NEBRASKAland December 2018

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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Page 40 of 59

DECEMBER 2018 • NEBRASKAland 41 follow-up shot at the bird you need to get the dog where the bird came down as quickly as possible before it has a chance to run or bury itself. Glider: Healthy pheasants usually fly a good distance before hitting the ground running. Quail can glide as far as pheasants, but most often stay put once they come down. It you hit a bird that glides in for a landing without going far, chances are it's a cripple. These are some of the toughest birds to recover because they have a head start on you. At longer distances, it's also tough to get an accurate mark where the bird came down. Watch the bird's legs. A dangling leg means it's wounded, most likely with a broken leg, and your chances of recovering it increase significantly. If you have the opportunity, a follow-up shot on a gliding bird is the best option. Low and Behind: The most frustrating birds let out a puff of feathers, but continue to glide into the distance. The feathers make you think it was a solid shot, but the bird's reaction says differently. This usually means you hit the lower back quarter of the bird. It's wounded, and will usually angle downward with its head up. It may glide a ways, but it's looking for a place to run. Get the dog there as soon as possible. Recovering Crippled Birds When you have a bird come down alive it's going to run, bury itself, or both. A successful recovery starts with a good mark so watch the bird until you're absolutely sure it's come down. Approach your mark from downwind and look for feathers, which are a sure sign the bird was hit and is nearby. Keep the speed and direction of the wind in mind. It will cause feathers to drift from the place of impact. Sometimes you can hear a bird rustling in the grass or running. Mark the place where you think it came down with a blaze orange hat or on a GPS unit and return to it later if need be. Also, remember to trust your dog's nose. Sometimes a scent will take it away from where the bird landed. Don't call your dog back. Mark the spot and follow along. There is a good chance it's trailing a fleeing bird. Start paying more attention to not only whether a bird has been hit, but how it reacts to the shot. Knowing how to read your hit and get your dog in the best position for a recovery will add up to more birds in your cookpot. ■ Don't forget to enter your birds at By harvesting a sharp-tailed grouse, greater prairie chicken, ring-necked pheasant and bobwhite quail you will receive an official certificate and be entered to win one of several grand prizes. PHOTO BY JEFF KURRUS Ashley Bales of Lincoln shoots at a flushing rooster over a milo field on a hunt at Yankee Hill Wildlife Management Area.

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