Getting back into the swing of my daily walks along Wildcat Boulevard has been a challenge. I gradually increased my range until I was back walking the entire one hour and 20 minutes each day.

Getting back into the swing of my daily walks along Wildcat Boulevard has been a challenge. I gradually increased my range until I was back walking the entire one hour and 20 minutes each day.
I was thinking about Chinese ring-necked pheasants one day. Pheasants do not live in our area of Missouri. They survive best on lands that have been disturbed by the glaciers of the Ice Ages millions of years ago.
Pheasants were brought to this country in 1881as a game bird. The birds were brought to Washington state, where they thrived. In time, they were introduced to many other parts of the United States. They reached their peak in numbers in the place where I was raised—Southwest Minnesota in the 1940s and 1950s.
These were times when their were millions of small fields, each one bordered by permanent fences. There were many sloughs and wetlands which were not farmed or even touched by farmers. Pheasants loved this type of habitat. I recall how hunters from Minneapolis/St. Paul came to hunt on our land. Some days they would fill their limits by mid-afternoon. Many pheasants lived on our land which was only 160 acres.
The hunters always left at least one rooster for my mother. She liked pheasant as a main dish on Sunday after church.
  Although the pheasant population was not as large as it once was, I hunted many pheasants when I was a youngster. We had a .410 single shotgun that Grandpa Hively traded for when my dad was a child. It was only a single shot, but I was able to bring down pheasants when I hunted.
I hunted alone near the slough south of our farmstead. Sometimes I would meet the neighborhood kid from the other side of the slough and we hunted together. We had no dogs and each of us carried a single shot .410.
One time, when I was in high school, a group of cousins and their friends from Minneapolis/St. Paul came down to hunt pheasants. There were eight of us hunting together that day.
A cousin had scouted out good places for us to hunt. One place was the dry stream bed that ran in the corner of two fields. We began walking the area, and the sky exploded with cock pheasants. In all we took 18 birds out off a couple acres.
The last wild bird I took home for dinner was shot early one Sunday morning on Grandpa Hively’s land. He had several sloughs way back on his 80 acres. I drove back to a slough, got the .410 out of my car, and had walked into the slough only about 50 feet, before a pheasant exploded into the air. Ma had her Sunday dinner.
I have hunted ring-necked pheasants at 4 B’s over by Wheaton. They furnish a dog, and I now have an automatic 12 gauge shotgun. The major difference I see between wild birds and those raised for hunting is that wild ones are much nosier.
Take a walk, realize all introduced animal species are not bad, use you signal lights, drive with your lights on, and see what you notice while passing along Wildcat Boulevard.  
 
 Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.