A Pheasant Morning

by Fat Daddy, Esq. on December 11, 2010

This morning I braved the crisp, December weather to go for a walk, with some dogs, and a gun. Today my friend and I were hunting pheasant.  This was the first time of the season that I ventured out for a hunt and the first time I had ever hunted pheasant. It is a good thing that we were not hunting the broad-side-of-a-barn as my shooting was a bit rusty and I could not have hit it. My friend was a much better shot and I did end up bagging a few myself by the end of the hunt.

The pheasant is a beautiful bird with many multi-colored feathers. The males have a white ring around their neck below their green, blue and red heads and have various shades of green, purple, turquoise, tan and brown feathers on its body. The females are much more muted colors of tan and brown. It is also a big bird (2 1/2 to 3 pounds) and flies fast (38 to 48 miles per hour, much faster than an unladen swallow).

Aside from the birds and the fresh air, one of the best parts of the hunt is watching well-trained dogs work. For the more urban among us, the dogs zig zag through the field sniffing the air for the scent of the birds, you know, kind of like a drug dog but substitute pheasant for marijuana. When the dog finds the bird or birds, the dog seems to put on a serious I’m-going-to-kick-your-ass face and crouches its stiffened body in the direction of the bird with an outstretched, pointing tail. We had three dogs in the field and it was amazing to watch them work together. In the picture above, the dog in the foreground is not pointing. He is “honoring” the dog on point further ahead and standing still so as not to cause the bird to flush prematurely. Next comes the fun part.

The birds tended to stay put until we walked right up on them, and then with a great deal of cackling and wing flapping they would spring into the sky and try to get away. A shotgun quickly locks-in on a bird, the trigger is pulled, lead starts flying. Then cussing and head scratching ensues, at least for me. If the shot is successful, the feathers fly and the bird tumbles to the field. The dogs spring into action again, pounce on the bird and return it to the shooter. Then the pursuit begins again.

On a fitness note, I walked my butt off today. Up and down hills, through tall grass and brush thickets, for hours. It is something I probably would not want to do if it were not for the friends and the guns and the dogs and the birds. But because of those things, it was a blast.

Images, which could be better, were taken with my iPhone

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