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Finding pheasants through the cold

Alexandria’s Jeff Dewanz sheds a smile through the cold as he shows off six roosters that he and college friend Jeff Schelhaas bagged for a two-person limit near Pipestone on December 7. (Contributed)

Alexandria’s Jeff Dewanz and his longtime college buddy Jeff Schelhaas of Pipestone are proof that some of the most memorable hunts come in the most miserable conditions.

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Dewanz and Schelhaas, along with their yellow labs Maggie and Molly, were hunting private land six miles west of Pipestone on the morning of December 7. They bundled up and battled through 15-below zero degree temperatures to bag the two-person limit with the Minnesota limit changing from two to three from December 1 through January 1.

“We walked two types of cover,” Dewanz said. “One was a large stand of bluestem in his CRP, which yielded three of the birds. The birds sat very tightly in the 7-8 inches of snow. Both dogs are very tight-working. The fun part was when we got to the cedar trees.”

Dewanz and Schelhaas worked their way to a tightly-planted line of cedars where they picked up the final three birds for their limit.

“Quite a few more flushed wildly out ahead,” Dewanz said. “What we found was to walk very slowly and stop every once in a while to let the birds get nervous to flush. The birds were sitting super tight underneath these cedar trees until a dog flushed them or they got nervous enough to flush on their own. We actually walked past quite a few birds until we figured out they weren’t in the weeds around the trees, but actually in the trees hiding underneath.”

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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