September 18, 2021: Partridge Hunting Opening Day (27 Photos)
Since last year, the opening day of moose hunting here on the East Coast has changed from the first Saturday in October to the second Saturday in September. This really fools up plans for long time bird hunters such as Peter Bassan. Although we made an attempt to fill his moose tags the previous week, there was no way he was missing the opening day of Partridge season. If you can't beat 'em, just as well to join 'em so Bassan and I headed down the southern shore to Trepassey Friday evening to join Peter on the opening day of bird hunting Saturday Morning.
We got up early and had an awesome breakfast of my okto-beer-fest moose sausages, fresh fish white puddings, eggs and toast. We loaded up our gear and Peter's setters and headed out to the barrens to start our hunt.
This year Peter is running 3 dogs, one senior Jake and two pups Matthia and Ruby who are of course fresh this season.
We weren't long left the vehicles when the dogs found the first covey, Bassan was closest and knocked down one of the 3 birds with his Beretta Semi.
We continued on our way finding a few birds here and there but they were pretty wild taking off well before we were in shotgun range.
Everything down this way is very dry, especially the marshes which in many places are dried up completely. This is not surprising given the overall lack of rain this summer and low water levels we experienced on the rivers all fishing season.
On another marsh seven month old pup Matthia pointed on a covey of birds, Bassan and I both fired taking one bird. Almost immediately after the dog started moving again a 2nd covey came up, neither of us were ready or expecting that so we didn't get a shot off.
As we crossed through a tuck of woods near the river, Bassan startled this young cow out of hiding which then hightailed it into the wind for a couple kilometres over open country.
Having enjoyed my first Partridge hunt last fall, this year I picked up my own upland game vest which has shell pockets on front and game pouch in the rear. I also sported my new (late last fall) Lacrosse Alphaburry Pro boots which are a huge upgrade in walking comfort over my heavy Dunlop's.
We went as far as this long gully before turning around and heading back towards the vehicles.
Along the way we came across this fresh dust bowl frequented recently by Partridge. Bassan got one more bird for the morning and we headed back to the house for a lunch and rest for ourselves and the dogs.
Around 4pm we headed back out on the barrens in a different location for an evening crack at the birds.
We spotted a couple ducks but they were very wild and took flight long before we were in range, not uncommon especially since we didn't know they were in the gully.
As fog rolled in the dogs began repeatedly pointing but couldn't zero in on a covey of birds, partly due to the weather which was causing the birds to run instead of fly.
Bassan was closest when the covey finally took to wing but was still well out of range.
We were almost back to the vehicles and soaking wet when one of the dogs began pointing on the opposite side of the road. Not wanting to miss an opportunity we followed along and were astounded by the racket the birds were making. Then out of the fog the covey appeared, flying straight towards us. I was on the left and knocked down the left most large bird with my Benelli Super Nova successfully harvesting my very first Partridge!
Sunday arrived and Sunday hunting has not started yet. We had another awesome breakfast of fish puddings, bacon, eggs and toast before packing up our gear for the drive home. Before Bassan and I left we cleaned our harvest and bagged up the meat. Peter will be staying in Trepassey and will continue bird hunting thoughout the week.
Copyright © 2011 Michael Smith