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WyoChukar
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:48 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 16 Jul 2015
Posts: 1121
Location: Hudson,Wy

Well, as a number of you are aware, I recently spent a considerable number if days in Kansas. Having never been before and considering the shear fuel cost of towing a camper (or staying in a hotel or motel), a weekend trip was out of the question. How did it go? Eleven days well spent, nine of them hunting for a variety of birds.

Being a rank beginner with both Kansas and bobwhite quail meant that I did indeed do my homework first by asking a few questions and also printing out some maps. Before long I located a potential campsite that did not involve paying fees or staying in town. I have no need for electric hook ups and water was not an issue so basically my requirements were quiet, rural, and near a restroom. I found what I was looking for.

Of course, being the somewhat driven and ambitious type, I actually hunted first then finished driving to the potential campsite! My first experience was on a refuge and I made good use of the Lefever and my steel shot #7's and 3's. With an hour an a half to hunt I was quite pleased with a trio of rooster pheasant and a pair of bobwhite quail. More importantly, Mr. Rusty received a proper introduction to bobwhite scent-a crucial component to our efforts. His only prior exposure amounted to a stray I had taken while hunting scaled quail in New Mexico a couple years ago.

At any rate, I will build this story in sections to go with photos (as promised). I don't have all of the photos ready, but will start with camp stuff. Pics are as issued, straight from the camera with no post processing adjustments, too time consuming right now! They aren't bad though.

Camping was interesting. The weather was primarily mild, it felt just like "indian summer" up north, my favorite time of year. Clear nights during the full moon cycle made for enchanting atmosphere, complete with the calls of waterfowl piercing this moonlit realm.

The wind did blow hard a few times and my waders dried real quickly on those days. That lantern hook on the picnic table sure was handy. Yes, I did hunt ducks, a mere 300 yards from camp! It seems that there may have been a little divine intervention in my choice of campsites.

My concerns about possession limits were pretty much gone when I realized that I was eating most of my birds as fast as I was collecting them. Hunting all day raises the protein requirements for one's body to fairly high levels and wild birds fill that need best. I brought very little home and ate rather well while in Kansas. That certainly alleviated much additional expense.
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Last edited by WyoChukar on Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:37 am; edited 1 time in total

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WyoChukar
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:37 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 16 Jul 2015
Posts: 1121
Location: Hudson,Wy

The birds and the guns: I took far more than necessary. But, in my defense, I was unsure what to expect. The 10 ga. did see a little use for snow geese. The tightly choked Fox 16 was handy with lead shot on hard running, wild flushing rooster pheasants and would probably have worked wonderfully with buffered 5's on prairie chickens had I actually seen one. The 28 and 20 gauge guns never recieved any use at all. The star of the show was the old Lefever DS 16 that I reworked this past summer.

Very light in weight and with a choke combo of .006" and .023" this gun, as expected, not only was absolutely ideal for quail, butt was also a superb performer with steel shot on the mornings I hunted waterfowl or drove to the refuge to hunt where no-tox is required for all hunting. My loads of choice with lead were #5 for pheasant (and the mythical prairie chickens) and #8 1/2 for quail.

I am impressed by how well the gun handles steel. #7 shot mopped up wood ducks in flooded timber like a curtain of death. The combo proved very satisfactory with bobs but only gave a reach of about 25 yards on pheasant. I often stuffed a #3 in the left chamber for pheasant or longer duck shots. It worked out well and "covering both bases" is one of the advantages of using a two barreled gun with double triggers.

Of course, there were bobs shot with pheasant loads and vice versa. The #7 steel did much better than the 8 1/2 lead on close pheasants. The time I shot a rooster with 8 1/2 lead it was a matter of give him both barrels and we're off to the races! It is good to have a competent dog under such circumstances. Without that advantage, the shot would not have been taken.

Of course, I will say that pheasant hunting was a bit disappointing compared to my expectations but I did have a good time and finally harvested a full limit on my last day. I hunted only public or walk in areas. Knocking on doors was a bit too discouraging since there was seldom any house within miles of said property and local rumors of "no good deed goes unpurchased". I did have a contact and could have accessed some good stuff 30 miles distant, but knew the guy was really into deer hunting and deer season had just opened so I chose not to bother him.

