"If there is one bird that fires up the imagination of the American upland gamebird hunter, it is the rooster pheasant...This bird is the wizard of the weedpatch, the Plato of the plowed field, the gaudy genius of grain country. No other bird in the American hunting scene quite compares with the cock pheasant."
- Clare Conley from The Field & Stream Guide to
As far as I'm concerned, the only thing better than hunting is reading about hunting, and I came across these words by Mr. Conley during a visit to my home in western
There's a very good chance my Grandpa purchased this book as a gift for my dad and uncles. Or maybe one of the boys saved their nickels and dimes for a time and mailed in for the guide on their own (price tag: $1.25). Either way, they all paged through and eyed the same words when it arrived at the farm back in 1966.
It is fascinating all the different elements of pheasant hunting that captivate the hunter – four legs at full tilt, heart-attack inducing flushes, rarely walked ground, field style family reunions. Even more fascinating is whichever reason or combination of reasons it is, pheasant hunting for many becomes a lifelong pursuit, something to grow old with that never grows old.
I've hunted pheasants with 12-year-olds, a few guys in their late 70s and almost every age group in between. My dad and uncle, whose teenage fingers opened The Field & Stream Guide to Upland Game Birds 45 years ago, are still pheasant hunters to this day. Their minds are always willing, even if their flesh isn't. Why do people spend a lifetime "chasing" ringnecks? It's more about firing up the imagination than it is firing the gun.