Pheasants And The Meaning Of Life

This painting for me is more than a picture of a beautiful rooster pheasant. It is me trying to express the essence of something in my life that is significant.

Pheasant, ring-neck pheasant, watercolor, watercolour, art, , pThis painting has been on the board a long time. It is destined for my office. Oddly, I’ve never hung any of my art in my office. I guess it is about time.

Blitz joyfully returns with a bird.

Blitz joyfully returns with a bird.

Pheasant season ended a few weeks ago. It is a time when our dogs get to live their bliss, as Mary is so fond of putting it, living-bliss. I’ve re-blogged her post, because it is also about the dogs doing what they are born to do. They are working dogs and hunting is their work. They are happiest when they are working. What they do is written in their DNA.

golden retriever, hunting, photography

Teka can’t wait for her turn. She stakes out my truck.

I suppose the same is true for me. If I was plopped down in the American West 200 years ago I think I would have been perfectly happy. Engaging in hunting with dogs, friends and family keeps me connected to my roots and more primitive self.

golden retriever, hunting, photography

Teka was born to hunt birds.

golden retriever, hunting, photography, Pheasant

Teka delivers a pheasant to her person, Doug.

Dogs are pack animals and pheasant hunting helps them live their pack experience. The difference is that we are now their pack, but the satisfaction to them is the same.

golden retriever, hunting, photography, pheasant

Teka relishes bringing the bird to Doug and receiving his appreciation.

If I didn’t have bird dogs I probably wouldn’t bird hunt. The pleasure they bring to it is what makes it complete. These dogs have such heart in what they do. Hunting without them would be like dancing alone.

golden retriever, hunting, photography, pheasant

Blitz on a water retrieve.

Procuring food is such a basic human activity. By acquiring food myself, I appreciate the meal much more. To spend the time hunting and experiencing the joy of success with my partners makes me think about what our hunter gatherer ancestors did on a daily basis. Then to have to go through the process of cleaning and preparing this food, it puts me very in touch with the reality of what was given.

golden retriever, hunting, photography, pheasant

Blitz is happiest while doing her work.

When I hold the pheasant in my hand that I just killed and Blitz just fetched, I experience a blend of feelings. There is joy in the success and satisfaction of providing this meal to my family. There is appreciation for the beauty and for what this creature lost, it’s life. That leaves me with some sadness, but it is the reality of life. It causes me to not take meat in the grocery store for granted.

golden retriever, hunting, photography, pheasant

Blitz has a lively pheasant.

The time out in the field away from the day to day activities is a welcome break to go enjoy a more primal experience. There are things all around to be noticed that add to the richness of this time spent.

geese, Canadian Geese, photography, wildife, nature

Canadian Geese hiding in the grass.

This time means so much when spent with family.

golden retriever, hunting, photography, Pheasant

My oldest son, Chris with his girl Nellie. This will be her last pheasant season.

family, sons, golden retriever, hunting, pheasant

My sons and Nellie.

This is also a time for me to remember my old loyal hunting partners from years past. The ones that gave me so many fond memories. Last year was Hawk’s last season only we didn’t know it at the time. He should have had many more pheasants to retrieve. We miss him very much. Mary posted about him a while back, Her Papa’s Eyes.

golden retriever, hunting, photography

Hawk during his last pheasant season. An old hunting partner remembered.

54 thoughts on “Pheasants And The Meaning Of Life

  1. What a great post! I really enjoy your painting. And the photography. And most of all the dogs. Since I spend half my time in North Norfolk where there pheasants are at home and stroll around in the garden like dogs πŸ™‚ I have stopped eating them though.
    Grand dogs you all have.
    Best regards from doglover


  2. What a very insightful post Tim . I really enjoyed hearing you describe a way of life which to be honest I have never known much about before , it’s the same with all your posts it gives me a new look at nature. work. and a chance to see your painitngs too . Such a super dog family there past and present πŸ™‚
    whirrr whirrr … I do believe I can hear your pheasant ‘copter taking off from that waving gloden cornfield … πŸ˜‰


  3. Ah gee. I hated reading about Hawk’s demise. All of that is so sad. I am sure that you still get sad when thinking about those hunting buddies that are now gone. I know I do about some of my dogs that I loved so much.

