A Hunting I Will Go

I don’t do it as much as I used to, but this coming Wednesday a hunting I will go.

A decade and more ago I used to go pheasant hunting fairly often. I’ve been to a number of the places around here that offer controlled pheasant hunts. Been to a couple of hunt clubs and have had the opportunity to do a few of the free upland game hunts on property that is set aside for that purpose.

In the last 9 years I think I’ve gone pheasant hunting 3 times. Two of those were on what are called cleanup days. You get to go for free on a few days after the season ends, but your chances of getting birds without a dog are next to nil.

This is controlled pheasant hunting. Birds are released the morning of the hunt. Not ideal, but around here you take what you can get.

Years ago I would go by myself on weekdays when everyone else had to work. Though I’ve never had a dog to hunt with, I never went home without a bird. I’m persistent and like I do with my fishing, I learn the nature of the beast. Where they lie, how and why they fly, what makes them jumpy and it seems to work.

One of the reasons I haven’t gone much in years is the cost. I had no choice but to go into austerity mode financially and my conscience won’t allow me to spend money frivolously when there are bills to be paid.

Though things aren’t great financially at the moment, they’re the best they’ve been in the past five years. To the point where I check my account and, well hell, look at that, a few extra bucks.

I have one vacation day left this year and had no clue what I was going to do with it. I still can’t get used to taking days off of work and they actually pay me to go away. My boss finds it humorous.

I decided to use that last vacation day to go pheasant hunting, but now there was the cost. Once you’re in austerity mode it’s a flat out bitch to think outside of it. I agonized for a week on whether to spend the few bucks it would take for the opportunity to try to shoot a few birds.

My wife finally chimed in…

“Will you just fucking go, you know you want to.”

That snapped me out of it, for the most part.

So Wednesday, the day has been taken off, I paid enough for the possibility of three birds and a hunting I will go.

I know the place where I’ll be going well. I spend a lot of time there wandering around. I know where the birds congregate, where the other hunters push them, I know which way the wind will be blowing that day and I know how to take advantage of how others around me are hunting.

Last week after shooting time ended I went for a walk at the state park. I hiked along a trail to a stretch I always thought looked birdie. I walked in noisily for about 20 feet, then stopped and didn’t make a sound.

A few seconds later a rooster blew up not twenty feet from me.

I could have hit it with a rock.

I still had the touch.

Now I have a decision to make. Do I use the 80 plus year old 12 gauge, no name, single shot, pipe on a stick that is deadly accurate and hurts like hell when you pull the trigger.

Or do I use the Remington Wingmaster Model 870 twenty gauge pump that’s an absolute joy to shoot.


I think I’ll bring both. I plan on being out there for quite some time since I have the time. Use one for part of the day, then switch.

I’m confident my shooting skills are still up to par.

We shall see.


8 thoughts on “A Hunting I Will Go

  1. Jim McClellan

    Go get ’em, Ken. Personally, I’d go with the 20 gauge. If you do miss, you can always say, “Well, I wasn’t using my 12 gauge.”

    1. Ken G Post author

      That’s what I was thinking Jim.

      I will have to get the old guy out for a walk in the field for an hour though. He needs some fresh air and hopefully will get a bird. When I put him back in the cabinet with all the young whipper snappers he can sit there chuckling and mumbling… I got me one…

  2. Chuck from Lunkerbusters Fishing Club

    If ever you’re considering goin pheasant hunting with another- give me a consideration . The reasons you gave for not going much are the same as me/mine . I’m a bit particular as to who I’d go with but since we have fished together before (you club members at Indian Trail & you my son kinda at the canoe launch near Orchard Rd.)– a couple years ago. Give it some thought Ken.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I will give that some thought Chuck. Would be nice to go again this year. I have to see if the financial gods are good to me next month. I can’t go on January 8th, the first day of clean up, but I am thinking about going on the 9th. I see birds fly off in the distance, but never get close to them on those days. Just another excuse to go wandering around really.

      I forgot how generous some hunters can be. After shooting hours, others come out to wander around. Ran into one last week that was giving his dog a brief run. He said if I come out the day after Thanksgiving I could walk the fields with him and his dog. Before I could decide, all the slots were gone for that day. The internet is changing how guys decide to go. I kept checking the 10 day forecast for Wednesday and it looked good. Others must have been doing the same. In a week and a half the remaining 30 or so slots all disappeared.

  3. walt

    Have fun on your day off, Ken. I, too, love pheasants, seeing them around occasionally– damn few in these forested regions– and I remember a couple of great hunts on opening day in South Dakota, back when I lived on the plains. Got my limit of 3 in the first hour. I’d go with the 20 gauge, but I understand, the 12 needs to kick out the jams and dust itself off, too.

  4. Ken G Post author

    I am going to make a day of it Walt. Shooting time starts at 9 and ends at 4. Factor in a half hour to shut my eyes for a bit mid day. There’s a certain pleasure in hauling around that big ‘ol thing. A very distinctive clink when you close it and one hell of a bass thunk when ejecting an empty shell. I’ll just have to make sure I have enough padding on that right shoulder if I do get the chance to pull the trigger.

    Some day I’d like to head to a place where they run wild rather than planted.

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