If you are going to have a good bird dog then one simple rule applies; you need to put pup into birds. Now that sounds pretty simple however it isn’t that easy to do anymore. Truth is that our quail population here in southern Indiana has fallen to all-time lows and unfortunately the prospective of improvement just isn’t there. Just this past week (second week of September) the pheasant predictions have come out for most of the states with a population of birds…and it really looks dismal here in Indiana. The roadside bird counts that were taken in August point Indiana in the direction of a 50% decline in bird numbers and mostly due to the very long and harsh winter that we encountered last year. So, with all this negativity…what does a guy do? This is where Lost River Hunt Club factors in; Charlie Warthan, Kenny Williams, along with myself and four eager bird dogs spent a Sunday afternoon chasing quail, chukar and pheasant around in some pretty thick, tough cover.
Lost River Hunt Club is just a few miles south of Orleans, Indiana…actually between Orleans and Paoli; it is owned and ran by Bob Hudelson (812-865-3140). I spoke with Bob on the phone the week prior to our hunt and told him that we would be down somewhere around noon to 1pm and when we pulled in we were met by Chris Hudelson, Bob’s son. Right up front I felt comfortable with Chris as he was easy going and showed that he was very willing to work with us and make our afternoon what we wanted it to be.
After signing a waiver excluding them of any liability while on the grounds we ponied up our $75 dollar fee and discussed our choice of birds; as a group we decided to have Chris put out 10 quail, 6 chukars and 4 pheasant. We kind of thought a nice ‘smorgasbord’ of upland choices would be fun. Next we discussed the cover that we would be putting the birds into and arrived at a 30 acre parcel known as the pipeline. The three of us went and got our hunting things ready as Chris rounded up the birds, loaded them onto his 4-wheeler whereby we followed him in our vehicle (and trailer) to the field. We opted to put out all 10 quail along with 3 of the chukars and within a few minutes Chris had returned from planting the birds in the field. We waited for a while longer to give the birds some time to move around and put out some scent before loading up and embarking on our afternoon hunt.
Charlie would be using his trusty 20 gauge, Kenny was hunting with his dad’s reliable Browning Automatic in 12 gauge and I would use my favorite gun of all time…my 28 gauge Weatherby. Like most adventures there is a learning curve and quickly we could all deduce that the cover we had just planted the quail into was way too thick; keep in mind that this is mid-September and growth for weeds, etc…is at its peak. What we learned was the quail had a hard time flying well enough to get above the tops of the very tall grass and weeds that were in the field. In about an hour we harvested a few of the quail and one of the chukar as Chris showed back up with the rest of our birds. We decided a move to another field was a good idea and within 5 minutes and a short drive Chris was once again planting the rest of our chukars along with the four pheasants. This time the cover was more open as we were hunting in a young stand of milo; the openness allowed us to better watch and read the dogs and gave me a nice opportunity to both watch-then direct Pappi (my Wirehair pup) on a few specifics while working with other pointers. We ended up harvesting all of our birds from this field and had a very nice hour hunt…all before returning to the pipeline where we ended up finding/bagging 5 more quail and a couple more chukar. The dog work was very good…especially considering that it was warm, the grass/weeds were thick (which plays with the scenting conditions) and there were birds scattered all over. In fact I was very proud of Pappi, his ability to get along with the other dogs and mind his manners was quite acceptable at this stage in his development.
All in all we had a very good day and was pleased with our afternoon. The camaraderie was second to none; it is always a pleasure to be around Charlie and Kenny for they are both easy going and looking to have a good time. The day was good prep for this fall and future hunts out west as I will be journeying to Nebraska in November and Kenny will make his way north to North Dakota in mid-October to hunt pheasants with his brother Ivan.
As I said you always learn and could do things better…for as they say, “Hindsight is 20-20”…we might have made sure to put the smaller birds (quail) into thinner cover and it sure would have been nice to have been a bit cooler; but you have to dig in and make the best out of each adventure you dive into…and that is just what we did. Click here to see a short 5 minute video of our hunt. If you would like to take part in an early season bird hunt, or anytime from now through March, give Bob and Chris a call and they will set you up with an adventure…they can even guide a hunt for you. I think you will find the hour drive a nice way to Enjoy the Great Outdoors.