© 2011 Aaron Atkinson

Field of Dreams

There is a pheasant field in the middle of Kansas that I have both dreams and nightmares about. This particular piece of bird heaven is one mile long by a half mile wide. It has terraces, draws, hills, ponds and is 320 acres of the birdiest, tall grass property that we hunt. Even though it’s open to public hunting and gets a tremendous amount of pressure from bird hunters like us, it’s big enough that most sane hunters only hunt and edge or two before opting for a more modest field. For this reason, it always seems to hold a few roosters for us to chase. This is the dream.

The nightmare manifests itself because we are not the aforementioned sane hunters. When we leave the truck to hunt this field, we don’t see the truck again for a half a day. It’s pretty easy to calculate how far we walk when we walk a mile down, shift over a few hundred yards, walk a mile back and repeat. Trudging five or six miles behind birdy dogs, up and down rolling hills, and through chest high grass, induces enough fatigue and pain to make me question the rationality of the pursuit.

But then frantic dog tails lock stiffly into points, birds erupt, the shotgun barks, and another December Kansas rooster falls in a brilliant puff of feathers. And for a few adrenaline-induced moments, trudging feels more like gliding.



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