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Notebook: Golden pheasant bird mane beak eyes quail wildfowl bird goose feather grouse partridge
Pheasant Hunting: Not as Easy as You'd Think
Who knew you could get outsmarted by a bird!!!
Pheasants are tricky buggers. My husband got outrun by one on foot in an open field just the other day. While his cursing was drowned out by the rest of us shouting, "Pop him! Blast his head off!" hey- it's not as easy as you would think to shoot a bird. Ideally, a flying bird is a greater target, and most every pheasant seems to know this because they won't flush. They just run their fool heads off, then hide. Then laugh at you from their hiding spot. Literally- pheasants chuckle. It sounds like an old lady guffawing.
Oh- and pheasants also like to flush right in your face. In true hunting spirit, we decided not to give up on finding the damn bird, and while my husband tromped through the russian olive trees the pheasant had trotted into, I wandered along the fence line, believing he had snuck out that way and kept on running. I was right- I got to another patch of weeds and the pheasant flew out directly in front of me (prompting me to duck and cover and shout, "Ohhhheeeeaaaggg...there he goes!"). Of course, he flew out over the river so we wouldn't shoot at him, then tucked into another cubby hole of trees.
We've actually managed to take one pheasant out. We weren't even hunting but driving to a work site. Since my husband always keeps a shotgun in his pickup just in case he sees one, the poor bugger didn't have a prayer when he darted across the road right in front of us. My husband flipped around, throwing me half across the pickup and banging my head against the window, and let out a war whoop. The chase was on!
By the time we got out of the pickup the pheasant had run into a field of cows, aiming for the canal and the cover of bushes there. I ran across the bridge where the canal was and systematically began tossing pebbles into the bushes to flush the pheasant out while my husband stalked the field in case he ran. We could hear the pheasant chuckling so he gave away his position, and the pebbles flushed him up. Boom- that bugger went straight down and I scrambled after him to retrieve the beautiful bird.
We had pheasant for dinner that night- after I plucked the feathers out for crafts and put the wings and head in the freezer for plucking later (they're still there- I need to get to that project sometime). I've never had pheasant before, and we cooked him in our George Foreman grill just like we'd cook chicken. But pheasant doesn't taste like chicken- it looks and tastes like pork. Kinda weird to see a bird that weird grey color, but slather it with BBQ sauce and it tastes pretty good.
We took our dog out pheasant hunting with us once to see if she would flush the birds out. Since my dog is about 20 pounds overweight and spoiled rotten and the hunt required work (plus, she hides whenever she sees a gun), she flushed out a few but they flushed out too far to shoot. Then she got bored and went sniffing elsewhere and ignored us on purpose. However, she did find another fine treasure- a baby deer that was hiding in the grass. We must have spooked away its mama when we went stalking through the grass. My dog excitedly yipped me over to the little bundle, and after checking the little guy over to make sure he wasn't injured, we let him be so his mama would come back to him.
Pheasant hunting on its own isn't the thrill- the excitement comes from just getting out of the house to begin with. Our hunting spree for deer yesterday didn't net a kill either, but we did get dive-bombed by an eagle while taking a nap on the cliffs. Now, you can't experience that while sitting at home watching TV.