© 2012 Aaron Atkinson

Man Down

Sometimes on slow hunting days we wish for just a little bit of luck to turn the day around. Most of the time we don’t get it, but sometimes we do… sort of.

Scott and I sandwiched Tracy on the tailgate of Nate’s pickup truck as he slowly drove us down his dusty farm road. Only Tracy carried his gun, as Scott and I held onto the collars of our bird dogs.

And then it happened. A rooster pheasant started crowing at us from the side of the road only a couple of feet from the truck. It took us all by such surprise that we needed a moment to process what we’d just seen. And then Tracy, in a moment of relatively clear thinking, jumped off of the back of the slow moving truck. His feet planted firmly into the dusty soil, but the rest of his body still had its 10 mph forward momentum, and he fell backyards and landed squarely on his butt and back.

He laid there for a moment in the road with his gun barrel pointed straight up in the sky. And then, to his credit, he sprung back up, loaded a shell, flushed the rooster and made a redeeming shot.

And after checking to make sure that he was okay, we all laughed until we cried.

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