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“Beep!” The alarm woke me up at 6:00 A.M. Saturday, March 14. My dad’s good friend came by our house because we were going pheasant and chucker hunting. His name was Kurt Cobussan. He picked us up, and I brought along my book, “Dodger and Me.” It was a book that I was reading because the author, Jordan Sonnenblick is coming to our school.
It was a pretty good book about a kid named Willie, who was so unpopular; he got an actual genie that was sent as a blue gorilla. I was chosen to attend one of Sonnenblick’s workshops that took place on Wednesday, March 25.
Anyways, Mr. Cobossan was talking about his cabin that he has up north. It is in Northern Wisconsin near the Wisconsin-Michigan border. He was telling us about how good the ice fishing is there. In one day, they caught 45 northerns through the ice, and two of them were over 40 inches. That is enormous for a northern pike. We kept on riding until the turnoff. We finally got to the farm where we would be hunting at.
We got out, and waited in the lodge area while the people who work their planted the birds. Planting the birds is when they shake em’ up, and the people hide the birds in brush and wait for the dog to flush them up. T.J., the guy who owns the place, was showing us his new assault rifle he bought. It was an over $2,000 gun, and it was equipped with a $1,000 scope. It was black, and it looked exactly like the guns in those Marines commercials. Pretty much it looked just like a machine gun with a black body. He was trying to convince us to buy one, too. It was crazy. He had a military weapon that he was trying to convince us to get one. He told us that my brother should get one once he starts deer hunting. I don’t even know if this type of gun is legal, but he seemed to think it was. My brother was trying to convince my dad that he should get an assault rifle. My dad was explaining to him that my mom wouldn’t be very happy if we come home with a semi-automatic assault rifle. He also advised us not to bring the machine gun up in conversations. She barely tolerates us hunting, and this would put her over the edge. My dad told my brother that he would be getting a good safe rifle that was not a military weapon. My brother still really wanted the rifle, but he dropped the thought for now.
T.J. told us we could go pick up a dog from the kennel they have their. We knew which dog we were going to use. It is a black lab that’s name is Grace. We had used this dog twice already, and she was built for hunting. Her legs are really muscular and she never stops running. She is a really nice dog that is too much of a lover. She always has to sit right next to you, otherwise she will jump on you and try to give you a hug.
We took her out right away; she smelled something under a big clump of grass. The guy who planted the birds told us to get our guns’ up fast, so we knew that there was a bird nearby. We put ammo in, got set, got into position, and the bird flew up. It was a rooster pheasant. I waited for it to get up about 10 ft. off the ground, and I shot it right in the head. Its death was instantaneous. My dad told me it was a great shot and we stuffed it into the back of my blaze orange vest. My heart was pumping, and we couldn’t wait to get some more shots. We kept on walking, and another rooster pheasant flushed. It was flying at an angle away from me. I shot and hit it, but I didn’t hit it in the head. I was angry, but I kept on walking thinking I missed it completely. The shot I just took had about a 50:50 chance of killing the bird. It kept on flying, but I knew I hit it, and I knew it was wounded. My dad said we could get it later, and reluctantly I kept on walking.
A couple more birds flushed, and Mr. Cobossan shot a couple of chucker, and then I saw a pheasant trying to camouflage in a clump of corn. I called the dog over so that it could flush the bird up so I could get a nice shot. The dog flushed it, and the bird rose about ten feet over the dog. This was a border line judgment call, but I aimed a little high so the BB’s had no chance of hitting the dog. I hit the bird right in the head, and it went down right away. We kept on walking, and my dad shot a couple more birds, and Mr. Cobossan shot a couple more birds. Then we were done hunting the fields.
My dad and I decided we were going to walk the edge of the wood line and flush out all the birds we missed and try to get shots at them. My dad saw a rooster pheasant running through the woods, so he took the dog over around the woods, and was going to try to push them out to me and Mr. Cobossan. We were standing out in the field so we could get clear shots at them. It is easier to get shots at them in the wide open field because there are no branches or anything the BB’s can bounce off of, but in the woods, it is harder to get good, quality shots.
My dad and the dog caught up to the bird, but it was injured so it couldn’t fly. The dog grabbed the bird, and my dad wrung the struggling pheasant’s neck. Ringing the neck is basically twisting the neck until it breaks and kills the bird. I was told by some people that it is gross. It might be to those people, but as hunters need to do it to put the bird out of its misery. My dad stuffed the bird into the pouch in the back of the vest, and we kept on walking in the woods.
All of a sudden, we saw two birds running through the woods. One of them was a hen, and one of them was a rooster. We started chasing after them, and we tried to get the dog to chase it down, but the dog didn’t see the birds. It was pretty much a foot race to try and scare the birds to fly up into the air so we could potentially get a shot at them. The law says that you have to wait for the birds to be up in the air before you can shoot at them. Me and Mr. Cobossan were running in a patch of field looking for the birds when we heard a single shot right behind us. We found out a couple of minutes later, my dad had shot, hit, and killed a pretty good sized rooster pheasant. The dog could never find the rest of the birds, so we headed back to the truck, and we went to the Five Stand to shoot the clay pigeons they have their. The Five Stand is basically a platform where they launch clay pigeons out of it. It is called the Five Stand because there are five stations that you rotate through and get different shots.
We started out at one where all of the shots were fairly decent. None of us were shooting very well, but we still decided to try the competitive stand where you shoot in some kind of orderly fashion. My brother was also shooting at the stand, and he was just learning, so it was kind of hard for him. The easiest one on the easy stand was one that flies straight in front of the shooter, so they would have a good chance of hitting it. The easiest one on the hard stand we were currently shooting at was a “bird” that flew directly from side to side. Shooters just are used to calling them birds, although they are really just clay discs. These pigeons are harder to hit because the shooter has to decide how far he or she wants to lead them by. If you don’t lead the bird at all, the BB’s will always go behind, and miss the target. In one flying like this one, the shooter generally shoots about six inches to a foot in front of the target so the target has time to catch up to the BB’s. If the shooter aims right, it should hit the bird right in the middle, so it will break into a million pieces and you will get a “good shot” from anybody who saw it. We shot for a little longer, but we were getting a little hungry, and our shoulders kind of ached, so we headed in to get some food. It was extremely funny when we walked back into the lodge. T.J. was telling a story with a lot of colorful language and dropped the bomb a few times. It was a story about a guy who didn’t want a 12 gauge or something. He didn’t really care that we walked in. He just stopped telling the story. My dad didn’t walk in until later, but my brother filled him in with the whole story including specific details.
When we were all set back at the lodge, we got something to eat. We ate halibut soup imported all the way from Alaska, with buffalo chili. This older lady that I thought was T.J.’s mom let us sample both choices. These both were so good I almost couldn’t pick between them. I ended up choosing the soup because I had never had halibut before. It was perfect, and was some of the best fish I had ever tasted. It was the perfect mix of fish and vegetables, mostly corn. I really liked it. Then for our main dish we had meatball sandwiches. I would bet that you have never had a better meatball sandwiches than what we had their. They were really good. They were even better than the Costco meatballs, which are my favorite. My mom thinks they taste like dog food, but I love them.
T.J. was showing us his new inventions’ that he made. One was a boat docking devise. It was built so the boat would never hit the side of the dock. It was using bungee chords. It was pretty cool and it had its own commercial. The commercial was of some girl in a bikini showing how to dock up a boat with his new invention. His other invention was a cup holder that did something. I can’t remember what it did, but it did something really cool.
This was by far the best bird hunting trip I have ever been on, and I hope I will have many more opportunities in the future.