Saturday, November 10, 2007

YES! Success!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI got my bird!

Today was the pheasant opener here. My boyfriend was off in Long Island, performing as best man in a wedding, but not me! I stayed home and decided to head out to our club's hunt by myself.

The organizer put me in a group with four other people - including the only other woman I saw at the hunt - and off we went into our designated rice fields. I paired up with a guy named Brian and his dog Riley. I told Brian I was a new hunter, so he graciously agreed to let me take shots at the first bird to flush. That decided, we began our hunt, walking up and down the checks, waiting for Riley to find a bird.

Soon enough, Riley found one for me. The bird flushed, and up my gun went.

Bam! Missed. Dear God, what a crappy mount.

Bam! Missed again. Man, that thing still ain't mounted right. Oh, what the hell...


Thank you, dear lord, for autoloaders. The third shot - which never seems to help me in duck hunting - did the trick and I got my bird. That boy dropped near another check and charged into it for cover, but Riley found him, and that's all she wrote.

Brian took the next rooster to flush, and I took the third. Or tried to. The safety! I forgot to take off the safety! By the time I rectified that, that rooster was pretty far away, and nothing I fired reached him.

After that, Riley was getting pooped, which was a relief, because so was I. The limit on opening weekend is two per person per day, but Brian and I settled for one each. I would've loved a limit, but I was just so happy not to get skunked.

When we got back to the parking lot, I called my boyfriend to tell him the good news. He whispered his congratulations from the church where he was waiting for the wedding to begin. Awwwwww, he left the phone on so he could find out how it went!

Then I got home and saw my neighbor working on his house, and invited him to peek at my bounty.

Can I have a feather? he asked.

Sure! I obliged him. Three tail feathers and one from the back for his hat.

But the best part was at home. I spotted our outdoor cat, Giblet, who's been known to take out scrub jays for kicks, and I thought, Hey, she'll LOVE this! So I brought it out to her to show off my hunting.

And she absolutely freaked out. Wouldn't go near the bird at all. Looked on from about five feet away. Seemed relieved when I took it back in the house.

HA! You've got to love the role reversal, dontcha? Isn't it usually the cat who wants to show off the carcass to the human, and the human who wants nothing to do with it?

That's enough blogging for now - I've got a bird to pluck! Then it's nap time, because I'm getting up at 2 a.m. tomorrow for what may be the first rainy duck hunt of the season. Hallelujah!

© Holly A. Heyser 2007


Marian Ann Love said...

Congratulations Holly on your pheasant hunt...a great picture of you with your beautiful bird. I'm so happy for you! You go girl! :)

Holly Heyser said...

Thanks Marian!

One of my students, who is a gun nut, but not a hunter, consoled me on the bird I missed with these words:

"I got killed paintballing once because I dropped my sights on a guy, squeezed the trigger, pulled the trigger, pulled again, looked down, took one in the chest. Damn safety."

Anonymous said...

Good for you! Congratulations on your first bird.

I think, when I finally go hunting, bird hunting is what I want to try first.

Prof. Bonilla said...

Very nice. I liked specially the details about the human-cat role reversal. Nice that you went without your boy, that you got a bird, and that he was checking his phone at church... Awwww, in deed.

Holly Heyser said...

Kristine, bird hunting is really challenging - it's SO hard to hit a moving target. But in any ways it's more forgiving on the new hunter, because: 1) you get LOTS of chances (I can take potentially dozens - if not hundreds - of ducks during duck season, but only two deer during deer season). And 2)you can be a little off with a shotgun and still hit your target, while a little off with a rifle could mean a miss or a nasty gut shot.

Then again, I haven't hunted anything with a rifle yet, so I'm biased.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the hunting world!

I'm not a woman hunter, but I am glad to see more women and girls getting involved in our sport.

I've enjoyed what I've read so far of your experiences. A lot of it reminds me of the things my girlfriend has gone through since I got her into hunting a few years back (and a lot of the frustration that has kept her from becoming fully immersed).

I've added your site to my blogrole, and hope to keep returning to watch your evolution as a huntress.