© 2011 Aaron Atkinson

Heavy to Hit, Heavy to Miss

Fifteen minutes into the field, Indie froze to a point at the base of a frosty plum thicket. Shotgun at the ready I walked in, anticipating the flush. It didn’t come. I kicked the grass, trying to induce the lurking bird into flight. Nothing. But Indie didn’t move. There was a bird nearby. I took a step backwards and the hiding rooster flushed behind me. I spun and took a quick shot before his flight pattern put a house on his far side. Missing, I waited until he passed the house and squeezed off second round at 50 yards. I missed again.

Flustered, I reloaded my gun as I took a step forward. At that moment a second rooster took flight and gave me an easy quartering away shot. Panicked, I scrambled to shoulder my gun and only managed to cut a few feathers before he escaped across the road to my right.

All I could do was shake my head and smile. Pheasants rarely come that easily, and I knew that the miles ahead would provide ample opportunity to relive my misses.

About half way through mile number four, a rooster flushed wild in front of my hunting buddy. Hunting the edge of the field, I was cheating a dozen yards ahead, anticipating this rogue flush. Scott squeezed off a hail-Mary shot and missed. Focused on evading the threat to my right, the escaping rooster unknowingly presented me with a 25 yard right to left crossing shot. Calmly, I swung through his beak and put an end to his escape. After pausing for a moment to admire his crimson and yellow belly feathers, I slid him into my vest.

At the end of the field and with only one mile to go back to the truck, Scott noted the tail feathers protruding from my vest. He smiled and asked, “It’s been a long walk this morning. Is the weight of that bird starting to feel heavy in your vest?”

I smiled back, “It’s not nearly as heavy as the weight of those two I missed.”

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