Some of the pheasant hunting could have been better if I had stuck to my original plan of checking out some very good territory 50-60 miles away, a place that also included campsites. This country would have included a much better chance at chickens too. So any blame squarely rests on my shoulders. However, I deemed it more valuable to learn this new area and hold the other for future explorations. Besides, I was happy with camping where I was and the quail and wood ducks more than made up for it. I have no regrets and still harvested some hard earned pheasant dinners. Being flexible sure makes such forays enjoyable.

The real beauty of the pheasant situation is that every day was truly a mixed bag, it wasn't just pheasant hunting. Or quail. Each day involved hunting many species. Some days were very diverse, the most notable including roosters, quail, wood ducks, a ross goose, and a snow goose. There was a little windshield time and much foot work to make that happen.

The bobwhites? Oh what a joy! Everything my Dad always said they were. I wish I could have shared this hunt with him. The quail alone made the trip worthwhile. I learned a lot in 9 days. Both Rusty and my self gained a good deal of knowledge and proficiency. That might not have happened had I decided to hop around the state of Kanas day every few days.


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Last edited by WyoChukar on Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:35 am; edited 1 time in total

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WyoChukar
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:49 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 16 Jul 2015
Posts: 1121
Location: Hudson,Wy

Waterfowl? Great fun. I did pass shoot a few snows with the big gun, but hunting flooded timber (with the 16 ga. Lefever) for ducks, especially the woodies is a blast. That is an experience I don't get in Wyoming or other places I am known to visit.

Anyone who thinks a 16 with 7/8 oz. of shot won't get it done is mistaken. The open barrel did very well out to about 35 yards and the left with its tighter choke was solid and reliable at 45 yards.

I certainly have been wanting to add a 16 to the regular waterfowl rotation and this absolutely scratched that itch. I can see this becoming a regular experience.

I will say that the BPI load that I backed down by one grain of powder (and even omitted buffer), is going down another 1/2 grain or maybe a full grain on the powder charge. I did experience a mildly pieced primer! It could have been a thin primer, but I am also noticing the extractor outlines in the "brass" are a tad well defined. As always, be careful with BPI data. Of course, there were no load related problems either. There was however a mechanical failure as soon as I arrived in Kansas...
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Last edited by WyoChukar on Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:31 am; edited 1 time in total

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WyoChukar
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:15 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 16 Jul 2015
Posts: 1121
Location: Hudson,Wy

Off to a rocky start with the Lefever: I experienced a mechanical failure immediately on my first hunt! The top lever return spring cracked. Not good, especially since almost all of my steel shot quail loads were 16 gauge and I planned on spending a good bit of time in steel shot zones. The Fox is too tightly choked for the larger sizes and who wants an 8" pattern of 7's for quail?

I could still manually move the lever and it held its position fine for shooting, but the problem needed to be addressed. Well...back up ten yards and punt. right?

That evening, after setting up camp, I disassembled the gun on the table in my camper and discovered that the spring was indeed out of commission. As such I desperately searched my tool box and came up with a possible solution, Ford body work clips. These little gems are somewhat of a spring steel so technically it was possible to make something.

With minimal tools to accomplish the job, mostly pliers and a file, I made a few attempts. Around midnight I had a potentially reliable alternative installed, even if the top lever tension was pretty light. The repair proved itself. I still need a proper spring, but the top lever does snap into lock position and I fired several boxes of ammo through the gun without problem during my days in Kansas.

The most bizarre part of this? I called my Mom the next day and mentioned this amongst other discussions and she was in shock. She dreamed, on the same night, that I had broken one of my guns and had to repair it in my camper. Don't know what to make of that one. Thankfully Mom didn't have any bad dreams about my travels home! Although I did have to perform a difficult makeshift repair to a carburetor float on my truck. They say these things occur in sets of three. I can't wait to see what the third is going to be. Rolling Eyes

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WyoChukar
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:28 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 16 Jul 2015
Posts: 1121
Location: Hudson,Wy

The Kansas experience as a whole was great. I will say that most of the people were quite friendly, making me wonder just how much luck I would have had knocking on doors for permission. Next time I will get some plat maps.

One thing I noticed is that almost nobody drives old iron there, pretty much all newer vehicles. Driving my 70's era Ford was somewhat like being a celebrity, a lot of people smiled and waved. Heads turned, even though the paint work needs help. A six cylinder with dual exhaust also makes a burbly exhaust sound that many people have never heard. One thing is for sure, I wasn't flying under radar.

