Pheasant Hunt

We ventured out to western Michigan for a morning pheasant hunt this week. We began walking the fields on a family farm right as dawn burned away the dark and the temperature hovered around twenty five degrees. Which made the blued steel of our 12 gauge Remington feel like a frozen lead pipe in our hands. The tall grass and stalks of corn were covered in thick frost, until the sun melted the frozen coating into a pants-soaking film of dewey moisture.

It was a perfect fall Michigan morning for a hunt, the kind you might read about in Sports Afield or Grays Sporting Journal. Golden leaves on poplar trees dropped to the ground one after another after another, with not the slightest hint of wind at blame. Three dogs (two brittanys and a yellow lab), rambled and jumped and sniffed every thicket and briar. We had to put the lab in the truck when it became obvious she was going into heat- the two male britannys were beginning to lose focus on finding birds and just wanted to do the humpity humpity dance. Minutes later, all primal distractions removed and on the edge of a grassy slough, the spaniels pointed in unison and a pair of pheasants cackled and jumped. We shot at the first rooster but missed as he flew into the sun. The second bird hit the ground with a thud.

We walked another field and flushed two more cocks. All total, our combined harvest was three roosters. Not a bad day. It wouldn't have mattered if we had gotten skunked- coming away with a few birds is just the bonus. In a day or two, we'll cut the breast meat into thin strips and slice up jalepeno peppers and a red onion. We'll roll the pepper and onion slivers in the strips of pheasant meat and skewer with a toothpick. Then we'll cook the little rolls (this recipe would make a cat turd taste spicy and delicious) over charcoal and pan fry our last bag of Hen of the Woods mushrooms. We'll dip in ranch dressing and wash down with a Molson. Ain't a bad life.

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