Monday, November 7, 2011

First Game Farm Hunt

In a effort to get more birds in front of my lab-in-training, I decided to look into booking a game farm hunt while in North West Wisconsin. I had four days to hunt and besides checking out some state land and the Rusk county forest, I thought a first time game farm hunt might be a good thing to try. I have real mixed feelings about big game "ranches" but look at small game farms as a chance to train the dogs, and get some shooting in, which can come few and far between at times on my own. Checking the area, we found Hay Creek Game Farm outside of Sand Creek WI. Bill, the owner and his brother in law partner run a nice, high quality farm, with plenty of opportunities to hunt. Dave and I were rookie preserve hunters, so armed with a lot of questions, we made the hour drive over through sprinkles and overcast sky with our gear and labs in tow. Bill was great about just letting us scratch hunt birds on their section of property until our scheduled hunt time. Scratch hunting is like the "real" thing and we scoured the edges of fields and marshes hard, putting up just a couple birds, but giving the dogs a chance to really work.
Dave and Rooster

When our scheduled hunt started, we were a bit skeptical of the small field we were to hunt-how hard could it be to find the birds there? Plenty hard! That small field became a two hour hunt and we never did put up all the birds that were supposed to be in there. The dogs figured things out after a while and I loved watching those to labs work like Hoover vacuums sucking up scent as they worked the cover. Even though the most wily roosters escaped too far out, we did manage to put a half dozen birds down that the dogs eagerly retrieved. By the end of the day, we (and the pups) were plenty tired and it was off to clean our game and spend more time chatting with Bill. He does some great donations for hunts, supports young hunters and makes a game preserve hunt attainable for the average working man. Overall a great day spent in the hills of Dunn County and a super experience for us and our four legged hunting partners.

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