The landscapes possessed a subtle beauty of their own, greatly different than the lofty mountain views I have near home. Some people call it desolate. Those folks have never seen southeastern New Mexico. Kansas is actually a fairly beautiful place with some variation on the theme of vegetation, at least north central Kansas is.

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Last edited by WyoChukar on Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:30 am; edited 2 times in total

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WyoChukar
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:13 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 16 Jul 2015
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Location: Hudson,Wy

And then there is Mr. Rusty. The dog had his work cut out for him. Long days, mostly with sunny weather in the mid 50's to upper 60's meant he was panting a bit, something that does not help scent enter his nostrils. He did the best he could, which was actually pretty good. Coveys were easy enough, and pheasants certainly give off a lot of aroma, but single bobwhites on the run are a different story and run they will.

That is what he had the most difficulty with on hot afternoons. Some quail just got away, thankfully, not many of them were birds that had been shot. It did happen however, much to my chagrin. I saw other dogs experience the same though when I hunted with a couple of young guys I met in town. For the most part, my little buddy did very well. He was noticeably fatigued toward the end of the trip. So was I.

There was seldom any doubt when he was on a pheasant instead of quail. Pheasants run like mad, dodging and weaving crazily as they go. He trails their every twist and turn at speed. Good show indeed. This not so subtle hint usually allowed me to switch to a pheasant load in each barrel, provided the chase was not too short lived as in the case of him suddenly encountering scent without much warning due to direction of travel.

We did have a little scare on the last day when a long thorn broke off in his face, just below the left eye. Thankfully it missed his eye but there was minor reaction overnight in the form of additional tear duct excretion and a very slight squint if you looked close. I feared someone would think that I smacked him in the eye after seeing all of the Humane Society, etc. commercials on TV over the years. Not sure if those are still being shown these days, I haven't had broadcast TV of any sort at home for years. I'd rather be outdoors with the dog.

Duck hunting was a different adventure. He struggled. Rusty could not mark most of the birds falling in the flooded "pool sticks" and I ended up retrieving over half of them. There was much floating debris to help confuse the issue. I even had trouble spotting a duck or two on the water.

Rusty was wearing a layer of ice on the first day when we hiked back to camp. Morning two was warmer. I decided to just let him rest in the camper on duck hunts after that, he was tired anyway.

On a side note, next time I will take chest high waders. I passed on a lot of shots once I learned that Rusty could not always find the duck! I understand though. One of those little dog platforms that strap to a tree trunk would be great to keep him up where he would get a better look. There were a couple trees big enough to use one.

They say that a tired dog is a good dog. Nine straight days of hunting long hours will accomplish that. If nothing else, it makes it easy to get photos of Rusty napping with my gun and a bird or two. Yes, I unload the gun.
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skeettx
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:00 pm  Reply with quote
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AWESOME EVERYTHING
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wj jeffery 16
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:19 pm  Reply with quote
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That really was an adventure ,great thank you for a wonderful report.
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rudyc
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:01 pm  Reply with quote
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Great story and photos, Thanks for sharing.

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bbrown
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:49 pm  Reply with quote
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Excellent report and pictures! Your thoughts on Kansas and its beauty and people make my heart swell. Great shooting and dog work to boot. You are a blessed man.

-Ben

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Chicago
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:08 pm  Reply with quote
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Wow, what a hunt. Thanks for sharing the photos and giving us such a great write up. I should have gone to Kansas instead of spending 50 days in the Great White North for a very marginal season. Great looking pooch and gun.

Good Hunting,
Mike
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WyoChukar
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:10 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 16 Jul 2015
Posts: 1121
Location: Hudson,Wy

Great White North? North Dakota? If so, I found the pheasant hunting there about the same as what I found in Kansas as far as public stuff goes. There were other highlights up there though, major league. Perhaps I need to take the time to sort through those photos next.

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kgb
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:03 am  Reply with quote
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I'd like to read your NoDak adventures as well. Nice job on the KS trip!

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df
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:17 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 01 Oct 2007
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Great pics and narrative .
Born and raised in Ks and sure do get back there hunting several times per year.
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Savage16
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:29 am  Reply with quote
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What a great story you have told in picture and word. You should be able to sell that to a magazine its that good.. Thanks for bringing us along.

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