the outdoors. And hunting with a camera is a great way to keep that up. Glad you have good company with you to enjoy it.

  6. I enjoyed this post. Brings back many memories--all good. While I still do hunt with the gun, I find hunting with the camera has the advantage of ease in packing out the success of the hunt. I do miss the hunting dogs though. There is a special bond betweeen the hunter and his hunting dog. I have taken up mushroom hunting and love that, too. One meets a different set of friends with every new hobby.

  7. Great post and wonderful memories..
    i was just reading Papacoyotes comment and saw that he is picking mushrooms now..ohh i love that..will have to check out his blog.
    take care..

  8. Wonderful memories of great companions, and of the transitions life can bring. Keep on hunting those photographs with Baron, the best hunting dog ever. :c)

  9. What a very nice post. You have a knack for writing! The photos were enjoyable also.

  10. The camera allows us to capture wildlife and to digest the images on another level of direct experience with the object that is being perceived. We can become close with the wildlife by eating it, and we can become the object by merging with its point of view.

  11. Hello TB. I am glad to find out your name at last. :)

    My husband used to go once a year hunting with a group of guys but I myself only shoot them with a camera. It looks like you had a great day and that sunset is fabulous.

  12. I've told you many times how well you write. The old photo from hunting brings back the memories of you and Rick's hunting days and the stories that have been told and even published in a book from a student that both of you had in your teaching day's.
    We have the memories to cherish.