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Rend Lake Hunting
November 2003
December 2003
November 2005


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NOVEMBER: FIRST DAY

I arrived at 1:30 am, Indiana time, because I had to do a presentation for Dr. J’s retirement. Got only four hours of sleep before we had to get up and present our permits with picture IDs. New procedure. Larry and Holly Hanna were the only people here. The Rothans did not come because Shirley just had knee replacement surgery. Marylee, my roommate, did not come because she always comes with the Rothans. Hannas only brought Eli because Riva was “with pups”.

So hunting this morning was different. The three of us and three dogs…two of which were mine. We started off on Field Number 23 with Flick and Eli. There were four other hunters there with us. We decided to go to the east of 23 because it had a field for Flick. All the other guys went to the west. We should have gone to the west because they had all the birds. We found only one in the first part of that morning.

Flick & Eli ready to start the first day with Larry and Holly Hanna

Flick was wearing his goggles because he had had too many eye infections in the fall. But the goggles would not stay on here. There was too much brush. I took them off in less than 15 min. He would not stay out of the woods either. He did not want to hunt the fields.

Back to the beginning. Within 20 yards of the start Flick went on point on my side of the tree line. Holly came in to flush the bird with me on my side of the tree line and Larry on the other. The bird was smart. She flew right through the tree line with no one getting a shot. Flick had no idea where his bird went, but he chased were he thought it should have gone.

Flick's First Bird

We proceeded down the tree line, Flick working the east side and Eli working the west. Eli found Flick’s first bird. But it flushed over our heads to the tree line across the field to the east of us. We kept on going down our tree line turned east to cross the field and proceed back up it including the tree line to the east of it. Flick found his bird again. Nice point. She was hiding in the brush on the west side of the line. I went in to flush it. Larry shot it. Eli took out and retrieved it. Flick was still standing. I asked them to toss it back out for Flick to find. I sent Flick for it. With a lot of help he found it. He had to trip over it though. He did not scent it to retrieve it. But he believed he had done the whole thing. He was so happy.

We then set out for the west side hoping to find what our other hunters had left behind. Traversing one large field Eli locked up nicely. The bird flew. Larry shot. Eli retrieved. Continuing west Flick pointed on the edge of a field. The bird was running. We could see it run. Flick could not. I released him. He appeared to track it. It flushed straight up. Larry did not have a shot. I was far down the field, but I shot twice to no avail. But all Flick saw was the bird go straight up. He thought it was in the tree. We could not get him away from the tree.

On our way back toward the cars I traded Flick for Dart. We went to field 18. Dart and Eli ran the milo in the middle of the field east of the little woods.......down one side and up the other. Dart had a bell on. She stayed close. Ran hard at first. But Eli went on a beautiful point. She darted by him, but caught the scent and did a 180 point behind him. It was a beautiful back. As Holly approached the bird to flush it, Dart became impatient and did flushed it for her. Both Larry and Holly shot. The bird came down and Dart was on it. But she did not bring it back like she does every quail she’s had. Eli made the retrieve.

After lunch Flick and Dart went out. Eli stayed in the car. Holly handled Flick and I handled Dart. Larry came to shoot. We took the road between fields 19 and 21. It wasn't’t long before Flick went on point. Dart ran over. Pointed then flushed. It too, went straight up, but Larry got a good shot. Flick had no idea where it was. Dart didn’t care. I found it in the mud by the lake and helped Flick retrieve it. He had to trip over that one too before he found it.

We continued on. Flick had another point in a real thicket of thorns. Holly went in to flush, but got caught up on the rose. Dart was too impatient again and flushed the bird out. It went on the other side of the tree line where Larry did not get a good shot at it. But Flick thought he’d shot it. Flick took off to find a way through the tree line and he ran smack on into a downed tree. You could hear the contact hit. But he kept right on going where he thought Larry should have dropped it. It was hard to get him to stop looking for it.

In continuing on, Dart found one on her own. It flushed quite soon. She chased but lost it in the trees. By two o'clock we had four birds and three tired bird dogs. We called it quits for the day. It was a great day for Flick. He had at least six points with two retrieves. Dart had fun……with a couple of points and several backs…..and too many flushes.


