When the passion strikes again


When it hit, it was like a ton of bricks had been dropped upon me.
It was a sensation which pounded into me with an incredible swiftness, a proverbial punch to the gut which left me gasping, not for air but rather at the intensity of the feeling of wanting more.
It was the feeling of the desire to pheasant hunt.
See, pheasant hunting is my favorite activity of all time. I fell in love with the sport from the moment I took to the field with a loaded .410 for my very first time on a Friday afternoon in 1988 as an 11-year old. With the sun about to set at my back, two roosters came flying across my field of vision. The birds were almost glowing vibrant reds and orange, their dark heads alive and the white ring seemingly as bright as the midday sun. They were against a purpling sky, a promise of a weather change to come overnight.
My gun spit fire, a plume of bright yellow flame against the sky. Sure I missed, but the smell of the spent gunpowder, the memory of the vividness of the colors, the sounds of the pheasant cackling and the rest of the sensations hooked me. I’m pretty sure my feet didn’t touch the ground as I was enamored with the endeavor of pheasant hunting.
Over the years, the passion hasn’t lessened at all. Usually about the first cool snap, I begin to twitch a little, counting down the days until Opening Day. I get a little frothy with excitement to be back in the field, watching dogs work, hanging out with good friends, reliving those stories from years past.
However, with the flooding rains in May and June, I was afraid the numbers had taken a beating. We went months without seeing a pheasant during our trips to Marion, when we’d usually see one or two every other trip. Fields which we’ve hunted over the years spent nearly weeks under water. Nesting conditions were decimated which heavily tempered my normal desire.
Sitting on a golf cart in the middle of the day on Oct. 23 with the sun shining down on me on the cool afternoon, my pheasant hunting passion came flooding back over me, sweeping me away like a stalk of grass floating on a raging river. The smile which crept over my face came from down deep in my soul, threatening to split my face in two. All I wanted at that very moment was to be in the field with my friends, with my two “adopted” dogs working in front of us.
I wanted to be back at the truck after a walk, teasing each other about misses or telling the same stories about hunting a particular field. I even wanted to feel the ache of muscles after working through thick grass, and maybe even have the weight of a bird in my game bag pressing against the small of my back.
I wanted to laugh about some of Dad’s follies, starting the conversation with, “Remember when Sid was trying to clean his glasses” or something along those lines to which all of us would laugh loudly at the memory of Dad doing something ill-timed or silly.
Sitting in the cart waiting for the rest of my group to catch up to tee off, I realized I’m ready to be back out there in the field.
I don’t mind being hit with those kind of bricks.


New member
That's probably about the most accurate description I've ever seen of how I feel. For me it was at Glen Elder in 1972. I've never been the same since. I get so excited I can barely stand it. It is honestly worse now than when I was a kid. My wife doesn't understand it. Very few people probably understand it.


I still remember the first pheasant I killed, it was the 80-81 season. Just my Dad and I that day; we each shot one pheasant and one quail. Looking back, it's possible that he just let me think I killed it. Regardless, it was a great day.


I went pheasant hunting for the first time at age 12 (1979) in Norton, KS. I had been quail hunting with my dad and his hunting partner since I was 3. Started carrying a gun about a year before my first pheasant hunt. We walked the first field (wheat stubble) opening morning with a few flushes here and there. Got to the end with thick grass and all hell broke loose. I think we had about 6 guys and birds were flushing everywhere. I don't think I even got a shot off as I was just watching in awe. Was hooked from that moment on.