If you miss the glory days of pheasant hunting, or have a youngster that you would like to expose to wing shooting, consider booking a hunt.

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A most precious gift
(Fall 2007 issue of Valley Outdoors)
BY LARRY HENDRICKS Outdoor Writer

Valley Outdoors/Larry Hendricks (Outdoor Writer) Ringnect Pheasant     The time was last November and with Christmas just around the corner I'd been trying to decide on the perfect gift for my father. After racking my brain for weeks I finally decided I'd book him a pheasant hunt at Dry Valley Farm, a local hunting preserve. After all, my father has always had a passion for wing shooting and with growing problems with arthritis, whether I wish to admit it or not, it's getting harder for him to spend time afield. Tangled grass and brush simply have become tougher for him to walk through so why not book a hunt for him, myself, my wife, and my daughter while we could all still enjoy it.
     No matter how busy he was, Dad always made time to take me hunting and fishing while I was growing up. These trips have left me with a lifetime of great memories and this was going to be my chance to, in some small way, return the favor.

Shown here is the Hendricks family with an afternoon's bag of both rooster and hen pheasants.

     Arriving at the farm we began assembling our gear when my father turned to me and said, "Here, take this, I want you to have it." When I finally realized he was presenting me with his favorite shotgun, it left me speechless. Here was the man that I admired more than any other giving me the gun that he had carried on the majority of his hunts for the past thirty years. Choking up, I told him that while I certainly wanted the gun because of all the fine memories it brought up I wasn't going to deprive him of it. Honestly, the man could have offered me the deed to his home and it couldn't have touched me more. Not willing to take no for an answer, my father insisted that I take the gun, telling me he had plenty of others.
     Sitting here this morning writing this I find my eyes traveling back and forth over what to me will always be "Dad's gun". Every little nick and dent in the stock are a testament to many fine days spent together in the field. Though this gun is certainly a great and very much appreciated gift, as a father myself I can't help but see the truly "best gift of all" were the times Dad and I spent together that this gun represents.

     Thanks Dad. I wish I could say more, but I know what words won't pass on, you already know.

   Regulated hunting preserves such as Dry Valley Farm offer hunters a chance to experience pheasant hunting similar to what it was in it's heyday during the 1960's.

(Larry Hendricks is an avid outdoorsman from Union County)
Other stories: Family pheasant fun      Bird Hunter's Paradise
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