Monday, December 15, 2008

Pheasants



This was our second year hunting pheasant up on the Texas Panhandle. Bird numbers were down some from last year, but we had a good hunt and a good time in the family venture.

My sister:


Although new to pheasant hunting, with only four days of it (and guided at that) under my belt, I can see why it is so popular. Not only are the birds large and beautiful (and tasty) but they can be very wary, flushing wild and flying hard. The rush and rattle of a pheasant rise isn't quite the same as a big covey of quail getting up around your feet, but it is pretty exciting.

Our hunt was complicated on both days by a brisk wind, hardly a surprise up there, but which added a lot of speed to the birds' flight once they got up and got going. We mostly hunted relatively small corners of CRP and playa bottoms surrounded by large fields of cotton, milo stubble, or winter wheat.



Guide Dane Swinburn and Hans the wirehair pointer getting an elevated perspective:




Back to ducks and the river, another plains trip ended.

12 comments:

Matt Mullenix said...

Some pheasant-food blogging?

mdmnm said...

Matt,

Maybe. I've hung a couple of birds to see how that works. I know the practice has a lot of history behind it, but it makes me nervous.

Anonymous said...

Yep, when the roosters get up in a wind, you better be swinging like a batter in the box. That's one thing that makes the upland bird hunting so challenging up here on the Rocky Mountain Front in MT. Thanks for the notes. Taku

mdmnm said...

I hope to check it out up there someday. Thanks, Taku!

Matt Mullenix said...

Did you hang them in a mesh bag or on a screened porch? How do you keep the flies off?

Down here there's no way letting game sit could work.

I gut rabbits as soon as I'm back at the truck and drive straight home to skin and freeze them. If left out even half a day, they'd be writhing with fly larvae. :-(

mdmnm said...

Matt,

No flies here this time of year. I just hung them in the garage, where it hasn't been freezing but hasn't gotten above the mid-fifties this week. I'll dress them tonight and see what happens. I've always done like you and dressed then refrigerated/frozen game immediately.

For game birds, I've read about aging them in the refrigerator, well wrapped in newspaper, which might work in your warm and damp climate.

Henry Chappell said...

Nice post. Brings back lots of memories. I haven't been pheaqsant hunting up there since 2004. Your pics make me want to plan another hunt. Did you move any quail? (I always get back to quail.)

mdmnm said...

Thanks, Henry!

There were quite a few quail up there, probably seven or eight coveys each day and most of them good-sized.

Live to Hunt.... said...

MDMNM, found your blog through Living With Birddogs. Great stuff! I have put you on my blogroll and would appreciate the same! Keep up the good work.

mdmnm said...

Live to Hunt-
Thanks, and, done!

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

How'd them pheasants come out? Glad to see you hung them. I am itching to go shoot some more because I want to find myself an old rooster to hang for a solid week -- pen-raised birds needed only 3-4 days.

mdmnm said...

Hank,

I haven't tried eating them yet. I also have a couple of breasts that the guide cleaned (skinned and with only the keelbone intact) that I hope to cook alongside to compare and contrast.

I have to say, I gave it a try based pretty much entirely on your report. Contrary to your experience, I did find the innards a bit smelly and have some trepidation about how they'll taste.