Well, here's a great December day in northern Illinois. We are going to put out some pheasants for the otter creek hunting club. Its about 2:00 P.M., and around 20 degrees out today, and as you can see a bright sunny day. We hunt the established legal season here, in Illinois and we put out birds on a weekly basis on Friday afternoon's to be hunted the following week. The hunting club uses adjoining local farming land, that the owners have graciously let us operate on for many years. The first week of the season, we do not "seed" the birds, but rely on the local wild population. Thereafter we put out birds the remaining weeks of the season, all but the last "Its generally DARN COLD" then, and most want to spend the holidays with there families. Well how does it work? most folks when they hear that you are putting birds out to hunt, they almost always imagine a poor hapless bird that is staked to the ground waiting for someone to walk up and blast it. The truth be known, it is far different, we want it to be just like the natural experience, and try to make it as real as possible. We start by taking a trip to a local wild game farmer, who we have contracted at the beginning of the year to raise a number of pheasants, and a scheduled weekly delivery
We have the birds now, and lets get them out there. I enjoy the bird release as much, if not more than hunting them. It's a great excuse to get out of work early, have a nice lunch, and get outside and tromp around.
Here they are in the back of the truck in the cages, just waiting to get out ! We are going to put some to sleep, and stick them down, and others we will give the old air launch method. Sleep you say? how the heck do you put a pheasant to sleep? I thought that was an "old wives tail" Well here's how it's done
First we get a hold of a pheasant from the cage, Its best to wear gloves, because they don't use skin softener on their feet, plus the have a tendency to have sharp claws. Be careful, because a bad grip can result in a "LOTTA FLAPPIN AND CRAPPIN". Now hold the bird by the legs in one hand, and the body with the other. With the hand that you are holding the body, take your thumb, and tuck the bird's head under the wing that is closest to you chest. Keep the head under the wing, and hold the bird at about a 45 degree angle head towards the ground. With your other hand gently, but firmly pull the legs out. You will feel some resistance at first, but as the bird goes to sleep, they will relax, and just stretch straight out. Hold the bird in this position for about 30 seconds.This bird will be out cold.
Lets see my friend Dave in action
Oh by the way SAFETY FIRST. Its deer season today, and even though we are not hunting, and are standing next to a 4500 pound truck we both have on blaze orange. You don't want some damn fool to accidentally take your head off by mistake. Well this bird is out cold, lets find a nice hidey-hole for him and put him down.
We try and stick them in some cover. In case there is any doubt that the bird is sleeping here another shot of one "out cold"
We don't want to leave them like this though, If your not careful, this bird will stay K-O'ed all night, Plenty of fox and coyote around, These birds are raised in fly pens, but they ar not quite as cagey as their wild cousins, we will wake these guy's up a little, by tossing some snow at the from a distance. We do this until they have their head up. They will awaken, but be a little dazed, and probably stick around on the property
Here's one that finally came around, he see's us, but is just a little unsure of what going on
Well that one way of doing it, but we like to "Air-Launch" a few also. Just get them out of the cage, show them the cover, and give them a toss in the general vicinity
Off he goes !! boy is this dude noisy, he crowed all they way to the tree line on his way.
Well I hope you enjoyed this little trip, It was fun for us too Looking back at the photo's it sure is a panoramic view of the Prairie state of Illinois. You never really notice it when your out just driving around.
If your a shotgunner, trapshooter, or just interested a handy little reload calculator can be found by clicking the shot shell