The other side of the fence

They don their breeks and sporting coats and jaunty caps, as the hired help clean and polish their Purdeys, their Grullas, their Krieghoffs.

They pay upwards of $6000 a week to re-enact a pantomine of hunting; what it has sadly become a continent away in a place that lost its wild places centuries ago, lost the bulk of its public opportunities to hunt and fish, and was left with this ritualized costume party, for the select who could afford it.

And now, in a western state that is over 60% public land, where fantastic wild bird hunting opportunities abound for anyone willing to do a little homework and put one foot in front of the other, they are paying top dollar to do this, behind a fence, for pen-raised birds instead.

The birds pile up in the hundreds, considered little more than clays with wings. But no matter – many more are released. And some, I’d like to think the smart ones, high-tail it for the property boundary, where a free and wild life await on the other side. Those that make it quickly become wily survivors, constant predation being the price they pay for freedom.

I walk a field a few hundred yards away. I hear laughter coming from the expansive porch of the lodge, carried on the breeze. My jeans mostly muddy, a trusty 16ga. pump in my hand. The shorthair locks. Spins and repositions. Locks again, amber eyes ablaze. There’s a rooster in there, on this free, CRP land, adjoining exclusivity. I can’t help but laugh my ass off. Sometimes trickle down economics actually work.

– Smithhammer


Filed under Ditch Parrots, Talegate, True stories

13 responses to “The other side of the fence

  1. David Lucero

    Bravo ….. Short and Sweet!!

  2. Ihor

    Great stuff! I fear our egalitarian national tradition of hunting may be slowly disappearing.

  3. Hammer driving the sixteen penny home
    Well done

  4. Jon

    Chumps paying six grand a week to shoot pen-raised chickens? Hope Donnie Beaver isn’t reading this.

  5. Peasants on pheasants. Pass the Doritos, ole boy!

  6. Caleb

    Right on. I hope to hunt wild birds on public lands with my 870 forever.

  7. jolly good old chap… err I mean great article, couldn’t agree more!

  8. The bird is the reward for the hunt. Without the hunt, what is there? Poultry.

  9. Walk up hunting for wild Red Grouse, on a Scottish moor, was as challenging as any bird shooting I’ve done. And yes, we shot vintage English
    doubles and wore the funny little clothes. We toasted the end of the day
    with a fine Scotch and gave thanks to be alive.

    • Glad you had a good time, Nick! And that’s cool that you were doing it for wild birds on an open moor, as opposed to pen-raised chickens. I think that walking the open country of Scotland for wild red grouse would be really cool. But again, it’s worth pointing out that you were doing it over there (in context), not here in the western US, where we have tons of public land and great wild bird hunting, and our own decidedly more plebian traditions; where dressing up and pretending you’re an aristocrat in the old country – and for pen raised birds no less, just seems like Anglophilic foppery.

  10. Dave

    Here in Wisconsin, the pheasants look good, despite the drought. I like your blog as well.

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