Why Pheasants Run

Discussion in 'Cast & Blast' started by David Bershtein, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. I am now in my 4th week, laid up with a broken leg. With bird hunting season shot to hell, and my Lab lying next to me on the bed dreaming of her next meal, my mind runs in many directions. A piece in the New York Times of a pre-historic chicken is enough to set me off. Those of you who have been afflicted by runners in a cornfield will rise and take notice. Your dog gets birdy, and starts making that peculiar sound that is a cross between biting and sneezing, as if the dog were eating corn on the cob and taking snuff at the same time. Then, following a scent trail, the dog begins to inscribe the wildest possible calligraphic fantasies across the landscape. You get to the end of the field and often as not, the trail is dead. How did the pheasant learn this skullduggery and subterfuge, you may well ask? From the dinosaurs. The pheasant is an import from China and a direct descendent of Caudipteryx.

    Caudipteryx, which means tail feather in Latin, was first dug up in the Liaoning Province, northeastern China in 1997. They are a sub order of the theropods which means beast feet. Anyone familiar with the evil mindedness of pheasants will achieve immediate satori when they learn that these ancestors were mainly nasty meat eaters. Theropods first appeared during the Carnian age of the late Triassic period about 230 million years ago.

    Caudipteryx, like many other maniraptorans (hand snatchers), is a sneaky mix of reptile- and bird. Caudipteryx has a short tail stiffened toward the tip, with few vertebrae, like in birds and other oviraptorosaurs (egg thief lizzards.) It has a hand skeleton with a reduced third finger, used then as now for giving the finger to its pursuers.

    Because Caudipteryx has the contour feathers of modern birds, and because several scientific studies have determined it to be a flightless dinosaur, it gives the strongest proof that birds evolved from dinosaurs. Prof. Lawrence Witmer stated:

    “The presence of unambiguous feathers in an unambiguously nonavian theropod has the rhetorical impact of an atomic bomb, rendering any doubt about the theropod relationships of birds ludicrous.”

    Lest these sneaky chickens regain their pre-historic strength, rise to a height of fifty feet and take over the earth, you are advised to shoot the miscreants on sight, without hesitation. Recipies to remove the bitterness you may have felt during their pursuit can be found on subsequent pages.

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  2. I'm gonna need a bigger shotgun . . . something in a plasma, directed-energy guage . . .
    Alex MacDonald likes this.
  3. Jim, I agree with you about dogs. Though when our Lab is lying spread eagle on the bed, being rubbed by two people, I think she has it pretty good. I could live without her 5:30 AM wakeup calls. I may be too low-tech to get your shotgun comment. I am too old to carry a 12 all day and have gradually worked my way down to a 28.
  4. nasty birds, they! Sneaky little ditch parrots. But if they got bigger, I'd want that Holland & Holland 700 Express Magnum double gun, firing 1,000 grain solids-one in each tube... Enough foot-pounds of energy to knock a cape buffalo into the next county. And you guys thought your little Barretts were the big kid on the block:p
  5. Alex, be sporting. Isn't a 700 nitro a bit much, and really intended for exhibition only. If you fired one it would detach both retinas and dislocate your shoulder.

    H&H gets iffy reports these days for inconsistent quality. Clients have returned bespoke guns as unacceptable. A Wesley Richards or Boss 500 Nitro should really give those sneaky chickens the blast they deserve. I always used Wesley and kept a pair of drop-lock, single trigger twelves there for years when I could afford driven shooting. They give marvelous service. The new people at Boss are very good and were kind to me when I bought a dubious 12 bore. The birds would make a poor spectacle on the table if you hit the target :) I will post another one of my sneaky chicken short stories
  6. I wasn't aware of any quality issues with them! That's a quick way to take the wind out of their sails. We've got a guy in Malaga, a little south of here; Vintage Doubles. His gun library is something else, and you never want to go in there with your own wallet & checkbook... If I ever got one of those 700's I'd have it mounted on the gun ring of my halftrack:D

    I usually carry a little Belgian poacher's gun in 28bore hammergun for grouse here. Works just as well on the nasty ditch parrots too! It's a Guild gun. She's a real sweety, and fits like a second skin!
    Roper likes this.
  7. Those Belgian guild guns can be superb. A 28 must come up like a dream. I assume it is an sxs. The fancy gun store near me is Griffin & Howe. I am afraid to go in there. If I could find a 28 on a 28 frame in a single trigger OU I would risk divorce to get it. I rarely see grouse flush but I hear them sneaking away. Then after killing myself for 8 hours walking around looking for them in heavy cover, I see them dusting in the road as I drive away.

    My 8 month old Lab did 3 months w a pro and will be fine on grouse. If this chemo doesn't finish me off I will try again in October. Do you shoot woodcock? I hate the way they taste and they are such pretty birds I usually let them fly to the chagrin and reproachful looks of my dog
  8. Yep, it's an SXS, 119 years old this year! What I'd really like is a double trigger boxlock in 28 without the hammers, but I also wouldn't want to fear scratching the wood, so that'll probably be a cheap gun like a nice, serviceable CZ Bobwhite. Those Connecticut Shotgun RBL's are really nice too, but I want double triggers and fixed chokes.

    I don't believe we have woodcock out here-never seen one, at any rate! If you're on the West side of the Cascades, the forest is really thick, but here on the East side, it's a little more open, so our grouse have a little harder time. We usually drive the forest roads until we find a decent covert, then "release the hounds" and see what flies out. But the blue grouse! Talk about dumb as a stump!! I even had one during their fall mating time challenge my truck! Pity I had the little 28 with me!

    I wasn't aware you were undergoing chemo! My best thoughts to you; went through some topical chemo for a cancer on my back about 10 years ago, and even that wasn't nice! I'd get the G&H gun-life's too short to dance with an 870!
  9. The ruffed grouse are like wraiths. I have seen them on the ground 20 yards away, tried to walk up with my dog. No flush, the bird just vanished. Usually they flush with a tree between you and them. They were shot at here since the 17th century and the ones that survived are like Stanford graduates with CIA training. It would be great to have a few dumb ones
    Roper and Alex MacDonald like this.
  10. the majority of our ruffs are well educated also, but the blues, well, maybe a few auto shop classes at a community college.

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