© 2012 Aaron Atkinson

Badger Bird

We were 30 minutes into our second field of the day. Indie came over for a drink and I held my shotgun over my left shoulder while I squeezed a stream of water from the bottle I keep on the backside of my hunting vest. When she’d had enough, she scampered off to my right to resume her hunt.

As I was working to put the bottle back in it’s holder, I took a step forward and a big Kansas rooster burst into the sky and flew off to my left over an open pasture. As quickly as I could, I swung the shotgun over to my right shoulder and lined up a long shot. A few pellets found their mark and wing-broken, the bird rolled to a dusty stop in the pasture.

A moment later it sprang to it’s feet and sprinted towards the brushy fence line that bordered the field.

The dogs heard the shot and were already hot on the trail, but the pheasant had a 150 yard head start. While I never did see it, we chased that winged bird for nearly a quarter of a mile before Indie finally frozen in a high-tailed point in the midst of the brushy fence, some 75 yards in front of me. And then she disappeared.

When I finally got to her side, I saw why she had appeared to vanish. While she was still locked in a point, the front half of her body was wedged down a badger hole. When I pulled her out, she had a mouth full of feathers. I then peered down the hole and three feet in I saw the rooster’s long tail feathers betraying its hiding spot. I reached in, grabbed a leg and yanked out a very lively rooster.

That was a chase to remember!

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