Weather doesn’t stop pheasant huntersABERDEEN — Some people might find it uncomfortable to hunt in the rain when it’s 40 degrees outside, but others just want to hunt, rain or shine.
By: Scott Feldman , Aberdeen American News
ABERDEEN — Some people might find it uncomfortable to hunt in the rain when it’s 40 degrees outside, but others just want to hunt, rain or shine.
“I’d much rather hunt in this than be stuck inside watching TV,” said Rick Beteson of Excelsior, Minn.
Beteson was on a hunt guided by John Nelson and his wife, Cathi, of Frederick. They have run their hunting guide business, Maple River Pheasant Hunts, for seven years.
Beteson said he liked going on hunts with the Nelsons because of their knowledge and experience. Beteson was joined by two father-son groups: Randy Herman and his son, Parker, of Excelsior, Minn.; and Neil Fruechte, of Waseca, Minn., and his son, Kermit, who lives Edina, Minn.,
“They know where to go. They know the right spots and they have really good dogs,” Beteson said.
This hunt happened on the Voller Ranch, a few miles west of Frederick. John Nelson said he knows several different ranch owners who allow him to lead guided hunts, so he tries to go to different places with different groups to ensure the areas aren’t hunted out.
The hunters were not deterred by the cold and wet conditions. They walked through a harvested corn plot, some cattail patches and anywhere else where there might be pheasants hiding.
Beteson and the Fruechtes all said the dogs were extremely smart. The Nelsons had four highly trained Brittanys that worked as pointers to help them find and retrieve pheasants.
“The dogs are trained to honor the other’s point, even if they do not catch the scent themselves,” Beteson said.
The Brittanys had a lot of success finding pheasants, and forcing them to take flight, but the hunting party saw many more pheasants than they shot.
“The hunting was really good, but the shooting could’ve been better,” Cathi Nelson said.
John Nelson said they probably managed to bag one out of every three roosters they saw.
In some cases, the pheasants got away because they were flying too low and were in the line of a fellow hunter or one of the dogs.
“I don’t shoot unless I have a clean shot,” Neil Fruechte said. “No bird is worth risking shooting a person or a dog.”
Other times, the birds were scared and started flying while the group was too far away to get a good shot.
And naturally, there were a few times when the shooter just missed. Kermit Fruechte was in disbelief about one rooster 30 minutes after it got away.
“I mean, when you have a straight line on it, fire three shots and don’t hit anything, you just want to talk to your shells and say: ‘Come on, really?’ ” He said.
The hunt wasn’t a failure; the party managed to bag 13 birds by 2 p.m., but they wanted to catch their limit. Then they went back to the farmhouse to take a break and eat some pheasant and wild rice soup. They planned to go back out for another run once they warmed up.