“I was shopping for shells for sporting clays, at Reliable Gun and Tackle, when I happened to see a flyer for pheasant shooting at Big Bar B.C. As our province is not an easy place to find wild pheasants, I was intrigued. I emailed the address and Charlie Squarey immediately replied with information about the area to be hunted as well as costs, pointer dogs and accommodation. I told my son-in-law and his friend about this venture and we started to plan, which is always difficult when several working people are involved. In the end, as timing could not be agreed upon, Gary and I decided to go on our own Thanksgiving weekend. As excitement mounted, we kept an eye on the forecast and would you know it, we learned, that snow fell in the high country! Charlie emailed us to bring warm clothing. As the appointed day arrived, we set off from Vancouver about 8a.m. and battled our way out of town through heavy traffic. Plain sailing after that, until we passed the little town of Clinton and got onto 36km of unsealed road, that was cleaned of snow, but snow was on either side in the forest cover and farming land. We arrived at the Big Bar Guest Ranch in under six hours, in clear sunny weather. Charlie was there to welcome us and showed us into the very attractive rented log cabin and after reading us the rules and regulations of the ranch, he left us with a rough map to find his land and abode, telling us, that he will let us “warm up” for our hunt for the next two days by hunting his land with his dogs, Maggie and Clyde both German Short hairs. Quickly we threw on our hunting clothing and boots and after a bit of meandering we found the place.
The dogs were a wonder: they went on point after a short walk through good cover and as we flushed the pheasant cock, I shot the first one and it was retrieved immediately and presented to Charlie. As we walked through the narrow valley, four more birds were pointed and flushed – we missed one. The birds were explosive and flew like rockets, – most delightful.
Next morning, we were joined by Gil and his dog Duke, a friend of Charlie and they took us up into the high country, through some forest and grazing cattle land. The plateau, gently rolling, surrounded by mountains with snowy peaks was breathtakingly beautiful! The cover, high grasses and native flora had been flattened a bit by the recent snow giving ample hiding place for the birds and incidentally not a walk as on a golf course! This time Gary had the first point and flush and dropped him nicely. As the morning wore on, we had ten or more classic points by one of the far-ranging dogs, that was usually honored by the other dogs. Sometimes it took a couple or more minutes to get to the dogs and the points, and there was no rush to get there, the birds were holding. We broke for a bit of rest and a bite to eat, resting the dogs as well. In the afternoon we walked several more kilometers and greatly enjoyed the work of the dogs, the flushing of the pheasants, the direction of which was almost never predictable. At one point one of the birds flushed straight at me, then over my head! The day ended with twenty-two pheasants shot and retrieved. We drove back to the ranch and had a well-deserved drink but then there was the chore of cleaning and preparing the birds.
It rained over night and it was a bit dark and brooding in the morning, I put on my gumboots. The high plateau was the same, but more with a fall ambiance. There was a bit of drizzle now and then, but the hunt proceeded as before. The dogs were marvelous, the birds challenging. Gary pulled down a thirty yarder from over head, that I have missed, and I returned the favor by hitting a crosser at about thirty-five yards. It flew on a bit, then went straight up high and then dropped to the ground. We ended up with a bag of eighteen. Again, we spent an hour cleaning and prepping then a nice steak barbecued on our porch. Afterwards we reflected on the past two days and resolved, that God willing we will do it again with a bit of luck, next year.”