By: Kirk HowesNothing in the world captures the heart of a bird- hunter better than a good dog on a solid point.

Up until that point in time, all the talk and promise of hunting is just…… small talk.

Walking up on a dog "on point" is both nerve racking and a moment that the hunter wishes would last forever.

It seldom does.

More often than not, the footing is bad, brush is in the way or the bird just scares the heck out of you.

The result is a rushed shot and missed bird.

There are rare times when all goes as if scripted and the world is perfect, the dog. the hunter, and the bird laying in the field, dropped by a great shot.

I can assure you when that happens you will be hunting alone.

Bird hunting in Michigan, means pheasants .

There are a growing number of grouse and woodcock hunters.

Ducks are for duckhunters and myself, I am very new to ducks so…give me a few years.

My bird hunting, dates back to the late sixties, when humpback Remingtons and Brownings along with model 31s and savages and plenty of model 12s were king.

Cornshuckers ruled and birds were everywhere.

Today I hunt with a double 12 bore, I also pack a lunch and practice the art of appreciating the painted autumn skies.

The birds just aren't there like the old days.

Still I am a birdhunter, my wild kill numbers can be counted on one hand some years yet I never could give it up.

Lately I have discovered the ultimate way to soothe my desire to hunt and shoot ring-necks.

The "Pheasant Preserve"

The dog and I both are hopelessly drawn to the preserve at least five times a year.

Many newcomers scoff at the prospect of releasing birds and hunting them in a field.

One trip out changes their minds and they are planning the next hunt before the first is over.

My very first trip was with my brother and his 3-yr. Old GSP named Annie. We figured a dozen birds would be a great hunt and contacted the local preserve.

At 8:30 am we watched a couple of young lads put out the birds in about 50 acres.

Well we figured this to be a cakewalk….were we wrong! We each missed the first two birds and barely connected on the third only to watch the fourth fly effortlessly away unhurt.

We determined quickly that the birds were hard enough to hunt, to be called hunting.

Cindy, Carrie, Curdog and myself hunt the preserves, We make a day of it. The years have changed the way I hunt, sometimes for the better. Often I will pack some cheese and French bread. Sitting down under a shade tree I reflect on just how lucky I am.

I get to watch the dog work the birds, to see the last few purple asters in bloom, to see the clouds fill the sky with the promise of winter.

The roosters in all their color define the Fall season. The smell of the shot drifting in the chilly air and most of all the promise of another point.

Whoa …steady.. Get'm up

Bang !!!!!

If you are interested in hunting preserve birds with a group from this site please contact me.

Kirk Howes