(For those who hunt pheasants, it is necessary that there be pheasants to hunt. Few are wild in most states, so the birds are purchased and hidden in the fields. This article describes the hiding experience, called “stocking.” To see what happens next, the hunting is explained in this more recent report: https://www.irasabs.com/?p=2803)

This is a secret known by many of the nation’s 2,000,000 pheasant hunters who chase after 10,000,000 pheasants raised on U.S. farms. These red-faced, green-headed, white-ring-necked birds are then sold to hunting clubs, hidden in bushes, sniffed out by specially trained dogs who point and flush, so that men with shotguns can pull triggers, down the game, and utilize much-talked-about recipes to cook delicious meals. In the United Kingdom, 35 million pheasants are raised annually.

ring-necked pheasants

ring-necked pheasants

So I want you to imagine how many times a year what I am going to describe takes place. It is a primitive practice as old as the wind that is totally unimaginable to almost all city dwellers, suburbanites and the majority of rural inhabitants. It has shades of voodoo and witchcraft, talking in tongues and reading the runes.

As the sun headed for the horizon on October 30th, I put on my high-calf boots and heavy gloves and headed out with a friend to “stock” pheasants in fields for the hunters who would search for the birds come Halloween morning with their spirited dogs and menacing guns. There were 10 birds to a cage, a mixture of brilliantly feathered roosters and dully-tan, camouflaged hens, and we would transport four cages to four different locations (five to 30+ acres each) in a soon to be mud-spattered, white, 4-wheel drive pickup truck.

Bouncing on rocks and over dips, avoiding the scratching brambles and who-knows-how-deep puddles from two-days-ago rain, we drive cautiously on bush-hogged trails, across streams, through shorn cornfields, and in pastures. We are looking for scattered sites to hide the birds from tomorrow’s predators. Our mission is to place 40 birds down gently in the woods, under bushes, beneath fallen trees. And keep them there. Read the rest of this entry »

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