November 20, 2007
By Lowell Washburn
Rick Seume admires a rooster pheasant bagged in north Iowa on
Monday. Seume, a chemistry and biology teacher at the Webster,
Wisconsin high school, has been pursuing Iowa roosters for the past
Rick Seume has a hectic schedule. On week days you'll find him
standing at the front of a classroom, teaching chemistry or biology
to students of the Webster, Wisconsin high school.
But if anyone wants to touch base with Seume on a Saturday morning,
they'll most likely have to travel to the tawny bird covers of
northern Iowa. That's where this Wisconsin school teacher spends his
fall and winter weekends, carefully following the nose of a well
trained bird dog in quest of the ever popular, ever elusive rooster
Ask him how the bird hunting is going this season, and Seume nearly
explodes with enthusiasm.
"The habitat is in really great shape this fall and, so far, I'm
finding about the same number of birds as last year which is really
good," says Sueme.
"I've been coming down to Iowa for twelve years now and have gotten
to know a lot of farmers. Getting permission to hunt hasn't been a
problem and the people are really great. Over the years, I've gotten
to know some of the local farmers pretty well and have become good
friends with many of them. To me, that's great."
Although Seume spends a good part of the early season tromping
private lands, his attentions may turn toward public areas as winter
"Iowa's public lands are incredible," says Seume. "The habitat is
good. There's room to do all the walking you want, and we always
seem to see a lot of birds. I keep coming down [to Iowa] for the
entire season and it usually seems to get better and better the
later you go. Hunting pressure usually goes way down and the birds
really pack into the thick [public] areas once the weather gets
When I crossed trails with Seume early Monday morning, he had just
finished walking a fog bound chunk of low lying private grassland
north of Clear Lake. As is normally the case in foggy weather, the
birds were skittish with several pheasants flushing wild. One
rooster, however, had made the fatal mistake of sitting too tight
for too long.
Seume admired the plump bird's plumage as he slowly and respectfully
rolled it in his hand. The day was young. One rooster down. Two to
"The pheasant hunting down here is really spectacular," said Seume.
"We're starting to get better [pheasant] numbers back home, but it
will never be anything like you have down here [in Iowa]."
So how did a Wisconsin high school teacher get to hunt ring-necked
pheasants in Iowa on a Monday morning? The answer was simple.
"Actually, I'm on vacation for the whole week," grinned Seume. "The
Wisconsin deer season opened last Saturday and everything ----
including the public schools ---- just shut down for the entire