Hunting Pheasants

Today was supposed to be very warm, and it was. More humid than sunny, but good enough for getting on with cutting the grass, tidying the garden, and for washing to dry on the line. So, the morning was busy, and Ollie decided to forego his normal extended sleep, and joined me outside. He likes to stand exactly where I need him not to be, as I always worry that he will fall foul of the powerful rotary blade on the Flymo. As a result, he is constantly on the move, wearing himself out with continuous pacing, stopping occasionally to nibble the longer pieces of grass that I haven’t got to just yet. Once the grass was cut front and back, it was time to sweep up, and clear up all the small cuttings that were flung around by the hover action. This bores Ollie, so he wanders around looking sorry for himself, and sometimes brings me a toy, in the hope that I will abandon my sweeping to play with him.

When it was time to put the rotary drier back in place, and hang out the washing, he was rushing around, pretending that I was chasing him, even though it was obvious that I wasn’t. When I went back inside, he thought it must surely be time to get out and about. But of course it wasn’t, as I had to have a bath, and get changed ready for the walk.

By 2 pm, he was raring to go, and as I picked up my keys and his lead, he turned in circles, unable to contain his excitement any longer. Once over at Beetley Meadows, the warm air and prospect of meeting other dogs set him into more mad running, and he dashed back and forth, searching for any of his playmates who might be in the area. But we were alone, so I headed off over to Hoe Rough, to give him more to explore.

I have never hunted animals. I have fired various guns in my time (at gun clubs) but never at anything living. I have no problem with hunting to survive, as is necessary in remote areas of the world, though I have always been uneasy about hunting for ‘sport’. Since moving to Norfolk, I have seen many examples of birds being shot. Locally, next to the plum orchard, there is a well-established game shoot, and local farmers will also shoot wood pigeons and crows, to keep them from the crops. I have no desire to join in with these rural pursuits, or to own a shotgun, as many do here.

As you know, Ollie is a Shar-Pei, not a breed known for hunting game. They were originally bred in China as fighting dogs, to be wagered on by gamblers. Perhaps because he has only ever known life in Norfolk, Ollie has decided to buck the trend. Over at Hoe Rough today, he suddenly rushed into the scrub grass, and seconds later, a large male pheasant took off, shrieking noisily. The bird’s magnificent plumage stood out from the plain grass, like a stained-glass window against the drab interior of an old church. Ollie continued to zig-zag, and soon more birds were taking off, all pheasants. In the space of ten minutes, he had ‘put up’ five male pheasants, and four female birds. Only the sound of other dogs splashing in the river diverted him from his bird-hunting.

He has obviously missed his canine vocation. Now, where’s that shotgun?

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21 thoughts on “Hunting Pheasants

  1. On various occasions during my youth, I went bird hunting (quail mostly). I once shot a pheasant in a field in Kansas with an old 12-gauge side by side shotgun, but apparently only wounded it. After it plummeted back to earth, it used ground cover to get away. Most likely, it later died. My father was an avid hunter all his life. Although I readily accepted invitations to join him on some of his trips, and was a pretty good shot, I never developed a passion for the sport. I’d rather shoot birds and animals with a camera.

    Based on this and previous blog posts, it would seem Ollie loves the chase, and that birds intrigue him immensely. By the way, any sign of moles this year?

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    1. We try not to think about moles David…
      I appreciate that hunting is a very different culture in the USA. At least you eat what you shoot. (I trust…) Except that one of course!
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. I love it when you write about Ollie because I can imagine his size while he is busy romping in your garden and scaring those pheasants off. What a lovely tale of a wonderful pet πŸ™‚

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  3. What a delightful post, and I can almost see Ollie jumping about with each pheasant he convinced to fly. Then there’s you… wide eyed looking upward at the beauty of these creatures, probably wondering to yourself how on earth can anyone shoot these wonderful birds.. hum… or not.. just a ponder on my part over here in Canada on a rainy day..

    Take care and have a peaceful weekend across the pond, from Laura !

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    1. Thanks Laura. I wouldn’t want to shoot them myself, but have to admit to a fondness for eating them, after someone else has killed them! (Like most meat really- a dilemma…)
      Glad you enjoyed it. Storms forecast here, we might be joining you with that rain.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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