Our state stocked pheasants today, in preparation for the season that opens this coming Saturday. For the last few days I’ve been working with a friend’s five-month-old German shorthaired pointer, and, because we had easy access to the area where some of the pheasants were stocked, I decided to take the young dog over there, along with my two German wirehaired pointers.
We poked around the woods a bit, and then I led the dogs to the spot where the pheasants had been released every year for as long as I’ve been around. Sure enough, as we approached one of the pheasants let out a squawk and my oldest dog, the one that is supposed to be a hundred percent steady and reliable, bolted for the bushes and flushed the bird upward.
The poor bird barely could fly, but did manage to land in a tree about twenty feet above the ground. All three dogs were very excited as they inhaled the scent and zigzagged all over the place where the bird had been.
On the way home the younger wirehair pointed into to a tangle of thorns. Then the older wire honored. The shorthair pup sort of poked around the edges of the thicket, trying to figure out this puzzle. The demeanor of the two older dogs told me the pheasant was walking, and soon both of them re-located on the far side of the mess. Then I spotted the pheasant sneaking out from under the brush and heading my direction. It froze when it saw me, sort of hunkering down in the leaves.
I called the young shorthair and she circled around the thorn-pile the long way, then came straight toward me with the pheasant between us. Coming around a tree trunk the pup almost ran into the bird.
I’m sure the pheasant was as surprised as the dog, and the dog certainly hadn’t ever seen a bird that big, nor one dressed like a clown before. That bird didn’t fly much better than the previous one and if the tail had been longer I’m sure the pup would have snagged some feathers. It too landed in a tree, that time not much higher than a dog could jump.
Not much sport was presented by those birds.