Fall on The Saskatchewan Prairre is “special.”Everything seems to be moving, the sky is alive with waterfowl which are in the staging mode,when the weather turns for the worse they head south.Birds from the North drop in on every cold front.It’s a great place to be for a Watefowl Hunter.
It’s also a great place for a Upland Bird Hunter as it is classic pointing dog country.Big is a understatement to describe the terrain in which the Gray Partridge and Sharptails are found,huge is better.
The Bird Dogs eat it up stretching out and hitting the edges where native grass and wheat stubble come together,the experienced dogs stay ten yards off the edge knowing full well that any closer they may ‘bump’ a covey of Huns,they know the birds need to be pointed from a far.
The Expanses of native grass are home to Sharptails and in some years lots of them.Like the Huns they don’t tolerate sloppy dog work and when in they are found in large groups it gets challenging as the flock is spread out and very skittish,but thats part of it.When they hold it all comes together,the point ,flush and retrieve are frozen in time.
Two chokes are better than one,the second being at least IC and
number 6 patterns best for the long shots as the birds can excel to 45 MPH ..fast.You can never over lead,and it is easy to be behind the bird when you squeeze the trigger.In the course of an hour the dogs will run twelve miles you will walk three,and the walk back to the truck is further than you think.
This is Pothole Country,the Labs get there turn also.Working the Duck Blind in the chilly AM they stare intently into the sky.As you call you also watch your dog see where the buzzing ducks are at.
They circle overhead ,dropping lower and lower then they buy into your decoy spread,flying up the J with their wing’s cupped it’s game on,Mallards and Pintails are awesome,but beggars can’t be choosers take the Wigeon and Teal too.
To the naked eye it’s a bleak landscape full of nothing,dig a little deeper and the beauty appears.From the friendly farmers,the feel of the short grass under your feet, to the hidden gem of a coulee that slices through the country side there is more that meets the eye while hunting the Big Country.