First pheas­ants

The new sea­son brings with it ac­tion, ex­cite­ment and...po­etry.

Shooting Gazette - - A Dog’s Life - By Rod­er­ick Emery.


Surely Earth has not any­thing to show more fair than a pheas­anty sort of a covert of a frosty morn­ing. And cer­tainly dull would he be of soul who could pass a sight so touch­ing in its majesty.

Wordsworth may have been stood on West­min­ster at dawn when these thoughts oc­curred to him but I dare say that if he had been out in the coun­try­side with a gun more of­ten in the win­ter, rather than trip­ping over the daf­fodils all spring, he might have had a fuller ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the grandeur of the shoot­ing field. Can any­thing touch it? Stand­ing well back from a hang­ing wood, hear­ing the dis­tant “Tap-tap-tap! Eeey­ooh! Ayayayaay!” as the beat­ers be­gin to push for­ward through the bram­bles. Mov­ing a cou­ple of steps this way or that to put the bulk of an ivy-clad oak be­tween you and the low-hang­ing sun that is just be­gin­ning to re­flect off the early mist as the fresh­en­ing breeze whisks it up the val­ley. Lis­ten­ing for the clat­ter and squawk that her­alds the ap­pear­ance of the first cock of the sea­son.

Once more into the breach, my friends, for Eng­land, Harry and Sun­day lunch! Is it not hard to re­frain from a bit of lyri­cism un­der the cir­cum­stances? Why there is not more po­etry about shoot­ing, I re­ally don’t know. It seems to me to be just about made for the verse form. Pheas­ant/ pleas­ant. Par­tridge/ car­tridge. Nat­u­ral rhymes.

Even the dogs seem in awe of this first day of the sea­son. Well, first day if you haven’t had six solid weeks at the grouse fol­lowed by an­other month at the par­tridges. For those who count shoot­ing dates on the fin­gers of one hand and a bit, the sea­son starts here and there is no feel­ing like it.

And as the first long­tails be­gin to soar through the leaf­less canopy and set their wings for a long curl down to the dis­tant copse above the gra­nary it is fo­cus, fo­cus, fo­cus, up, through, press on and on and on and on...

Old dog

Um num yum! I can smell pheas­ant in the air. I do hope he kills them cleanly though. I don’t think I am go­ing to be up to chas­ing leggy pheas­ants across this plough. I’d like to, of course. I’m just not sure I could catch one be­fore it made that hedge and then it’s into the wood, and I know that wood. It’s bog cen­tral. You are up to your hips in two steps and the damn pheas­ant just sits there wink­ing at you as you plowter about in the goo. I’ve been there be­fore. It wasn’t fun when I was young and vig­or­ous. To­day it’s a heart at­tack wait­ing to hap­pen.

Please shoot it dead! Well done! That’ll do me. I can take care of that one. That one, on the other hand, is Span­ner ter­ri­tory. Watch it, kid! Watch it! It’s down. Yep! In the edge of the wood yon­der. All yours, young­ster. Walk in the park. You’ll love it. Just wait and see.

Young dog

C’mon! C’mon! C’mon! This is IT! This is the MO­MENT! This is what we LIVE for! This is our JOB! That pheas­ant is MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE! I OWN THAT PHEAS­ANT! Yes, that one in the wood yon­der. Can I go? Can I? Can I? Yes? YESSS! Wow! Splosh! Ac­tu­ally splosh, splosh, splosh. I CAN SEE YOU! Splosh, splosh, bloody splosh! HA! WEREN’T EX­PECT­ING THAT, WERE YOU? Right here we go. Can you take your wing out of my eye? OW! Don’t do that, please! I shall be cross! OW! Can you take this bird for me, Boss. Please! It’s a bit men­tal! Thank you. PHEW! Any more for you, Sir? Are there? Any more? Or did you miss the rest? All of them? Well, not to worry, Sir. Per­haps you’ll get one on the next drive. I say, best he does, old dog, or we’ll have a dull old day, eh? Is he al­ways like this?

For the op­por­tu­nity to pur­chase Bryn Parry orig­i­nal car­toons visit bryn­par­rystu­

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