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NOVEMBER: DAY TWO

No one showed up last night so it was still just Holly, Larry, and I hunting again today. Hot day. We went to 18 and shared it with a dude (Mr Magoo-like) who had two Brittanys. Another guy who had a huge shorthair (>100 lbs) and a huge lab (>100 lbs) that were both male aggressive. Neither dog had a collar. Then a guy in a red truck who was interested in the two aggressive dogs. We decided to go east into the field and take the tree line across the field to the south. Mr Magoo took the treeline on the road. The aggressive dogs would go north. The guy in the red truck had not taken his dogs out.

We started off and I was about 20 yards behind the Hannas. I had forgotten my gun and decided to use the camera. We started out with Flick and Eli. Eli went into the field and turned south. Flick followed. Within the time it took me to catch up to the Hannas, Mr Magoo’s brittanys had cleaned out the field….including a birds Eli and Flick were pointing/backing. We lost four birds in less than five min. Mr Magoo shot "at" about everything….not appearing to have shot anything. Nor were his dogs retrieving anything. I saw one of his birds fly toward the parking lot.

Flick pointed one bird near the island of trees…..but when I hit the finder on his collar the bird took off. He followed for a short distance but could not see it anymore. We had lost five birds. Flick then took the line of the island back toward the parking lot and locked on point near the lot. It was the bird Mr. Magoo had shot at and appeared to miss. But it had been hit and jumped up not able to fly. The blind dog pursued and got it….brought it back. We had one of Mr. Magoo’s birds.

The guy in the red truck watched all of this before he decided to go out. He took two brittanys out and started to hunt in the direction of Mr. Magoo. I guess following him looked the safest.

We then decided to take the north tree line because it looked as though the aggressive dogs had crossed the street. We took that tree line east. Then another one south. We soon saw Mr Magoo exit our field leaving one of his brittneys on point. We yelled at him to let him know. He could not hear a thing. Meanwhile Eli was working a bird in the middle of the field. It flushed. We were paying more attention to the Brittany. Holly shot late and missed just as the Brittany busted it’s bird. That bird flew over our heads and Holly had to swing around to fire…but missed that one too. Mr. Magoo had now taken two more birds from us.

Eli backing Dart on 10 quail.

Flick was too hot. I traded him for Dart. Dart and Eli took out again on the north end of the field. Dart went on a beautiful little point with Eli backing. I got a great picture. It was the first bird we had time to set up for. Holly on one side of the tree line and Larry on the other. I flushed. About 10 quail flew out. Dart took off. She could not catch any of them. This was so good for her as she did not break point with Eli backing as she had done with the derby dogs. She also did not bring the bird back. I was happy. She found a couple more singles as we went on. But we found no more pheasant.

We were too hot. We decided to go back to the room to get my gun and change some clothes. The we took Dart and Eli to 22. they got hot too quick again. We walked toward the lake to give them a break. We found no birds on this trek and decided to go to lunch.

Larry decided to rest after lunch. Eli went with him. Holly, Dart and I tried field number 3. We would do the north side of the long tree line. I also put the beeper collar on her for the first time. She had been wearing a bell up until then. I rang the finder a couple of times to see that it would not scare her. She did fine. So, we continued down the tree line chatting away. She hunted the tree line. Stayed within a nice distance. When we got to the end of the tree line we took another south toward the lake. Across a field. Drank out of the lake. And continued west back toward the car. She went on point. Tail was steady. I went into flush and about 10 more quail took off. She did too. We found a couple of singles and in chasing one single she found a pheasant. It flew straight up. We had no shot through the trees. But went to the field on the other side where it may have landed. And we were right. She went on a beautiful little point with the bird in sight. It flushed. Holly shot. It fell. Dart took off. Grabbed it and brought it back. She did so well. I’m not sure who was more proud/happy. She looked like a real bird dog.

We continued west. Dart found another pheasant. It was walking in front of her down the tree line. It took off too fast for a good shot. We then decided to go back toward the car. As we did she came across a cock bird that took off. At the same time a second one went straight up. Holly took the straight up one. Dart was chasing the other. Too close to the road for me. I called her off. We took her where the other one should have fallen. She found it but was not interested in it because it would not move. We had to retrieve that one.

Dart's first birds as a true bird dog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were so psyched. We did so well with her. Our day didn’t start out well, but it ended great. Thanks to Dart. She handled the heat much better than Flick and Eli had.


