An early birthday celebration on the pheasant opener

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Zach Burnette, of Cass City, admires the rooster he shot on Michigan’s pheasant opener, two days shy of his 14th birthday. (Photo by Bill Parker)

Do not blame Zach Burnette for celebrating a tiny bit, a couple days shy of his 14th birthday.

The 13-year-old Cass City resident was all smiles when I caught up with him at lunch on opening day of pheasant season 2019 in the Thumb. About an hour or so earlier Zach had produced a good shot on a quartering pheasant and dropped the bird along the edge of a field thick with large bluestem and an assortment of other prairie grasses. MON Field Editor Steve Griffin’s young Brittany Beanbag was nearby, produced an admirable retrieve, and Zach’s 1st wild Michigan rooster was in the vest.

Zach and his dad, Don, had been portion of about a dozen hunters and a half dozen bird dogs who gathered at Tom Lounsbury’s  100-acre loved ones farm in Cass City for opening-day festivities.

Cool temperatures in the low 40s greeted us as the sun started to rise in a partly cloudy sky and it didn’t take lengthy for the lead to commence to fly.

We’d broken up into two groups to function back-to-back fields. The group in the south field had the 1st flush and promptly dropped a rooster.

The action was steady for the subsequent couple of hours as we took turns flushing birds – shooting at some and killing a handful of.

About mid-morning, with a bluebird sky above, I heard a person shoot down at the east finish of our field.  I instantly believed to myself, ‘Boy, I hope that was Zach.” I was glad to understand that it was.

Our host has been planting his loved ones farm strictly for pheasants for the far better portion of two decades. With help and guidance via Farm Bill applications, federal funding is secured and native prairie plants and grasses are planted and/or managed every single year. Turkeys, rabbits and whitetails also thrive in the thick vegetation along with an assortment of songbirds.

Tom has in no way stocked pheasants on the home, but year in and year out wild pheasants are plentiful.

We gathered back at the residence and topped off the morning with a pot of Ginny Lounsbury’s scrumptious homemade chili, sandwiches, cider and homemade molasses cookies. When we compared notes, we realized  we’d combined to flush 12 roosters and 11 hens and place 4 roosters in the bag.

Not a undesirable commence to the season!

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