View Full Version : Fowl Farm

January 27, 2006, 11:37 PM
Probably 15 years ago I was invited by an insurance agent I did business with to go "bird hunting". I agreed to go. He picked me up in his new Cad and we headed for the bunk house on a large Nebraska ranch. The agent made sure I was aware this was a VERY expensive hunt. I couldn't figure out what a VERY expensive hunt for pheasants in Nebraska meant, I always hunted for the cost of a license and ammo. There were 10 people at the ranch, all more affluent than I and all from major metropolitan areas. Four had never been hunting before.

Shortly after we arrived our host at the ranch explained our itinerary. It became apparent to my naive conscience that this was not the type of hunting I had been enjoying since childhood. This was a game farm. The birds, chuckers and pheasants, were farm raised. They were set in the field before the sun came up. It was our job to find those illusive critters with the aid of several top notch bird dogs and guides (who set the birds out).

The next morning we ate breakfast and were on the balcony of the bunk house. Before the big hunt we would take a few practice shots to get warmed up. They lined us up along the rail. The first person in the line was to take the first shot. The 2nd Person was to take the follow up shot. This would continue down the line so everyone would get both first and followup shots.

They had a commercial trap thrower below the balcony. This thrower had a piece of 2" plastic pipe on the rock platform. They put live pigeons in the tube and launched them out. I couldn't believe my eyes, I didn't know if I should laugh or :barf: .

Has anyone else shot pigeons like this?

We broke up into 3 groups. The hunt was equally sporting. I had my limit (I think 15 birds) in about 1 1/2 hours.

Chuckers fly low to the ground when they get up. I cannot imagine turning this group loose with guns following my bird dogs. I was surprised there were no dead dogs at the end of the hunt. By the time we went from the field to the bunk house our dressed and frozen birds were ready for the trip home.

Does anyone here game farm "hunt" regularly?

Is this the way most game farms operate?

January 28, 2006, 09:25 AM

This whole business sounds kind of British actually.

Art Eatman
January 28, 2006, 12:08 PM
Well, it's bird shooting, not bird hunting. No fair chase involved at all.

Seems like a modern-America commercial variant on "Pigeon Shoots". Those were--and, I guess, still are--much like the tuna tournaments that used to be popular around the Bahamas. Competitors vied for high score, just like in skeet and trap. Lotsa money, whether prizes from the sponsors or from side bets.

An excellent depiction of a pigeon shoot is given in John Ross' "Unintended Consequences".

I guess the advantage of using pheasants and chukar is that at least there's something worth eating at the end of the day.

Regardless, it's a matter of shooting skill, and has nothing to do with hunting as hunting.


January 28, 2006, 12:27 PM
By chance, did one of these affluent hunters show up with a brand-new .460 Weatherby Magnum for the bird hunt? :D :p

January 28, 2006, 06:57 PM
By chance, did one of these affluent hunters show up with a brand-new .460 Weatherby Magnum for the bird hunt?

No, the same guy showed up, but he knew enough to bring a 4-bore shotgun with him.


You see "flight-conditioned quail" for sale all the time in newspapers around here. My brother even went on one of these hunts with some local arisocrats he was working for - pretty silly. Still, it beats working.

January 28, 2006, 08:52 PM
By chance, did one of these affluent hunters show up with a brand-new .460 Weatherby Magnum for the bird hunt?

It is interesting you should ask that. There as no .460 Weatherby, the agent' who invited me spent most of the day admiring his bosses gun, a brand new Weatherby O/A high grade w/a lot of engraving. By the time the hunt was over I was so sick of the slobbering by this agent I wanted to catch a bus home.

The last thing the boss did before he left was hand the Weatherby to the agent telling him he didn't like the way the gun handled and told him to keep it. Then I had to listen to an exited annoying driver all the way home.

I vowed never to go on one of these "hunts" again. I hunt for sport, not to kill things. If I just want to shoot I'll shoot clays.

January 31, 2006, 06:13 AM
Hey Meek I spent some years in England and they dont do that, they rear em to feathered up and then turn them out wild, just providing enough food to keep them in the area. they push them with bird dogs and beaters from well back and those things can fly, up 50 - 100 ft high and going!

January 31, 2006, 04:41 PM
That is very unsportsman like and needs to be checked out by our federal game laws :D :D :D

roy reali
January 31, 2006, 10:57 PM
I do not intend to defend or blast these types of bird hunts. I do agree that fair chase hunting is the only real hunting. But most of you are not faced with our problems here.

Here in California, hunters have basically three choices of hunting locations. Private properties offer the best hunting opportunities in this state. All our decent land is owned by someone. It is also all posted. Trying to secure permission to hunt these lands is about as fruitfull as convincing a democrat that gun control doesn't work. A young man's best chances are to marry into a landowners family.

California does have some public hunting lands. However, we have millions of folks trying to get access to a limited number of acres. The odds are that a hunter will get shot before he shoots any game.

The third option in California are the bird clubs. Yes, there is not much of a challenge hunting these planted birds. A hunter could buy a hunting video game, and stay home and hope that satisfies his needs if he is offended by these types of hunts.

There are Californians that claim that hunting truly wild game is the only way to go. As a Californian myself, I challenge you to take me to one of those wonderful places with wild game running aplenty. In other words, show me the game!

February 1, 2006, 06:07 AM
I have never heard of shooting pigeons like this. Sort of like a hair spray cannon.

If I have a young bird dog and our grouse population is at a low point in the cycle I will take several trips to game farms. Sometimes I take a youngster along. A young hunter, two or four legged needs some action to keep the attention span short enough for training. I truly wish I lived in South Dakota for the pheasants or Arkansas for the ducks, but I am living in Upper Michigan and some of the preserves are a better value than a long trip.

February 7, 2006, 02:46 AM
Yes I probably do take my location for granted. I grew up in Nebraska, now I'm in Kansas. I have hunted on private land my whole hunting life. Nebraska has great pheasant populations. Much of the state is very expensive farm land. It is often so thoroughly farmed there is not much habitat throughout the corn belt.

I have had the best pheasant and prairie chicken hunts of my life in Kansas. Northern Kansas especially NW have unbelievable pheasant populations. I have bagged my limit (5) within 1 hour on several occasions. Before coming to KS I had never seen 30-50 birds flush at the end of one fence row, its a beautiful thing.

Chickens are abundant through out the Flint Hills and the southern 1/4 of KS. I live 30 miles from the self proclaimed "Prairie Chicken Capitol of the World".

With this type of "fair chase" hunting available I don't know why anyone would ranch hunt.

February 7, 2006, 06:26 AM
For some it has to do with time and money. I would not go to a plains state for a weekend of hunting birds. It is too far, I would need a week. Now figure a week of lost wages, tags and fees, lodging, tresspass fees, etc. I have two thousand dollars into it. (I work Union construction and get no paid vacation) I can take a young dog to a preserve for a couple of hundred a weekend all winter long. The dog will get the exposure to game he needs. In shorter time periods over a longer time frame. Preserves are a good value to me.

I live where there is good black bear hunting. I would not give you 10 bucks for a bear hunt. I do know there are many people who do pay big bucks to sit over a garbage pile and feed mosquitos. It really is about where you live and the game animals around you.

I ain't gonna shoot no hair spray cannon pigeons though.