Hunting Report for December 8, 2006
Many of you are not on my list of regular recipients of local fishing and hunting reports, which I try and publish on an irregular basis. This is the Holiday season, when many of us are often too busy to consider Nature and how we can best interact in harmony with that force. For those of you who find such activities distasteful, too bad.
I went hunting on Friday with Bob Carlson and Brian Rusaw in the Enchanted Kingdom section of the Inland Empire. We flushed 17 birds and got 15 of them - 8 pheasant and 7 chukar, which are a type of Hungarian partridge). We had a guide named Carl who had three champion German shorthair pointers. I brought Victor, my exquisitely good-looking Vizsla, which is a type of Hungarian pointing dog. They do not speak English, but can smell and point out a Hungarian in virtually any weather or terrain. Despite the language barrier, Victor learned a great deal from these other dogs. He ended up locating and holding perfect points on several birds that we transported into the food chain with minimal effort.
Normally, upland game birds are not considered dangerous game. They very seldom charge an alert hunter, yet they can pose threats to the sportsman in the field. Everyone in my party except my dog and I (and including the guide and his #1 dog) got shot. Not by me. We don't even know Dick Cheney, but that was no defense to this fusillade. This how it happened.
I had run off with my dog to chase an uncooperative chukar while the other hunters in our group took up positions in alignment with one of our shorthairs. This dog was holding on a pheasant hiding in a clump of bushes (why don't they just come out and fight us?). When our hunters were perfectly lined up, an ambush was sprung from behind when another undetected pheasant strafed in on their position while being tracked by shotgun barrels from an encroaching tribe of hunters. This clan felt it was best to shoot first and ask questions later (such as "I wonder what else I might hit if I pull the trigger right NOW as I am squinting at this low flying bird with my gun sight?") . They got my entire squad before I could work my way back.
There were two relatively young girls on white drugs whose job it was to skin and gut our birds for us, for a fee. They lived in a trailer without water or power on the property we were hunting. They worked over two large buckets - one full of guts and feathers, and the other full of bloody rinse water and cleaned birds. The property is surrounded by dairy land and the girls worked within an aggressive cloud of flies. They drove pickup trucks, were quite cheerful, and not nearly as ugly as one might expect, given their career path.
I don't like to waste anything when I go hunting, so I decided I would recycle the members of my hunting party who did not survive the attack from our neighboring hunters. I figured I would tip these two girls a little extra for the wet work and just invite more people than I had originally intended over for Sunday dinner. I smoked my companion's cigarettes and told my dog a couple of internet jokes while I waited around for them to die, but they all survived after I marinated them with beer.
I had to prepare a pheasant dinner for my neighbors on Sunday night, instead of the more exotic and substantial table fare that a more serious hunting accident would have afforded. I don't know if I could have found the right size serving platters or the correct wine anyway, so this probably worked out for the best. All of my guests, with very little prompting, assured me that it was excellent holiday fare. They seemed just as glad to eat and drink as they were to leave.
If I don't see any of you - enjoy the holidays.
Remember - an unloaded gun is really just a stick.
These are the days