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NOVEMBER: DAY THREE

People have arrived. Scott and Linda. Sarah with two of her puppy people from Denver. Ed Kottmeier. Don Keeton. We split up Scott/Sarah et al on 18 and Hannas/Keeton/Kottmeier/Wallace on 21. We started the morning with Flick, Eli and Spirit. Heard the first cock bird in the line as we were waiting to start. Hannas took Eli on that line and Ed and I took Flick and Spirit down the field adjacent to it. The got the cock bird. But that was all for the tree line and that side of the field. So we took the center of the field back toward the island on 23. 23 had not been planted. Flick took out too far and flushed two hens out. No one could shoot. His reputation was coming back. The Eli found three more cock birds in the same place. One at a time. I think they got most of them.


Scott and Sarah with a few of their dogs.

 

I traded for Dart and we went back through the middle of the field again to come back up the other side. I don’t remember one point on that trek. Ace, however, pointed some nice birds for some shorthair guys…who wanted to know what kind of dog he was. Holly had the opportunity right there to sell the remaining two pups she has.

We decided to cross the street and go half way out field number 24, turn east and head back to the cars. Dart, Eli and Ace were hunting. On the other side of the field were four guys with one pointer who was running wild and a setter. They thought they had covered the field. They found one bird. Shot it. The shot drew Dart to run toward them. In her hot pursuit, she swung a 360 on point. A hard point. They took their hats off to let us know she was on point. Holly and I had to go 1/3 of the field to get to her. She was still on point. We positioned ourselves for a shot. In the meantime Eli went on point and they shot a bird for him. Dart did not move. The other four found another and shot. Dart did not move. Holly went in to flush….and 20 quail came out. Dart did a short chase. We must have gone for another 45 min without a bird.

Then Flick and Cash went out. Covered the interior of the field without a bird. No birds after lunch. This is my first day of being bird less. Not my dogs though.


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NOVEMBER: DAY FOUR

Debbie and Bob came last night. So did Denny Keeton. Val Smith came too. We’re sharing the cabin for the rest of the week. We had our first happy hour at Hanna/Wallace/Smith cabin.

We started the morning out on 21 again. The team was Hannas, Ed, Val, the Keetons and me. Flick and I took the middle of the field. Hannas and Eli took west of us. Ed and Val had Spirit on the field near the tree line. Keetons had Zack on the tree line. Keetons had most of the shots. Ed and Val went faster down the field than we did. A bird flew right over my head from across the way, but I missed it. Flick went on point near the Hannas and they shot a bird for him. He thought it went too far out but retrieved it with their help. Ed and Val shot at a bird that I thought was coming right for me. They missed. I waited until their orange was out of my sights….and before Larry and Holly were in them and shot. The bird was hit, but kept flying. Hannas had another bird that flew toward Ed and Val. As it turned out Ed peppered Hannas and Hannas peppered Ed.

Flick's cuts around his eyes. I sure hope he closed his eyes when he went through that brush.

We caught up with Val and Ed as they covered the back of the field. We headed toward the pond on field 22. They had seen a bird land close to there. Hannas were working the pond. Flick went on point, but no bird. He and Spirit were sure birdy. Flick tracked it to the tree line after Ed and Val left. He had a nice solid point. I could not find a bird tho. Then I dug deeper and stepped on her. She then got up and ran. Flick did not see her go. I took him off the point and he tracked it to the pond. Hannas had left the pond too. He then cornered it somehow and brought it back to me. This blind dog can still get a bird without my help. It was 9:30 and I had two birds.

Then it was Dart’s turn. Larry wanted to take her down the road to the dirt road between 19 and 21. We did the road, but soon down the dirt road Larry left to find Holly Ed and Val. I kept Dart with me looking in all the side coves. We went to the end of the road…turned west into the back –back fields of 21. She came on a beautiful point. Waited for me to catch up. I saw a pile of feathers

and thought it might be that she was pointing. But no. We passed by the feathers and she was still on point. The hen flew. It flew away. She was in pursuit. I shot twice and missed. I really want to hit one for her. We made our way back to the cars.

After lunch. Eli, Dart and Spirit with Ed, Val, Hannas and me went down two to the back. Circled around to come back three. We had no bird work. As we got closer to the road, I decided to take a dirt road parallel to the main road back to the car. As I approached the woods by the car. I decided to take the woods. Dart and I found a cock bird in the woods, but could not shoot in the woods. It flew out and east, down the line. It was just standing there when Dart found it again. She pointed. She stalked as it walked. It flew away too far away for me to shoot anything.

