Taking My Boys Pheasant Hunting

The other day I took my kids and dog to Denman wildlife area to hunt for planted pheasant. From my previous post, this isn’t my favorite thing to do, however it’s a good way to get out of the house, exercise the dog, and expose the boys to some hunting.

Of course it doesn’t take long for the boys to get bored. After they tire of pointing out tweety birds and blue jays and asking me if it’s a pheasant, they start looking for other ways to entertain themselves.

Since Denman has been used by thousands of hunters over many seasons there are lots of used shotgun shells and wadding on the ground. They quickly start collecting these, the newer the shotgun shell the better the find. If they can still smell gunpowder it’s a true treasure.

Once they have their pockets filled with shells they wait until we get close to one of the many shallow ponds throughout the area. Then they beg me to slow down so they can launch the shells into the ponds.

The game is to try to get the shells to hit the water light enough not to fill and sink. If they throw them just right, the shell will bob with the open side up. If they accomplish this the shell is called a, “buoy.” They keep score as to how many buoys they get.

AS we head off and continue the hunt they quickly try to replenish their supply of spent shell casings. If they find wadding, they usually end up stuffing the open end of the shell with it and the shell becomes a spaceship with the wadding representing the fiery blast from the rocket engine. No matter how many of these I’ve seen they still tug at my shoulder and say, “look at my spaceship, daddy.”

Eventually, hopefully, all that walking will scare up a pheasant. If that occurs I am usually able to bring it down. They congratulate me and describe exactly what happened and what they thought of the event. They recount what they were doing when it jumped, what they thought was happening, what the sound of the gun was like, what the dog did, what it smelled like, whether it was windy or calm, if  they were sweaty or tired…anything they can think of relating to the 5 minutes before the actual shooting occurred.

I love hunting, but I never knew just how interesting and fun it really is until I started taking my boys along.

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