Day 2 Recap: The Ones That Get Away

fefb86dd-027b-4f02-b94f-da93dd478f9c Rooster Road Trip 2016 - Upland Nation, an annual digital showcase of upland hunting on public land habitat & access projects, takes to the field November 14th – 18th. This is the second day recap from the state of Kansas.

The sun was in my eyes.
I stepped in a hole.
I wasn’t ready. 
My gun doesn’t fit me.
I couldn’t find the safety.
I got scared.
I should have had a different choke.
I had a grass seed in my eye. 
I thought it was a hen at first.
I had to sneeze.
Pheasants are faster than quail.
Quail are faster than pheasants.
I had something else on my mind.
Did you hear the Vikes released Blair Walsh?
By now, you’ve watched my epic morning rooster miss from Kansas captured on video and in photography.  Yep, Esky worked that rooster a long way through the grass.  Esky knew something was about to happen.  Josh Preissner, our Rooster Road Trip videographer on my left shoulder, knew something was about to happen.  Josh Dahlstrom, our photographer on my right shoulder, knew something was about to happen.  And I knew something was about to happen.  Then something happened. 
The video replay doesn’t lie, the rooster flushed straightaway right in front of me.  Yep, I was ready, the sun was at my back, I was clear of mind and of vision.  First shot . . . nothing.  Second shot . . . nothing.  And there you have it, I doinked a layup off the bottom of the rim for the whole world to see.  Heck of a job this morning Josh and Josh.  That video and the picture are absolutely crystal clear.  Nothing left for me to explain away.  You are experts in your field . . . and I’m a marketing guy with a good bird dog and a beautiful Browning boom stick.
A few minutes afterward, we turned west down a draw.  Esky and Jared Wiklund’s Lab “Koda” immediately got birdy as we approached a thicket.  In an instant, a covey of quail was on the rise buzzing us from every direction.  Jared swung left-to-right and dumped a male bobwhite.  I swung right-to-left and dusted one of my own.  For some reason, both Joshes weren’t over my shoulder any longer to capture the evidence.  We finished the first spot with Jared adding another male bobwhite to his strap vest from a patch of sunflowers.
Up the road, we chased a dozen pheasants wildly off a Kansas Walk-In spot without any shots in range.  And we came up dry on the final walk-in spot with the temperatures touching the 70s and the dogs spent.  Ain’t this November weather crazy? 
Kansas never disappoints.  The well-documented drought has come to an end, there are a million acres of WIHA waiting with prairie chickens, quail, and some wily roosters.  Lace those boots, grab the shotgun and fire away . . . Federal Ammo will make more shells. 
Today, I missed a great big old rooster for the whole internet to see.  Big deal.  You know what?  The way Esky worked that bird, that Kansas public hunting spot with so many memories with my friends around me, I’ll remember that one particular pheasant forever. And I’ll remember it with a smile and a chuckle.  You probably will too.
- Bob St.Pierre, Rooster Road Trip 2016
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Bob St.Pierre is Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.