Dakota Country Magazine October 2016 Edition - Page 8

Bill Antonides Gaudy, flamboyant and raucous The ringneck has many attributes... and powers O “Roosters will cackle before and after legal shooting time, and when they’re out of range, but other than that they’re as silent as a hardened criminal during a police interrogation. It’s only a matter of time before they learn to ask for an attorney.” October in the Dakotas means one thing to sportsmen: Pheasant hunting. Granted, October also means waterfowl hunting, archery deer hunting, grouse hunting, and even dove hunting, should there still be a few of the minuscule rockets around. However, pheasant hunting is king, although dwindling habitat and ease of access has taken a few hunters from our ranks. It’s also time to sight in rifles for deer season. The loose screw on my .243 rifle scope, the screw I’ve complained about since last year, is still loose. You would think I had to build the Taj Mahal using nothing but tools made from rocks and bones, rather than take 30 seconds with a screwdriver to fix it, but I’m a busy man. Why we don’t have a government program to take care of these problems I’ll never know, because we have plenty of government programs to take care of things that are not problems. Rather than complain about what government can or cannot do, let’s talk about pheasant hunting, since I am a self-proclaimed expert. The first thing you need to know is pheasants do one of two things: They either flush from your hunting spot the moment you arrive, if not when you leave home, or they wait until you’re right smack on top of them before they take off. They especially like to wait until you pause, perhaps for a swig of water, to gulp down a candy bar, or just to catch your breath. Every outdoor writer in the Midwest has attempted to express a hunter’s experience when a male pheasant erupts from the weeds at their feet and launches into the air. All reasonably descriptive words in the dictionary have been used to describe the gaudy, flamboyant and raucous rooster, including gaudy, flamboyant, raucous and rooster. Rather than beat these old descriptions to death, think of it like this: If John Travolta was still flailing away to “Staying Alive” in Saturday Night Fever, and if the highly-reflective disco ball happened to fly free from its mooring, the scene would accurately simulate a rooster flushing at the feet of a pheasant hunter, and also the pheasant hunter’s reaction. A flushing rooster seems to travel at what appears to be the speed of a caterpillar, The author’s son-in-law, Mike Hauge, shows his son Grey (the author’s grandson) the proper and time-honored technique to mildly annoy a pheasant. Photo by the author. Page 8, Dakota Country, October 2016 www.dakotacountrymagazine.com