Summer 2017 Feature: Huns on the Edge
An excerpt from Huns on the Edge…It’s hard to tell how many birds are in the covey.
A flurry of stubby wing beats and raspy calls, the Hungarian partridge flush then sail across a Saskatchewan wheat field lifting slightly to cross a fence. They angle toward the edge of a distant swale of thick grass and land haphazardly like pebbles tossed into a pond. Are there a dozen? Maybe more? The number doesn’t really matter. What does, though, is the fact that I missed.
Walking back to the truck, I catch the eye of my good friend Mark Smith who made the trip from Georgia to southeastern Saskatchewan. “They looked good from where I was at,” he says, “but maybe they were a bit far?”
They were good. Disappointingly good.
As a product of South Dakota, I’m no stranger to Hungarian partridge. In fact, the first nonnative upland bird stuffed somewhat awkwardly into my game bag was a “Hun” rather than the ubiquitous ring-necked pheasant, thus helping link these bundles of gray and chestnut brown feathers to the very start of my days as an upland hunter. Unfortunately, at least at
home, encounters with Huns are often more happenstance than born of any plan.