After getting skunked on the last hunt for the season of '11-'12 I was excited to get going for the opener in Pennsylvania. Since the end of the season, I had finished my six years in the army and moved around a bit. I was worried that I was going to be limited to just a week worth of hunting on a SD trip due to attending college in Atlanta, pheasants down there. In the long run I was able to get a great job in the D.C. area and after looking around found out about pheasant hunting in Pa. After reading up and planning out where to hunt, how to hunt this different type of pheasant hunting in the northeast the day sooner or later came.

0400 wake up, the excitement did even let me sleep in for another 15 minutes for the alarm to go off. Put everything in the truck and sit down to eat some breakfast, knowing how much walking ya have to do I was going to need all the energy I could get. While eating I turned on the TV and checked if I had any new episodes of "The Flush", a relatively new show on the Out Door Channel about pheasant hunting, and I was in luck there was a new one. The episode was about the pheasant opener in Winner, SD. Ha! Aint that crazy, the show started off with the host looking down Main Street from the park on top of the hill. It gave me a nice smile as I sat there and watched the familiar town. After that, I was out the door at 0500. 1.5-2 hours later I was in Pa. hunting territory. There were about five different state hunting grounds that I had marked off as looking promising and after looking at satellite imagery I had pin pointed what I thought would be prime hunting area...

I never expected so many other people would be hunting pheasant up in the north east. But after stopping and picking up my license it was about 0700 when I got to the first location. I pulled off the main road and drove on a gravel road that lead back through some woods and to an area that I had marked, there was a parking area close to the spot and no joke there were about 10 vehicles parked and people were standing around waiting to start hunting. Ok, there can't be this many more down the road...can there? So I passed on that spot and headed more down the gravle road. Before getting to the other spot, about half a mile down, I noticed how wet everything was, the small ditches off to the side of the gravel road were filled with water. Interesting, I thought, maybe it’s just this area. As I got closer to the other area I passed another vehicle going the other way, I waved and he didn't. Huh, oh well maybe he hadn’t had his coffee yet. I got to the other parking area and wow another five or so vehicles. This is nuts, can there really be this many out here? Ok the next area is about 5-10 miles down the road, let’s hit that one up.

I got down to this other area and drove past some open field that looked good, then saw a path to drive down and park. I pulled in and the parking area was tucked in behind some trees so I couldn't see the five or so vehicles parked there. So I turned around. I got to thinking about the Pheasants Forever Blog posting that I read a week earlier, it was about the unwritten hunter’s code that when another vehicle is parked next to a hunting area the person that got there first gets the grounds. I thought at this rate I wouldn’t find anywhere to hunt, haha. As I drove farther down the road I could see other hunters in their blaze orange walking fields, I was getting more anxious about getting out of the truck and getting to walk some grass. Another thing I noticed while I was driving all these different roads was, they were mostly all paved roads. By this time in Colorado and South Dakota they would have been all dirt roads and in squared off sections. But this was not the case, so as I drove down the road looking for the next area I found the turn off. Now, on the map it showed this road as being an unfinished road, thus meaning a dirt or gravel road. It led down a hill past a few houses and a farm where an older lady was sitting on her porch watching me drive by then the road went back into some woods. Ok, good now we will be getting away from all these other people and I just might have found what I was looking for...the road did indeed turn into a dirt road, but everything was so wet that the tire lines was all water. I thought like before it was just be a little bit and it would be alright, but as I went deeper and deeper into the woods it got more and more wet. I needed to turn around but I couldn’t find any super wet spots that I could without getting stuck, and then I saw the big patch of grass at the end of the dirt road that was elevated and looked to be dry. I just had to make it another 50 yards...and then I hit the deep ruts, ka-plop...I wasn't going to be going anywhere, sigh. Long story short I had to bite the bullet and walk up to the farm house and ask for some help. They came down with the tractor and had to pull me out, not a good start to the hunting season for sure.

After giving them a big thank you and talking to them for a bit I hit the paved road again, I came up to a stop sign and was about to turn when I saw three roosters just standing on the corner watching traffic go by! I wanted to stop but down a little ways I saw hunters working their way toward the roosters. I ended up stopping and working a field across the street but they didn't cross the road. The grass was about as tall as I was in some spots and it was all soaking wet. I got back to the truck after hearing a few shots on the other side of the road where those roosters were and I was glad I had water proof boots...two-three fields later, they weren’t so water proof anymore. The water bled through the pants and dripped down my legs into the boots. Wet socks, no fun but good thing I brought an extra pair. I ended driving around to the other spots and found some areas that nobody was parked at, but they all had been worked before. I hoped there may be some roosters hiding out but there weren’t, yet. I heard plenty of shooting, but they were always away from where I was but it gave me hope, at least some one was seeing some birds. The time rolled on by and the more miles I drove, I kept on seeing people parked in the spots I had marked as "Good" so I kept on going.

Now it was around 1400, I had just finished working a corn field and grassy area that were on the edge of a swampy area. In all the driving I had done I noticed another things, I had saw about seven total roosters and they were all either in the open or alongside the road. One ole rooster was even sitting in someone’s front yard just watching traffic go by, almost laughing at me driving by. But they weren’t as dumb as you might think a raised pheasant would be, I chased one down a road that slipped right up a steep embankment into some crazy kinda thorny bushes. I looked for him a bit and ended up giving up when I couldn’t track him down, I'm no dog ya know, ha. But he was smart enough not to fly, because if he had he would have been mine. Anyway, I came to a spot that looked like it may be good because it was up a hill and tucked away from the normal route of travel, so I parked and headed that way. As I got up the hill a bit more there was a patch of grass, 50 yards wide by 120 yards long a good size for working by myself. As I start to walk down the middle I hear some cackling! Hmmm is this a rooster thats injured? Does he think it’s late evening and is calling out to the ladies? Is he bragging about making it though the morning of all the hunters? Ha, I didn’t know so I headed toward the sound. The closer I got the louder it became, until I could see him! He was much bigger than I thought of a farm raised rooster, the wind was going toward me so I got pretty close to him about 15 yards and as he finished his last cackle he was standing up tall and turned around and saw me! He tried to book it out of there and headed for the hedge row on the other side of the grass. Now, I was close but I didn’t want to shoot to close, especially after watching a guy shoot one at about 10-15 yards and just making a pillow out of him. So I let him get out to about 25-30 yards and let him have it. It was a good drop and he fell right there.  It took a minute to find him but find him I did! Finally one rooster!

I ended up walking one or two more fields at that location, then I headed back to the original spot where I had started but did not hunt. An hour later and there were still people that were parked in those spots, but I could hear a bit of shooting and thought I would at least give it a go before heading out for home. I walked some more corn and then noticed some blaze orange at the other end so I cut over to a field that was grass and some other weeds. I got to a corner of it and heard some move meant in the woods that were on the other side, sweet I might just finally get a limit even though its only two! haha. I circled around and nothing flushed, maybe it was a rabbit. I got closer and closer to where I had saw it and bam one jumped up about 5ft away! But as I was pulling my shotgun up to my cheek I noticed it was a hen. After seeing eight roosters in the day, this was the first and only hen I saw. So it was at least a good thing and maybe she would survive. After that I walked one more field and called it a day. I got home around 1800 and had plenty of time to clean the one I got. All in all I was thankful and happy that I got at least one.