Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Deux Cheneaux Redux

Host Allen Bell, Reaves McLeod and I

Good fortune shines on those who spend time in the outdoors, and wildlife encounters create ties to the land for both the landowner and the sportsman. Allen Bell at Deux Cheneaux feels this bond more than most according to the manicured appearance of his woodlands near Ritter. Open fields, thinned hardwoods, pine timber and ponds create a mosaic of wildlife habitat that is good for Bobwhite quail, where hunters can be hopeful they will be shooting coveys when the birds break cover.

Brittany Spaniels on Point at Deux Cheneaux
A walk through the Head field at Deux Cheneaux, adjacent to the Johno Creek reservoir, is the type of setting that makes for a memorable outdoor adventure in the ACE Basin. Bell’s 28-guage over and under Rizzini shotgun is always at the ready when the cold weather days of February allow for spending time working with the bird dogs of Docehno Kennels. Joining Bell and Reaves McLeod on a weekday afternoon hunt, we chased bird dogs until the daylight dwindled.

I hunted over Annie in 2009 as well
While hunting over two Brittany spaniels, we were not ready when Bell caused a covey to flush wild. I swung my 20-gauge to the left and dropped one bird, while the bulk of the covey flushed forward and settled back down. Then Bell and McLeod waited for the dogs to relocate the birds, before they moved in to flush and shoot the singles.

Quail hunting at Deux Cheneaux is based on an early release program that sees quail released in October which are left to fend for themselves. Lots of native grasses are left in place on purpose to give the quail some cover from marauding hawks. Even in an area with cover, on this cold day we found not one but two Cooper’s Hawks hounding the quail. This trial by nature ensures that the survivors will fly hard when flushed, making a challenge for wingshooters. To read about a past hawk encounter while quail hunting click here.

McLeod pushes the quail cover
The copious amounts of beggars lice that we had clinging to out hunting pants and to the fur on the dogs verified that we had searched for the bobwhites wherever they went. The final stop of the day was to the Chateau at Deux Cheneaux where Miss Susan came to greet us and to listen to our hunting tales about her favorite bird dogs. Later, as I cleaned the quail I visualized a recipe I sometimes refer to as Deux Cheneaux Redux, where the birds are in a brown gravy cooking in a black skillet, in preparation for a gamebird supper that nourishes the body and soul.

To view the entire article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries for Deux Cheneaux click 2011 Dove - 2012 Turkey - 2012 Deer


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