I am not a good photographer and I don’t even enjoy taking pictures that much, but once in a while accidents happen and a picture becomes memorable.
Back in the 2008/2009 hunting season my friend Bob decided to start a pheasant hunting preserve in his property near Battle Creek, MI. He really wanted to have his own place to train his dogs and wanted to keep the preserve low profile and attendance was by invitation only, and as far as I know I was the first and last, if not the only, guest.
A major difference at Bob’s preserve is that although he would release both rooster and hens, he wanted only roosters to be shot to better represent real wild pheasant hunting. The hens would provide more opportunities for the dogs to work and Bob hopped that they would breed with rooster that would occasionally scape become the seed for future wild pheasants.
Unhappily the experience did not prove successful.
By the last day of the season Bob had a couple roosters left and asked me to come by and help him work the dogs.
Since released birds are slower and shot much closer than wild pheasants, I decided to take a small bore shotgun that I would probably never use otherwise. The little Browning Model 42 Grade VI that I bought from Dave Grosser was perfect to the job. The full choke should put the entire half once payload of the .410 shell on the birds or miss them completely.
After Bob planted the two lost roosters and a couple hens, he released his German short-hair Daisy and we followed her. First she pointed a hen, and we flushed it and watched her fly over the tall grass towards the tree line. Good luck!
Next was a rooster, and both I and Bob shot at him.
The last bird of the day was the last rooster. Daisy pointed and Bob flushed it. He started climbing and I shouldered the little pump gun and hit it on the head, and he tumbled.
Daisy retrieved the last bird of the season and we walked back to Bob’s front yard. He offered me a whisky and we spent the remaining of the afternoon enjoying the spring sun and talking about life. The amber liquid inside the glass was almost the same color as the setting sun.