Sage Monkey

Sage Monkey

Thursday, November 14, 2013

First Pheasant Hunt of the Season!

Luna on point

This past Saturday Jim and I got out for the first time to hunt some birds this season. We had originally intended to hunt at Jim's gun club in NJ on Sunday but an impromptu work trip for me this weekend ruined those plans. So we had a quickie morning hunt on Saturday at Powderbourne Pheasant Preserve so I could shoot some birds before skipping town to Baton Rouge. This was the first time we have ever been hunting without Cleo. It was bittersweet for sure.  

If you don't follow our shenanigans on facebook (which you totally should be doing btw) you might not be aware that Cleo is currently pregnant with her first litter. Before anyone gets all riled up and goes all PETA on us this breeding has had an immense amount of time, thought, and effort involved. This post is not really about her breeding tho. If you care to learn more about it you can do so here. (All her pups have been reserved).

Cleo is entirely too pregnant to go hunting with us. So we sadly left her standing at the doorway giving us the stink eye (and maybe even shooting us a paw when we weren't looking) as we tried to quietly back peddle out the door without her. She was completely aware of what we were sneaking off to do and it hurt our hearts to not be taking her with us.

Cleo says rub my belly.....there are future shoe chewers in it. :)

The beginning of our hunt started off a little slow. We spent the first 20 minutes walking through the frosty fields recounting our love for Cleo. She was indeed the catalyst that propelled our lives into an entirely new direction and it seemed almost like cheating on a lover to be in a field without her. But talking about her made it feel like she was at least there in essence. The silver lining of her lamented absence was that it was the very first time in Luna's life she has ever truly hunted without Cleo.  

How Luna Rolls: Retrieves the Bird

Delivers it to hand

Totally tries to steal that shit back when your finagling it into your bird bag

Rightfully gives you the "your so incredibly lame" look when she realizes she doesn't get to keep it

Luna was a blast to hunt over. I think she spent the first 20 minutes wondering where the heck Cleo was. It's a core personality trait of Luna to be a great team player. She is incredibly cooperative and has easily worked in the field with up to 6 dogs at a time. When Luna and Cleo hunt together they are like poetry in motion. Sometimes Jim and I stand there in awe of their silent teamwork, their ability to cover a field and how they honor and respect each other. But on Saturday Luna got to be a little selfish and she really blossomed. Hunting by herself this season while Cleo is sidelined might end up being a wonderful thing for her. I made a mental note that when I get my puppy (I'm keeping pick female from Cleo's litter) I'll have to sneak her out for some one on one time without the big dogs. It's just so incredibly hard to go out and not take the pack.

The morning was a bit chilly around 30 degrees. It was quiet and beautiful in so many ways. There was a time in my life when I would drive by a field in the late fall or winter and it would depress me. Everything seemed brown and lifeless. I never knew the beauty those brown fields held and it wasn't until our first upland hunting season did I start to yearn for it. I love how the frost on old berries glisten in the early morning sunrise. The way the steam rolls off the dogs as they work a field. The way feathers rest and billow on the brush. All the little signs of life past as the field ages into a state of hibernation for the winter. It's easy to past the time admiring the small things while the dogs hunt and just when you seem lost in the moment its shattered by the excitement of a dog on point.

Deer skull and bones in the field

A not so blind blind retrieve

Both Jim and I were adamant that this hunt I painstakingly put my camera down and carry a gun and shoot at least half the time. I made the initial bonehead mistake of carrying both shotgun and camera. It was my last ditch effort in not wanting to miss the perfect shot with my beloved Nikon. I have a feeling that it is something I will always struggle with but maybe that might change when I get my pup. I guess we will have to wait and see.

Luna was a blast to hunt over and it was a sincere pleasure watching her come into her own. She is still young and I think we often forget that considering she developed at such a young age and was pretty much finished at 13 months of age (she is still only 20 months old). Luna clearly loved hunting on her own but as soon as we got home she snuggled in with her beloved Cleo as quickly as she could. They love each other so much. Lu also hit the jackpot and got to go out and hunt on Monday as well when Powderbourne called and asked Jim to guide for a group of Sheriffs from NY. He said she did amazing.

Be sure to check us out on facebook as we will have all kinds of stuff going on in the coming weeks: Babies due the week of Thanksgiving, hunting season is in full force and hopefully some goose hunting too! 


  1. I just finished reading your article, and really enjoyed it, thank you. You can see some fun dog books at where you can also hear the dog stories for the same price as a paperback book, and they are fun to listen to.

  2. Terrific pictures!! Send one of the pups my way.