A pheasant hunt is a great way to decompress after a hard week

It’s been a while since I’ve done any bird hunting, but my dog and I finally got to go out after some pheasants over the weekend. We didn’t see any birds, but that doesn’t mean our hunt wasn’t successful.

It seems weird to say tromping over every square inch of two full sections of prairie can be relaxing, but after several weeks of dealing with a crazy workload at the day job, the five or six miles of hiking through walk-in areas on a pheasant hunt was exactly that. It was nice to be far away from phones, email, and other urgent needs for a few hours on Sunday morning.

Better yet, I got to be out there with my dog and a good friend. As a bonus, Mike brought his dog, too. Cricket and Ginger formed an instant friendship, and they seemed to work out a natural division of labor. Ginger’s just a pup, with plenty of energy, so she spent the day racing back and forth in front of us, while Cricket conserved her energy and her 10-year-old legs by staying a little closer to us, investigating any smells either of the dogs picked up in great detail.

Mike and I trailed along behind the dogs, hoping one or the other of the furry beasts would flush a pheasant, and we passed the time solving the world’s problems, talking trucks, and sharing photography tips.

We didn’t see any pheasants all morning, but we found a great-horned owl sitting on an old snag in a line of Russian olives, watched a herd of about 50 antelope, and enjoyed what could have been the last pleasant day of fall.

It all reminded me why I hunt, and why I don’t hunt by myself much anymore. I enjoy eating wild game, I love the excitement when a critter pops up within range, and I like just being outside. But when you can share that experience with good friends, or better yet with a good human friend and a couple of Man’s Best Friends, there isn’t a lot that can beat it.

I hope Mike and Ginger can make it out to hunt with us again. Maybe we’ll get a bird next time, but if we don’t, I won’t mind much.