When I was growing up in East Medford, I always looked forward to Autumn, not for the cooler days and changing leaves but for the opportunity to hunt the wild Rogue Valley Pheasant.
The field across the street from my house was filled with Pheasant, quail, and even an occasional duck sitting on one of the Pear orchard ponds.
Typically I would wake up long before I had to be at the bus stop, and sit on the porch looking out over the fields. As the sky lightened with the coming dawn I’d hear the crow of Pheasant. I’d decide the area I’d hunt based on where I thought the crowing Pheasant was sitting. Then i’d grab my excited labrador and head out into the field with my 12 gauge on my shoulder.
Most mornings I wouldn’t come up with a Pheasant, but it was mostly because my untrained labrador would jump the thing so far out that the range was too much. Or the Pheasant would lead us on such a wild run through the brambles that by the time it jumped I’d be so out of breath I couldn’t hold the gun steady and I’d miss. That’s right, I’m blaming it on the dog.
Now that field and orchard are gone, replaced with tract housing and mini-malls. Also gone are the Pheasant that used to inhabit the area.
Pheasant hunting was never great in the Rogue Valley, but it was good enough to keep me interested. Now, however there simply aren’t any wild Pheasant left. There’s nowhere for them to nest and feed and do the things Pheasant do, now there are people in those areas.
I was lamenting this sad passing because yesterday I went out to Denman Wildlife Area and hunted planted Pheasant.
Denman does a good job of stocking the fields with pen raised Pheasant, but it’s not the same as hunting wild Pheasant. Continue reading Rogue Valley Pheasant Hunting: What Happened?