One Too Many

February 15, 2009 by  

By Perry Thorvig

Man, I was bushed!! I slid onto a bar stool at Bismarck’s Comfort Inn north of I-94 and ordered a tall brew. The frothy suds went down smoothly and began to quench a mighty thirst. I was well into my second brew when a rather odd looking old character hopped on the stool beside me. He had reddish rings around his eyes and a pointed nose. He wore a very sporty coat – a little gaudy for the Comfort Inn.

He noticed that I still had on my hunting clothes and asked if I had been out chasing pheasants that day. I told him that I had. “So, how’d you do?” he asked. “Not very well,” I replied. “Well, what was your problem?” the old bird asked. I said, “Everything we did was wrong. Those birds gave us a whoopin.”

He smiled and then laughed out loud. “You know, those birds are getting smarter,” he went on to say.

“Smarter?” I said. “It seems like they know everything we try to do.”

“They should,” he said.

I replied, “What do you mean they should?”

“You see, I taught most of those birds what to do,” said the old timer.

“What do you mean, YOU taught those birds?” I asked.

“Well, I teach a class at Rooster School on how to avoid hunters.”

“Whoa there sport,” I said and set down my beer. (Was I on my second or third one? I can’t be feeling the hops already I thought.) I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. Some old bird was giving me a line of BS about something called Rooster School. Who’s he kidding? I was about to shove him off his bar stool for making fun of me. But, I decided to listen to his story telling a little more and asked him to tell me about his “school.”

The wily old boy loosened the white ring of his collar and began to tell me about the principles that he taught in his Rooster School 101.

Here they are:

  • Take it easy until October 1. Eat, drink, and be merry while you can.
  • Fly away from any noise that you hear, even it is 500 yards away.
  • Watch out for strange cars. Fly away from any car that passes on the road. There might be guns in there.
  • Any time you see some bozos stumbling around in blaze orange, it means trouble. They are out to get you.
  • Run like hell for the far end of a shelterbelt and get the hell out of there ASAP if the blaze orange guys start walking through the woods. They ain’t there to pick berries.
  • If there are hunters at the far end of the shelterbelt, get up and fly at least seventy yards before you get to the end of the shelterbelt. Those dumb hunters will probably stand 30 yards to either side of the shelterbelt thinking they will be able to cut you off. But, you can see that blaze orange a mile away. So, get out of there while you can.
  • If those guys have a dog, run like hell. If they don’t have a dog, just sit tight. The impatient hunters will walk right around you! They ain’t too smart and they can’t smell a skunk!
  • If, for some reason, you haven’t followed all this advice, try to get something between you and the hunter. If the hunter is on one side of a tree or bush, flush directly opposite the tree so that the hunter only gets branches when he shoots. Likewise, if the hunter walks on one side of a railroad grade or shelterbelt, flush on the other side and stay loooow.
  • While they are chasing you around tall grass and in wood lots, wait for them to make a high step over a fence or stump, then flush. They will be off balance and won’t be able to shoot you. Or, wait for them to duck under a low hanging branch. That’s the time to say, “Adios, amigo.”
  • If there are a number of you caught in the grass, flush all at once. One of you might get shot, but the hunter will be so flustered by a mass flush that he will be lucky if he gets more than one of you.
  • Don’t get too far away from grass that is at least a foot tall. Once you get in there, you are 99% safe.
  • Learn to read! If there are signs on the farmer’s fence posts, you are pretty safe. Just make sure the hunter doesn’t drive into the farmer’s yard. That could mean trouble. If he does, leave right away. If he doesn’t turn into the driveway, just turn your ass toward the hunter and peck away at some seeds. That will really piss ’em off. There ain’t no taunting penalties in this game.
  • You can also taunt from the top of hay bales when they are 60 yards from the road.
  • You can lounge around the farmer’s house because hunters can’t shoot within 400 yards of the house without permission.
  • If one of those smart hunters (oxymoron) is starting to remove your escape options, wait for him to step on you and then flush. It will scare the wits out of him and he will likely blow the shot.
  • Finally, find the orneriest old farmer in the county who doesn’t like hunters and concentrate at his place. The hunters will probably not even ask for permission to hunt at his place. All those hunters seem to know who those ornery old coots are. The word gets around on the Internet.

I was stunned. Even though the “professor” sounded pretty cocky, he had virtually told the story of our day. That’s about how it happened. Every trick he told about is what we saw.

I shoved my empty glass into a line with the four others that were there already. I thought that I needed to get out of this place. Those brewskis were messing with my mind.

I told the professor that I had to go and catch up with my buddies. I turned and sort of wobbled toward the door. But, I turned back toward the bar and said, “Hey, I didn’t catch your name.” The cocky old boy said his name was Wiley – Wiley Rewster.

Hmm. Never heard of him, I thought. He must teach at the University of Mary. But, he does know his stuff. Could it be he was telling me the truth? No way. How could he teach all those pheasants out there? That was impossible.

This guy was really bugging me now. I walked back toward the bar and went nose to beak with this old bird. I said, “How do you get the word out to all those birds? You can’t possibly get around to all of them!”

“E-mail,” he cackled. “I have a correspondence school on the Internet.”

Then, he hopped off the stool and headed for the door. On his way out, the back of his gaudy coat parted and a long tail was revealed. Just like that, he vanished.

He left me there dumbfounded – just like I had been all afternoon chasing those educated pheasants.

E-mail? Internet? Wiley Rewster? “Nah, the guys will never believe this.” I need to quit drinking at the Comfort Inn. There’s a little too much BS flying in that place. I’m going to the Elk’s next time I need refreshment after a day in the field.


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