Flick then had a turn. I took him through the same woods and around the whole tree line of 2. We found one in the woods. It flew straight up and out. I missed it. We found a second on the way back. Flick pointed nicely. But I could not see him. I knew he was still, but I could not find him. I pressed the finder button on the collar and the bird flew up…..past me… but I missed again. I lost Flick several times during this run. He still runs far away. He doesn’t listen too well. But he always finds me as long as I am making noise.


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NOVEMBER: DAY FIVE

The last day was short. Hannas left before 6:00 am. Most of us were to hunt for the am then go home. We did the whole hunt on field 23 with Bob & Debbie, Ed Kottmeier, Val Smith, Hannas and Mark, one of the vets Val works with. Mark had a Clumber, a Vizsla and a Pointer. The Clumber was from Doug Johnson in Bloomington. The Clumber hunted like a Brittany. The pointer got lost.

The winds were >40 miles per hour.....from the south. Our field faced the south. Birds do not fly into the wind when they are released. Consequently we did not have many birds on our field. I did not get any. I started with Flick and went with Debbie with Annie and Bob with Friday. We were not productive. Then I took Dart with Debbie and Annie. Bob took Bear and went into the woods.

Linda receiving hat.

Our hat, this year, was won by Linda. Her story? She and Scott were hunting. Scott with a dog and Linda with a camera. But both Wylie and Taz went on point. A hard point. After kicking around, no bird was produced. The dogs were told to move on. Neither did. So Linda went down on her knees to find a bird. She found some tail feather sticking out of the brush. So she picked up the tail feathers.....bird attached. Held it up to show Scott. By this time the bird was flapping it's wings, but anchored by the tail feathers. Linda asked,

" What do I do now?"

Scott told her to put it on her head and he would shoot it off. No, he told her to let go of it. She did. He shot. They got the bird. That was quite a sacrifice for Linda because she had just done her nails and did not want to mess them up.

See you all next year!!!!


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December Day One 2003

I left Bloomington at 5:00 am (EST) to meet Randy and Greg at Rend Lake by 9:00 am (CST). I got to the check-in station at 9:00 am. Found them on Field 21 by 9:05 am. There was only one other truck there, but no one else to be seen. Randy and Greg were just ready to go. They took off and I said Flick and I would catch up.

The day was 35 degrees, with

precipitation in the form of flurries. No accumulation.

Flick took off down the north- south tree line, passing Randy, Greg, and Quinn in the tree line. He locked up on point right at the end of the field, in the field, not the tree line. I was, of course, half a field away. Randy saw him on point and ran in. But the bird flew before any one could get there. It flew into the east-west tree line at the end of the field. It hit the trees and looked like it fell down. Flick was in hot pursuit. He ran through the tree line, found the bird and brought it back. When Greg met up with us, he said he did not hear a shot. And, no, he did not. Flick was back to normal. No one needed to shoot. Not sure Randy liked that. He wasn't needed. He found two more birds. The only other bird shot was one that Quinn had found.

Randy and Greg were glad there was another hunter and a couple of more dogs as Quinn and Kelsey were tired and Kelsey's foot was cut. But I don't think they thought Flick would hunt without them.

Dart did not do better. We hunted each dog for about an hour. Dart got the second shift. It took her a while to find one. It was hiding very tightly under some downed tree limbs. Randy had to come to flush it while Greg was ready to shoot. But the bird did not fly away. He just hopped. Mistake. Dart took him down the the "Flicker" technique. Randy was miffed. Two birds with my dogs and no shots.

Kelsey got the after lunch shift. We took the back of fields 2 & 3. We encountered four birds and brought back two. We had our limit. The past two days, Randy and Greg did not get their limit. Our arrival appeared to be good luck.


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DECEMBER: DAY TWO

The sun was out. The temperature was 37o, warming up to 50o. Nice day. We went back to field 21. There were four other trucks there too. These guys were pointer/setter guys. We started talking before we took off. One of the pointer guys asked us if we knew those people who were with that huge group of vizslas a couple of weeks ago. I said I was with them. Well, the one guy talked about how great that one from St Louis was. He had been the guy who encountered Ed and Ace between 22 and 23 on Day Three of the November hunt.

