Wednesday, February 1st, 2023
Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

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Whatever wingshooting: unlikely birds save an otherwise dismal hunt

Truth be told, I had no business hunting anything at all this past week. The flu, the true ache-all-over-your-body flu, had settled in on Christmas Eve and held tightly. I had a Wisconsin archery tag left though, and I knew I’d be able to find a few midday grouse. So against my wife’s wishes, I crossed the river and set up for three days of hunting.

It quickly became clear that I had greatly overestimated my recovery, and that long midday walks for grouse were out of the question. Just getting out to my treestands necessitated plenty of breaks to catch my breath, so I was in pretty rough shape. The deer hunting was dismal, but I did spot a large flock of pigeons feeding in a picked cornfield. The birds would dip and circle into the wind, and almost as soon as they’d land to feed, they’d all erupt and circle again. 

That was enough to get me to round up Luna, bundle myself up, and sneak out to see if I could get in some pass-shooting. After nestling into a pine-tree row, I watched a flock of eight wheeling into the wind ever closer to 20-gauge range. As they glided past I picked out a bird and dropped him. After that, I shot nine more times without touching a feather. With my last two shells I brought a loner down, and as Luna worked back and forth in the cornfield to retrieve that downed bird, I realized that I hadn’t thought about how sick I was or much of anything else for two hours. In fact, not only did the pigeon hunting distract me from my achy mortal carriage, it also proved to be a heck of a lot more fun than deer hunting. 

It’s strange where outdoor opportunities can crop up. And although I’m quite certain I wouldn’t drive more than two hours to simply hunt pigeons, I can say I’ll keep an eye open in the future for more opportunities.

They may not be glamourous, but just like feral hogs or golf-course geese, they sure are fun. 

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