Outdoorman’s Journal – 1-16-13
Rooster’s Run a Labor of Love
Last year I met Rod Bensley who is the owner of Rooster Run, which is a pheasant hunting preserve near Burnett (Beaver Dam). I hunted with my golden retriever Fire, five days back in the fall of 2011 and the winter of 2012.
This December I spent four days at Roosters Run (920-296-4947) where my buddy Rod has been helping me train Fire on upland bird hunting, which in this case is chukar and pheasant.
Monday, December 4th
High 35, low 23
Here is the scoop, I am working with Fire and Rod during the middle of the day on pheasant and chukar and ending the day on this 211 acre piece of paradise with my muzzleloader and hoping to make some venison.
One of the first things that Rod did when I arrived today was release some chukar in a field of switch grass and then we simply walked behind Fire as she winded and then flushed the chukar.
The first chukar that Fire flushed I only put one bb into it and that bb just did enough injury to one of it’s wings that the chukar hit the ground running which was excellent practice for Fire by using her nose and finding a running bird in dense switch grass.
Fire caught the chukar which on a little side note, know lives in my pigeon coop, it’s name is Chucky and Chucky is very used to being carried around by the soft mouthed Fire.
When a person pretty much only hunts waterfowl with their dog, teaching a dog to work a field in front of the hunters can be a challenge. In other words, for a dog to flush a pheasant that is maybe 20 yards to your left and 20 yards a head of you, the dog has to range out, pick up the scent, follow the scent and then flush the bird.
Rod Bensley raises German Short hairs and he knows the art of patience and as I would learn several times in the month of December. When a young dog picks up the scent, you have to let them do their own thing, which in this case may mean letting the dog get out of shotgun range.
It is not worth pulling a green, hunting dog off a bird that is running ahead of it to guarantee a shot close enough to be in shotgun range. What I just mentioned is one of the things that is so cool about being a member of a hunting preserve or just buying some birds for a single hunt.
If you have a hunting dog, spending time at a hunting preserve guarantees that you use the dog and also provides excellent training opportunities on every hunt, it also can help to remove your body from the couch.
As I said, I spent four days at Rooster’s Run in December and after walking the sorghum, corn, switch grass and marshes you learn a lot about the art of creating a hunting preserve that provides both easy and challenging hunts.
Rod Bensley has a farmer plant much of the property in the above mentioned crops and the farmers harvests a percent for himself and leaves the rest in strips for the hunters.
Sorghum is a constant challenge for hunters and hunting dogs, it is so dense that walking through it can be difficult and a smart pheasant can simply out run the dog that is pursuing it.
Switch grass is a favorite for hunters but is knocked down with the first heavy snow.
Strips of corn are reliable and attract “scratch birds” which are birds that were released but not harvested by the hunters that paid for them.
My dog Fire is bred and due on January 22nd, watching her try to flush pheasant with limited experience was so cool when she would actually flush a bird, I would shoot it and she would retrieve it.
Owning and managing a place like Roosters Run is truly a labor of love and making a profit can actually be like catching a cloud. Two hunters that spend a lot of time helping Rod throughout the year are Steve “Bogey” Bogenschneider and Keith Kneser.
All three of these guys have dogs that literally get to take pheasant hunting for granted and all three of these guys have hard work and sweat stamped on every project that I observed while playing at Roosters Run.
Thanks for reading! Sunset
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Ormson’s SuperValu