A limit of pheasants taken with the Beretta 470.
Notice that only 3 shells were needed. Three birds with three shots was an aberration, here is what happened.
Exactly one week before our annual North Dakota pheasant hunt I was forced to attend a company team building event. One of those bogus corporate outings that required feigned camaraderie and forced fun with people I didn’t really know or even like. The final challenge was riding a zip line across a stream, ringing a bell and then being pulled back by my teammates – all while being blindfolded. Since I couldn’t see a damn thing, when I hit the bank on the other side of the creek my ankle hit the dirt askew and promptly folded. One week to go and I am on crutches with a severe sprain, black and blue from my toes to my knee. I love working for the man.
A week later in the hunting field I was not able to travel across the uneven terrain without significant discomfort – unless I moved methodically, carefully and slow. Since I couldn’t keep up I was relegated to the role of “blocker”. If you don’t know, a blocker is the guy that stands at the end of a field while your pals move toward you pushing through the field from the other end. The idea is that the blocker keeps the birds from spilling out of the end of the field and is in the perfect position to intercept the birds being pushed by the hunters on the move. Sometimes that works but more often you watch hordes of birds fly every way except your way as you listen to the distant pops of your pals filling their bags.
The first morning we hunted a long creek bed, one that historically produces an amazing number of birds. I was stationed at the end and it would take 30 or 40 minutes for the guys to push through. With nothing to do I thought to move down the creek bed. Without a dog or anyone to holler at and in my debilitated condition, I moved slow and quiet. I hadn’t gone very far when in the brush just ahead I saw the nervous, jerking movement of pheasant heads. I froze and then slowly closed on the brush. At about 20 yards a cock flushed and was shot. At the report another cock made a break and was felled with the left barrel. A quick reload and then a few steps further the final bird flew. A limit with three shots in a matter of minutes. Unbelievable. I collected the birds, hobbled back to my post and snapped the picture above.
I think this demonstrates that, other than being very lucky that morning, a bit more stealth and taking your time will produce more birds. But I, and the fellows I hunt with, are all easy-going, fun-loving souls who are not really focused on the art of efficient killing. Lots of chatter, hearty laughter, letting the dogs range a bit too far, going too fast, yelling the occasional obscenity – I am certain we walk over a lot of patient, cunning game. But that’s OK. We are out there to have fun, the body count is not that important. We leave the serious shit back at the office.
If you have followed this blog you probably noticed that I like to blend color with black and white. This is super easy to do with Nikon’s Capture NX software and makes me appear to be a creative, artful guy when in fact I am not. But here are my favorites so far – Colorado Sage Grouse, Texas Bob White Quail and the 3 North Dakota Pheasants.
Here they are framed up . .
. . . looks damn good in my office.
EEWWW, are those DEAD BIRDS!?! That is NOT OK! The HR lady will be down to speak with you shortly.