While we were driving to and from Calais the last 2 trips, we saw many fields with lots of Pheasants walking around and feeding in them. Now I have seen plenty of Pheasants before, but never so many in one place. As we drove by the newly planted and the just starting to grow fields, we saw many groups of these pretty birds. We saw lots of groups of two, one male and one female. A short distance away there would be another group of two and so on. Some of them were quite close to the auto route and they did not seem to care one bit that cars were so close to them. They just kept on pecking and eating.
Since this is my journal, I would like to recount a few Pheasant stories.
One day our teen-aged son Michael came home and announced that we needed to drive him to a Pheasant farm, that he would be buying a bird. We reluctantly agreed and we drove quite a distance to the farm. When we got there I was surprised to see a huge fenced in area with hundreds of Pheasants. Michael got out and excitedly began walking around the birds to find just the right one. After about 1/2 an hour of bird shopping, he picked one out and put it into a burlap bag for the ride home. When we got home, he set up a cage for the bird and there the bird began his caged life. That Pheasant was very unpleasant. Each time anyone would walk past his cage, he would hiss and ruffle his feathers at the passerby. He would also extend his neck towards the person as if to bite him. Good thing no one stuck their fingers into the cage or they would be fingerless today. The bird stayed in the family room for a few weeks and then moved into Michael's bedroom. One day I came into his room to find him all dressed up in snow attire: jacket, heavy pants, big gloves, ski mask, etc. "I'm training the Pheasant." he said. Several weeks later he left for the desert with the bird, his dog and a 12 gauge shotgun. He told me he was going hunting. Little did I know that he was hunting that very bird. A short while later they returned home game in hand. Originally he paid quite a bit for the bird. I can't quite remember. I think it was around $25.00 which I thought was just crazy. But then he made a huge profit. He sold the wings for $50.00 each to a sporting goods store for them to sell to fishermen who wanted to tie their own flies. He also tied a ton of flies himself and sold them both to the store and to fishermen. He cooked the bird and I don't really remember what else he did It turned out to be quite a lucrative enterprise.
When Michael was about 16, he worked for a sporting goods store. He began by helping the taxidermist with cleaning the shop, gathering supplies, preparing things for the work etc. After a short time the taxidermist was so happy with his work that he took him under his wing for free and Michael became an apprentice to that taxidermist. He became quite good at this work. He also went on the trips that the shop sponsored, both fishing trips and hunting trips. One day he went on a Pheasant hunting outing. All of the men came with their dogs and of course Michael brought his dog too. When they got to the site, the men told Michael that he would have to keep his dog locked up in the truck until they were done hunting. They did not want an extra dog bothering them or hunting along with them. They proceeded to hunt for the next several hours. After the hunt was over and they thought they had all the Pheasants, they told Michael that he could let his dog out. Clever Cleo immediately flushed out quite a few more Pheasants, took them down and brought them to Michael. Michael was one happy boy. The hunters were astonished. They were sure that they had gotten all of the birds. One of the hunters offered Michael "1,000 dollars for that there dog". Of course Michael was not about to part with his pal. That was his dog and he loved her. Cleo spent many happy years with Michael and was a good family pet as well. Michael trained her very well beginning with the 2 weeks he spent sleeping with her, in a sleeping bag, on the kitchen floor when he first got her as a little puppy. He told me that he wanted to "bond" with her and bond they did.
Michael also earned quite a bit of money with Cleo's help. He bred her 3 times and she produced the most beautiful little lab puppies. He took great care of those puppies and sold them with lots of help from Mom. He saved that money and used it as part of his mission fund. There is something special about a boy and his dog.