I was recently reading an online hunting chat board and was surprised to read that pheasants are still present on Cape Lookout, one of North Carolina’s barrier islands. Surprised, because I haven’t seen one there in years and was under the impression that a combination of an expanding racoon population and successive hurricanes had wiped them out.
I don’t recall seeing many of them in my youth, but by the early 1990s we’d see enough of them during the spring and summer months while fishing, that when our November fishing trip came, we’d pack our shotguns with our fishing tackle.
Pheasants are hard to kill. They generally wait in the thicket until you just about step on them, and then fly so low and fast to the ground that it’s hard to get a bead on them. In fact, I’ve only killed one pheasant in my life, and over the years only got a shot off at one Cape Lookout pheasant, which I missed.
My father killed quite a few pheasants over the years, including two at Cape Lookout, a point he always liked to make to my brother-in-law, with whom he had long standing, good-natured rivalry about who was the better fisherman and hunter. A point also made because my brother-in-law had a reputation for missing far more game than he killed.