Pheasant hunters hit their mark

The last weekend of October, put another feather in Cory Gudmonson’s hunting cap. For the 10th year in a row, he has headed up a great weekend for family and friends.
Every opening weekend of pheasant hunting season, Cory,  New Ulm, Minn., invites a group of guys to come and gather at the home of his parents, Duane and Judy, Lake Mills; Cory’s childhood home.
His father-in-law, Brian Hall, New Ulm, and Hall’s cousins, Greg Pauly (Springville), Roger Pauly  (Marion), and Russ Pauly (Alba), and friends, Tom Martinka (New Ulm), Casey Martin and Kevin Martin (Mount Vernon), Don Blok (Ankeny), and Darin Wickman, Pat Vorgason and Kevin McMurrin (all of Alburnett), participated in this year’s adventure.
“When I was younger,” Cory said, “I got into hunting with my dad and a friend, Dave Erikson, who mentored me. They taught me how to shoot, persue, and clean deer and pheasant; very important skills in hunting.”
In the 10 years of this gathering, Cory estimates that they have taken  between 300 to 500 birds. Pheasants are one of the most beautiful birds, he believes, and quoted that that the pheasant is not indigenous to the U.S., but Asia.
“Hunting is not about how many birds we take,” he said. For Cory, it goes much deeper. “It’s about the physical and mental challenge—it’s good exercise walking; connecting with family and friends—the food, fire, and fellowship; the excitement of seeing birds, deer and other wildlife. It’s also about the freedom you feel between you and nature (no busy traffic noise or cars vying for your attention)—the freedom from work and busy schedules—it’s relaxing.” Cory enjoys the smells of wet dogs, musty clothing, fresh coffee in the morning, their Saturday night steak dinner and other food smells, and the smell of gunfire when shooting. He enjoys the sounds of the crackling of the fire, the crowing of roosters in the morning, the discharging of the gun, the grass crunching under foot, the slosh of water in marshy areas and snapping of twigs and branches, and the wind whipping around him.
Everyone arrives on Friday evening to a supper main dish that Cory’s mom prepares, and they all bring  something to the spread. They either camp, stay in the Gudmonson house, or find other accomodations.
“I just get the house ready, and have supper ready for them on Friday evening.  Duane and I enjoy the hunting weekends too and have a great time visiting with everybody,” said Judy.
The actual hunt commences at 8 a.m. and usually lasts all day until 4:30 p.m. on Saturday (although they do take advantage of several breaks during the day). Next, they get ready to treat Duane and Judy to a steak dinner every year, and culminate the evening with a long campfire, jokes, stories and memories. Sunday follows pretty much the same timeline.
“We joke that we are ‘pheasant preservationists’ because we shoot at birds, but we miss a lot sometimes and they get away. Lol.”
One thing that is taken very seriously, is respect of the land. The group  cleans up wherever they go—picking up garbage in and around the hunting areas, making sure to leave it as clean as it was before they arrived, or better than when they came. They all share a love of the land.
Saturday’s and Sunday’s bird count number was 18. This year, Cory took a few days extra to hunt. He hopes to add to that number with the help of his hunting dog, Ace.
“I grew up here. I love reminiscing about being a kid, the family and friends that are now passed. The memories flooding my mind. Hunting is a way for me to stay connected to these very important values.”

Lake Mills Graphic

204 N. Mill Street
Lake Mills, IA 50450

Office Number: (641) 592-4222
Fax Number: (641) 592-6397

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