At just 6 months of age, Nebraska had given Bo a lot of 1sts. First sharptail, prairie chicken, snipe and dove. And even a combination limit of Sharptails & Wilson's Snipe. But it was opening day of the 2010 pheasant season and although we had taken a few woodcock, sharptails and ruffed grouse in Minnesota, Bo had yet to flush her first pheasant.
For many years, I had hoped to incidentally take a combination limit of 3-pheasants and 3-prairie chickens in Nebraska. But although I had shot several combos of pheasants and sharptails, I never even came close to chickens and roosters. I was hoping that 2010 and my black Lab puppy, would be my lucky combination.
I arrived at the public area in the late afternoon to scout a bit before making camp for the night. And there, in the middle of a two track and the edge of the marsh I expected to hunt in the morning, stood three rooster pheasants. Unfortunately, they didn't hold for Bo, but she did get a nose full of scent from the ditch.
11:00 am. We'd been hunting the edges of marsh and meadow for a few hours when I decided to stop at the truck to give Bo a shade break and share some lunch. As has happened to me several times before, with a dog on the truck seat and a sandwich in my hand, I watched a rooster pheasant cross the two track 50 yards in front of my truck!
I gave the bird about five minutes to move on and then quietly opened the door snicked the Superposed closed with a couple of steel 3's and heeled Bo to within 25 yards of where I last saw the rooster.
Bo was puppy galloping along the trail and then caught scent. She rooted around all snuffles and tail bashing when the rooster had had enough and busted just a couple of feet from Bo's nose, low and heading for the marsh. With all my forewarning, he didn't make it far. Bo rolled him around for a bit before grabbing him by the neck and trotting back toward where she remembered I stood with a wing covering her eyes. That wing saved me from an embarrassing ritual of coaxing a bird from her. I was just stuffing the rooster into my game pouch when I noticed a Nebraska state truck, winding around the hill toward me.