That’s my son John with the only rooster we shot the day after Thanksgiving. Gordon has a grip on Jed, who pointed the rooster John shot. Our host Peter Kasper is on the left.


It was beautiful day, we found a few birds, Jed did very well, and best of all I got to hunt with both my sons and their friend. That’s plenty to be grateful for right there. The days after Thanksgiving are among the biggest on the hunting calendar where I live. When more people were pheasant hunting, just getting on a good place the day after the holiday was hard to do – which reminds me of a story.

Some people are magnets for friendly landowners and invitations to hunt out of the blue. For whatever reason, I am not. However, one year I rashly promised a friend to whom I owed a hunt that I would take him to a good pheasant spot the day after Thanksgiving. I started calling landowners early in the week. Every one had family or hunters coming. Thanksgiving day I admitted defeat. Before I called my friend to tell him the bad news, my phone rang.

It was Dale, one of my neighbors from when I lived in the country.

“I just finished picking my corn,” he said. “I’ve got some guys from Michigan coming this weekend. If you want to be the first person to hunt my place this year, you better get here tomorrow.”

We did. Pheasants are very disoriented the day after the corn comes out, and we had a short, noisy hunt to be thankful for.