“It was a Friday afternoon, early November, and waterfowl were just now concentrating on the big river as our puddles and small water developed ice. But the river was open, minimal ice. It takes serious deep freeze to lock it up.
I’d noticed a gravel bar about a half mile upriver was pulling in good numbers of roosting Canadas.
By Bruce Kania
Montana went to a split season a couple years back. Folks were thinking that our primary hunt is based on migratories. These folks haven’t hunted Shepherd!
We have been boosting production for some fifteen years now. Lots of woodies, blue and green wing teal, and always mallards. More Canadas than ever too!
'Twas the day before Christmas Eve and a deep snow had fallen over the earth. The pheasants had returned from surrounding lands to hunker down in our cattails and Russian olives, venturing out into the barley and wheat fields for sustenance then returning to the draws and river bottoms with full crops. For all the roosters that succumbed to our hunt, dozens flew away, making for the best pheasant hunting we have had all year, indeed, the last few years!
Snow is a boon. Winter hunts can be incredibly productive. Vigorous walking keeps the hands warm and the mind sharp. The birds are incredibly beautiful as they burst into the snowy background, undulating to safety (most of them). Hen numbers are high, rooster numbers are high. We are grateful.
You won’t find the Shepherd Research Center on a map but it's a very real place. Floating Islands were conceived here; Bruce and I live here. And it is 340 acres of Yellowstone River country that are home to several colonies of pheasants, dozens of grazing mule deer, many elusive whitetails; and seasonal quarters for spring ducks and geese to have their babies, and for the migrating hordes to winter here. Keep reading...
You'll see a drop-down menu that says" Pheasant Book" Here we will be posting hunting stories, written by Bruce, that make a point about some aspect of hunting while illustrating it with a story. It is a fun collection, not yet published anywhere except for our website!
You may be wondering why so many articles are being written by Bruce when this is "Women teaching women to hunt"?
“Ever since I took my first shot with a shotgun I have been hooked. As a hunter, I am connected with the land and natural systems in a pursuit that means life or death. I am part of an ancient and sustainable lineage of sourcing healthy food humanely. I love being fit and capable in the outdoors. I love the shooting part, too, and enjoy practicing throughout the year. When it’s freezing out and my bed is warm, my two dogs and their pleading eyes inspire me to get up and get out! There’s nothing so companionable as a hunting blind, or so exhilarating as a well-executed pheasant push!
Sorry to sound corny but I want to share the JOY with you!
I remember all too clearly how complicated it felt when I first started, how many times I nearly gave up out of sheer frustration.
So my goal is to teach you practical skills that will get you to the JOY part quicker! And get people around you so pleased with your acumen that you’ll become a favorite hunting companion and a JOY to be around.”
I look forward to meeting you on our hunting path!”
Joy of Hunting