So tired, I could easily blow it off.
But the birds have been hanging in the cool crawlspace plenty long enough and it is time. “I’ll have a beer first…” and I do. And it’s so good, I have another. It is already late fall and the sun is long gone and it feels later than it is, even though it’s barely dinner time. The birds are laid out on the cutting board, waiting. Although they really aren’t waiting, because they are dead; if they ever actually “waited” for anything while alive.
I often seem to procrastinate when it comes to cleaning birds, and then I hurry through it mechanically. But tonight, I’m in a different mood. Almost as tired as the shorthair curled up in the corner of the living room by the stove. The good kind of tired, where whatever you’re going to do you’re going to take your time doing.
I lay the bird spread out on its back. Game shears remove wings and head and legs. Feel through the deep mahogany and purple-tinged belly feathers for something more tangible. The knife slides in easily, and the thin skin parts up the length of the cavity. The pungent odor of pheasant hits the nostrils. Rich pink flesh exposed. A pile of technicolor feathers accumulates. A few crimson spots where #6 did its thing.
Flushed under cold water, thoroughly.
And then its time to ponder a recipe. Maybe a sautè in sage, bacon and port. They deserve nothing less.
7 thoughts on “Waiting”
I gut them on the hill soon after the deed is done and pack some snow in the cavity if available. Makes for less clean up at home and more beer time. I need to go bag a ditch parrot or two, running low on tail material.
Nice looking blade you got there.
I usually do the same, particularly with huns/chukars/etc. But with ‘gamier’ birds, I lke to hang them for a few days in a cool place. Hard to describe, but it does something to the flavor.
The blade is a Bark River ‘Woodland Special’ btw. One of my favorites.
I don’t shoot pheasant often, but I do know guys that do the same. Need to try it next time I bag one.
I would love to get permission to publish this in the up and coming DPCNA newsletter. Great stuff, thanks
I end up waiting more often than not also. Sometimes it is merely procrastination, others it is denial turning into acceptance that a tangibly successful hunt is finally over.
Nice! I’ve got a couple of these guys aging in the garage right now and always feel the same procrastination. I enjoy the reminder that hanging birds bring. The colorful surprise when I step into the garage. Plus they drive the dog batty. Maybe a beer will help me get started on the work now…
I leave my birds 4 or 5 days in the fridge if it is warm out and about the same outside if cool.
That Bark River can do a moose and still be shaving sharp. I have been using a Fox River and Woodland Special for years now. Nice steel