On the first day of winter, I had hands down a great pheasant hunt. My brother, my friend Spencer, and I headed out on Saturday morning to a frozen tundra of high grass and swamp. About 15 minutes into our hunt, Daisy busted a covey of birds, and out came a handsome cockbird right at Spencer, he nailed it, and then all the hens in the harem started running and flying. What happened next was a flurry of activity. All told, five hens took flight, and we knocked down four. The air was full of feathers. We quickly found three dead birds but could not account for the fourth. Daisy took off trailing one of the hens that had run. She soon made a beautiful flush, and I killed it mid air on my second shot (sometimes my best shot). So, we had five birds, one shy of our bag limit.
About a half hour later, Daisy got two more birds running in a hedge row. We were trying to save the last flush for my brother. I had already shot two and so had Spencer, so it would be nice if my brother could get his second bird.
Well, we had no idea there were two birds. We were watching one run back and forth, sometimes headed the other direction past Daisy, which was sort of comical. It eventually flushed on Spencer's side, but he missed. Meanwhile, Daisy kept bawling at the other end of the hedgerow. We thought she was trailing the bird that had flushed. But, we were wrong. She had been trailing a different hen the entire time. We hustled down to her just in time, and our beloved beagle flushed the bird directly at my brother, and he killed it with his second shot from the hip, aiming directly up.
Done! It was kind of neat walking out by 9 a.m. with six birds. It was a fine morning!
There was plenty of pheasant for Christmas Eve dinner at our house which happened to be full of people, about 30 all told. I barbequed the breasts and legs in a thick sauce straight from the store bought bottle and it was all heartily devoured right out of the simmering slow cooker.