The Booty, it throbs; The Die Hard, he smiles

October 26, 2010

Last night’s pheasant hunt was, in one word, exhausting. 

Even though we were only out for about 2 hours, when I woke up this morning my entire body was throbbing…cursing me…begging me not to make it get out of bed for the next 2 days. My butt refuses to function to the point that it takes 5 minutes and an act of God to hoist my body up out of a chair. And I don’t want to even think about the blisters on my heels except that I named one Fred and the other one is named Tony. 

Now this is my third year pheasant hunting, although last year I only went one time because I was pregnant and my gut kept getting in the way and getting hung up on brush and sticks and branches and corn stalks as I attempted to keep up with J and the dog while they bounded through the thick and overgrown terrain like they were frolicking through fields of cotton candy and skittles.

 The year before that, though, I had no problem keeping up with the guys and really loved the thrill of the chase, the giddy anticipation that immediately kicks in when the dog gets “birdy”, and the instincts that take over when the cackling bird flushes up into the air, you point the gun, swing through and pull the trigger. And it is so satisfying to see that bird drop and wait, catching your breath, as the dog brings it back to you. 

But last night, well, it kicked my butt! I still had a blast–and got a bird with my brand new shotgun–but I think I lost about 6 pounds in the process. See, J doesn’t just stick to the trails or try to hunt the open fields and flat areas. Oh, no that would be way to easy. If he thinks there are birds in a certain area, even if that area is a quagmire of 10-foot-tall grass, fox holes, thorny sticks and branches, and mud, he’ll hunt it. Maybe that’s why he gets so many birds, because he goes where other people just aren’t willing to go.

Unfortunately for me, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, when I hunt with The Die Hard, I don’t have a choice. Where he and the dog go, I go. And last night our hunting expedition led us across more than 3 miles of woods, fields, hills, forests, corn fields, and grassy areas with grass so tall you couldn’t see the sky. At one point we even had to climb a hill so steep, we had to literally scale it on all fours, using protruding roots and branches to help pull ourselves up.

As closing time neared, I was EXHAUSTED. SWEATING. OVERHEATING.

My hips were numb from having to lift my knees practically up to my armpits as we walked through almost a mile of tangled, gnarled fields. My shoulders and elbows were aching from holding my gun up in a “ready” position. I was secretly praying that J was tired too, and, since I’d never suggest it, hoping that maybe he’d say he’d had enough for the night and we could make our way back to the truck.

Yeah, right.

With 3 minutes left to go in the season, J heard the unmistakable cackle of a rooster about 200 yards away. Where I would’ve probably said “Eh, it sounds too far, I don’t think I can make it there and find the bird in 3 minutes,” J hollered, “Meet me at the trail along the wood line!” and took off sprinting through 6-foot-tall weeds, grass, and brush toward the sound. Meanwhile I stood there, mystified, yelling, “What trail!?? What wood line!?? Is anybody there?!?!”

Surely he couldn’t hear me, what with breaking the sound barrier and all.

But I did manage to find the trail he instructed me to go to, and when I saw the blaze orange form coming toward me about 10 minutes later with a huge smile on his face, I didn’t know what he was so happy about. I never heard his gun go off, so I knew he must not have found that bird in time.

But when he walked up to me he said, “Man, I love this,” and I knew he was just happy to be out there, exploring the wild life, chasing after the prize, working with his dog, teaching me everything he knows, and enjoying every minute  of his time in the great outdoors. And for a split second I forgot about my blisters. 

Then The Die Hard said “Now hurry up, it’s getting dark!” 

*** I had no problem re-gaining the 6 pounds I lost by eating my weight in deep-fried pheasant. It’s a beautiful thing. The best. I can’t get enough. The tender, juicy meat wrapped in a crispy, crunchy crust is all I need in life. That and a massage.


One Response to “The Booty, it throbs; The Die Hard, he smiles”

  1. Cindy said

    This how I feel after day 6 of being full time nurse and full time horse ranch hand have the baby by day I have the job by day and so we must tend to our bodies and Keep them in shape eh?:) Sounds like a fun outing. Can’t wait to see you next weekend..

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