Dart had her first opportunity to be first dog out. This was an important responsibility as well as a great opportunity. We let the pointer guys go first. Two took the tree line and two took the field. We saw a bird fly right into the tree line by the cars and decided to start there. Well, Dart found it too fast. No one was ready for her. It took off parallel to the road, with her in not pursuit. She ran all the way around the corner. She then ran into field 20 to help them. She backed another dog in the middle of that field. As she came back to us, she found another bird on the corner of the tree line. Randy and Greg both ran at her. She did not like that. She'd never seen anyone run at her. The bird flew into the trees....excaping any good shot. Just after that happened

a third bird flew from field 19 right in front of me. I shot, but missed. Dart took off chasing that one by the pointer guys. We then had about 30 minutes before we found our next bird. We took the trees between 19 and 21. I had seen two cocks fly into them. We found one of them. Dart didn't point it well. It flushed right over my head. I ducked, but Greg and Randy thought I should shoot. That one got away too.

So, here we are, 10:30 and no birds....thanks to Dart. Or maybe it was thanks to my inability to hit anything? So, things had to get serious. We took Quinn on the shore-line from 19 to the back of 23. It took two hours! We split up so that we would push birds to the water. Sometimes I was walking through so much brush I had twigs in my ears. Other times I was walking the shore line accumulating so much mud that I could kick it off every once-in-a-while. We encountered four birds in that search. Randy got two of them. It was the only two birds we got that day. Kelsey did not get any in her after lunch run. Flick and Mojo did not find any during the kick from 3:00 to 4:00 pm. Now, my arrival was not so good luck.


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DECEMBER: DAY THREE

Back on 21 again. Weather was warmer than yesterday. Sun, but partly cloudy. Great hunting day. We decided to run two dogs each time since we wanted to leave for home by 1:00 pm. Dart and Kelsey started off. I guess we were giving her a second chance. This time we only had one other hunter on our site. He waited until we left.

Randy, Dart and I took the field near the tree line while Greg and Kelsey to took the middle of the field. Dart wanted to do the tree line and did not hunt the whole length of the field. Our fourth hunter took his lab down the tree line and had two birds early. Dart took off to help him....but came back when I called. When we made it to the end of the field we

decided to work the tree line back up toward the lab. Dart just wasn't hunting. We decided to put her up when we got back to the car. Luckily, on our way back she finally pointed. It was a single quail. But it got her pumped up. We met up with Greg who had found one bird with Kelsey We decided to take the field right by the road. We had not heard much shooting....thought we had covered most of the field except for the part by the road. I thought the birds had flown to the end of the field because there was no breeze to make them stay close. But was I wrong. As we took off, Dart kinda disappeared in the taller grass. Kelsey ran in from the wrong side and put up a cock and a hen. Two-four shots but no birds. They flew across the road. We still could not see Dart. Walking up on the taller grass, a hen flushed out. Dart was right there. I could not shoot as there was a hunter in my line. Randy shot and Dart grabbed it up and brought it to me. Dart must have held her point as Kelsey flushed the other two birds and Randy and Greg shot at them.

We turned around to take a few steps when Dart locked up again. I flushed. I shot. I shot again with Randy backing me up. The bird dropped and Dart was right there to bring it back. It was so cool. We then decided to go by the small stand of trees in 22. The dogs were getting hot and we took them to the pond in side the trees. As Dart was coming out of the stand of trees, she locked up again. Greg was in the trees. Randy was on the other side. Kelsey was coming in close to Dart, but not seeing her on point. Greg was getting her to back with the bird flushed. I was the only one who could shoot. One shot!!!! It dropped. Dart was right out there bringing it back to me. It was so cool. Kelsey did not bother her either. It was a good day. We now had four birds by 9:50 am. Randy did not want Kelsey and Dart to continue because Quinn had not had any time out yet. We went back to the car.

Since it was so early, we let Quinn run alone. We took Quinn back down toward the lake behind 22/23. Back into the shore line. She found a couple. Randy shot one.

After lunch, Flick got to run the back of 2 and 3. He found one too early. It was already dead....not ours. We just used it for a photo op. He found no other birds. He ran well. Greg was tired following him.

It was a great hunt. Dart improved so much.


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