    I’ll have to read Mary’s post. I am not getting notices and I seldom go to the reader. Too much scrolling. All the photos are wonderful. Really like the Canada gander and goose. The peasant painting is a beauty. Just look at the picture and you’ll be wishing that you were out on a hunt with the dogs.


    • They are working dogs and they love to work. Most of them never hunt, but if they get time to fetch a ball and swim they are happy. They all need a job and sometimes it is family dog extraordinaire!.


  4. There’s a great sense of atmosphere in your painting, with the stormclouds over the golden harvest and the beautiful pheasant flying free. Very beautiful πŸ™‚ It’s also great to read about your dogs; it’s so wonderful when these amazing animals can live out their nature and design to the full. love Nellie’s grizzled old face in the pics πŸ™‚


    • Thank you, but did he eat the chicken?

      I took my grand kids fishing in our pond. They all caught fish and my 5 year old grand daughter caught a large bass. We gathered around the sink to clean the fish, but first I had to dispatch it. When I did so my 4 year old grandson wailed and ran out of the kitchen. Grandpa was bad! When all was said and done however, he ate the fish.


  5. I am not a hunter, Tim. I would not know how to provide for my family this way. I was touched by what you said about your feelings as you hold the lifeless pheasant in your hands and appreciate the gift because that is also the way I feel as I buy meat in the grocery store.
    I read a beautiful story last night in a book titled “A Place In Time” by Wedell Berry. It is a collection of short stories. I was deeply touched by one titled “Mike” found on page 155 in the hardback copy. I think you and your wife might enjoy this book and that particular story. Mike is a hunting dog, but much more too, just like your family.
    The painting is awesome! It, definitely, deserves framing and a spot in your office.


  6. Tim,
    Excellent article. I too have experienced all that you’ve shared. The joy of the hunt, the sadness of the kill, the blessings of the meal the animal providedβ€”that it gave its life, so mine could continue.

    But the part that had the greatest effect on me was the homage to your dogs. I too, love my dogs In fact, my last two sermons in Seminary were, “I love my dog with all my mind, heart, soul and strength…but I guess I’m dyslexic.” And “All my theology I learned from my dog.” I’ve always said, and will always say, God knew exactly what he was doing when he created a dog.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Beautiful painting by the way.


    • Thank you Colt for your kind words. I waited a long time before doing a blog on hunting. So many people don’t hunt these days and have a very detached perception of it. I decided that I had to talk about it sooner or later because it is a part of who I am. Hopefully I provided a little insight. Most folks are too polite to say something negative even if they have a negative opinion about it. It really wouldn’t bother me if they did, because it brings out the topics that other people are already thinking about. I think everyone should at least once in their life go through the process of hunting or fishing, cleaning, preparing and eating their prey, if for no other reason then to appreciate their food and where it came from.

      The dogs getting to fullfill there purpose in like makes it all worth while for me. I just love to watch them work.


  7. You’ve described the purpose and a bit of the mixed feelings of hunting so well here. Tika & Blitz are lucky to have someone so well attuned to them and the rest of their world. Your painting is beautiful – I love the patterns in the wheat, too. And the photo of two Canada geese i the grass is gorgeous.


  8. Thats a lovely pheasant painting. We used to take our dogs pheasant and quail hunting. A good dog is priceless when they bring back the birds and you dont have to go fetch them πŸ™‚ lovely photos and artwork πŸ™‚


  9. That painting is just fantastic, really magic.

    I enjoyed reading this. I don’t like mindless killing – people who shoot ducks because ‘it’s duck shooting season’ and they just want to kill, but if you’re going to eat the kill I understand it. Blitz looks SO happy πŸ™‚


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