By Mike Roux
Wow! It’s cold! I hate to overstate the obvious, but the temps since Christmas have been nothing less than mind numbing, not to mention fingers and toes. But these conditions do not seem to hinder the outdoor activities of those us who love to hunt in the winter. So it was this past week for me and some great friends who also happen to be amazing FCA OUTDOOR MINISTRY supporters.
Just before Christmas good friend Dwain Lewey invited J.D. Stevenson and me to join him on a winter bird hunt. He also invited good friend and bird dog trainer David Jenkins of Double D Kennels in Raymond, IL to guide our hunt. David’s son Will and nephew Devon rounded out our group.
Dwain’s plan for all of us was to meet at WILD RURAL PARK just west of Waggoner, IL. This hunting preserve is owned and operated by IDNR Director Wayne Rosenthal. This is a 5-star hunting operation and I highly recommend it as a way to lengthen your hunting season.
I had accompanied Dwain to this location a couple of years ago and then met David Jenkins and got to hunt over his working bird dogs. It was a great hunt in most part due to the men and dogs of Double D Kennels.
Jenkins has been raising and training bird dogs since 1997. He prefers pointers and setters but has trained just about every bird dog variety there is. He raises his own pups and then sells them as broke dogs, ready to hunt. Having great breeding and training facilities makes Double D Kennels central Illinois’ top bird dog operation.
We started the day in the WILD RURAL PARK club house by the wood stove and over a bowl of piping hot chili. The atmosphere there is second to none and really gets you in the mood to hunt. As soon as our entire group arrived we bundled up and headed out. It was about 20-degrees with nice north breeze. It was 1pm.
David brought 5 bird dogs that he would rotate during the afternoon hunt. I cannot remember all the dog’s names but I do remember one of the setters was called Jim. I liked Jim. He was hard worker and had a great nose. But all of David’s dogs did a great job.
We were in the field less than five minutes when we got the first point. There are few things in the field that are as impressive as a pointing dog with 2 other dogs backing it up. As David flushed the birds, one peeled off to Dwain and the other to JD. It was a really good start.
On this hunt we were shooting both bobwhite quail and chukar. The chukar are just a bit larger that the quail and both are excellent table fare. We were all hoping for enough birds and enough luck to get a couple of good meals out of this trip. I knew the birds were there and I knew the dogs would do their job. The only variable was our shooting.
It did my heart good to have Dwain set up this bird hunt on behalf of FCA OUTDOOR MINISTRY. Having donors who support this ministry with their prayers, finances and time is a true blessing. J.D. Stevenson too actively supports FCA OUTDOORS and I found out during the hunt that Will Jenkins is active in FCA in his school. God is blessing this ministry and lives are being touched.
As we continued to hunt between milo and foxtail the dogs covered the area like four-legged vacuum cleaners. Point after point and shot after shot made the hunt a blast. (no pun intended) I must say, on behalf of all the shooters, there were some really good shots and then there was lots of lead in the air that never cut a feather. But that is how it goes on a bird with guys who get to do this only once or twice a year.
At the end of the day we managed to put 10 quail, 19 chukar and a bonus pheasant in the bag. Upon returning to the club house Rosenthal’s staff was ready and waiting to dress and clean our birds as we sat around the fire to thaw out.
This afternoon bird hunt was wonderful. The dog work was awesome to watch. But the very best part of this day was the fellowship that was shared by group of guys whose ages varied from a young teenager to a man near 70. The friendships and relationships built in the field will long outlast the birds, the dogs and warmth of the fire. God is Good!
For more information on WILD RURAL PARK and their bird hunting call 217-785-8129. And do not worry if you want to hunt birds there but do not have a dog. That’s where guide Dave Jenkins comes in. To get in touch with David Jenkins at Double D Kennels call 217-254-9807. You will be glad you made both calls.
To learn how join the FCA OUTDOOR TEAM follow us on Facebook at FCA Outdoors Midwest. Check out our web site at www.fcaoutdoorsmidwest.com.
Mike Roux is the Midwest Regional Director of Outdoor Ministry for the
FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIAN ATHLETES. About a year ago Mike partnered his 25-year old personal outdoor ministry with FCA and the first ever Regional FCA Outdoor Ministry was launched. To learn more about FCA Outdoors and to join the Team, follow them on FB at FCA OUTDOORS MIDWEST and/or on their web site www.fcaoutdoorsmidwest.com.