There is a special kind of excitement that only comes while pheasant hunting.
I don’t know what it is, but just thinking about it seems to set my heart racing.
Take a moment, if you will, to imagine a quiet, clear November morning near the river bottoms… You’re slogging through an icy swamp with a heavy old shotgun in your hands. The cattails stretch high above your head — and the cold, muddy water is rippling around your knees, pouring in over the top of your boots.
Sure, you’re cold and wet. And yes, the water has kind of a nasty, skunky, sulfur-y smell about it.
But the views around you are absolutely breathtaking!
And really, you’re not paying much attention to the cold or the wet or the smell anyway — because you’re too focused on your dog instead.
He’s darting this way and that, splashing through the cattails. His tail is wagging 100 miles an hour, and you can tell by the look in his eyes that he is having the time of his life.
Suddenly, however, the dog catches a scent on the wind, spins 180 degrees, and totally locks up. His entire body is stiff as a board.
He’s on point!
With your heart pounding, you tighten your grip on your shotgun and start fingering the safety as you slowly wade over to your dog.
He’s staring intently at a small patch of bulrushes, and you strain your eyes to try and see what he’s looking at — but it’s clear, there’s nothing there but weeds.
And then the wings start flapping…
Out of nowhere appears a beautiful rooster pheasant. His bright plumage glows in the morning sunlight, and you briefly wonder how in the world he was able to hide, given all those bright and shiny colors.
There’s no time for thinking though.
The peace and quiet of the river bottoms suddenly erupts with the sound of your shotgun, and the intoxicating aroma of gunsmoke fills the air.
Gosh, I just love it!
After spending all morning and part of the afternoon hunting with family and friends, I have to say, today I am SO grateful for cattails and gunsmoke!