Friday, September 5, 2014


Every year, Barack and his friends looked forward to their favourite hobby: pheasant hunting. They couldn't wait for the months to pass until, finally, pheasant hunting season was only a few days away. Barack called his good friends David, Francois, Angela and even little Stephen, the smallest of the group, and invited them to join him on the first day of the pheasant hunt. Barack told them he'd get his pick-up truck, the most expensive and fancy of all of the friends' vehicles, and load it up with enough ammunition and supplies to ensure a great day of hunting. The friends agreed and the date was set.

Early on the morning of the start of pheasant hunting season, Barack gathered all the supplies and put them into the truck. There was plenty of food and water, because it promised to be a very long day of fun. He made sure there was a good GPS system, because the woods were vast and deep and they didn't want to get lost. He made sure that there was a safety kit for the truck and a first aid kit for the friends, in case of accidents. And he made sure there was plenty of ammunition for the hunt.

Barack picked up his friends David, Francois, Angela and Stephen one by one. It was still very early, the sun hadn't even appeared on the horizon yet. All the friends were excited and chattered endlessly about all the fun they were going to have. They drove many miles out of the city and into the countryside. As the sun was just coming up over the eastern horizon, they arrived at their destination, at the edge of a large forest.

Barack and his friends got out of the truck and began to unload their supplies for their day of fun in the woods. They put on their camouflage suits and hats, painted their faces to blend into the bush, and loaded their backpacks with food, water, first aid and lots and lots of ammunition. Then, they took out their shotguns and made sure they were safe and secure: gun safety was of the utmost importance for them. At last they were ready.

They walked alongside each other in a straight line, about 10 feet apart from each other. They had their orange safety vests on and agreed that they would stay within sight of each other at all times. Barack had a whistle and it was agreed that, when he blew it, they would safe their guns and gather towards him for a meeting. All was in readiness.

When they were 10 feet away from the edge of the bush, they began to load their shotguns. With a final nod to each other, they entered the bush. When they had taken three steps inside the forest, they raised their guns to their shoulders and fired off a blast ahead of them. They took another three steps and blasted again. They reloaded, continued to walk three steps and blasted into the forest. The noise and power of their shooting shook the forest to its core. This went on for four or five hours. Finally, Barack blew his whistle and the friends ceased fire and gathered to where Barack stood.

They agreed to stop and have some lunch and drink some water. A couple of the friends had some minor cuts and scrapes from walking through the dense bush and so the first aid kits came out. After the cuts were bandaged, and the lunch eaten, the friends checked their supply of ammunition and found they had quite a bit left. So they agreed that they would continue the hunt for another couple of hours. They reloaded, got back into their line and continued walking into the bush, firing off blasts from their shotguns every three steps. After another couple of hours, Barack blew his whistle and they gathered to discuss their fun day. There was very little ammunition left, so they decided to use their GPS and go back to where the truck was parked.

As they walked back, they searched the ground that they had covered. Several dead squirrels, chipmunks, porcupines, even a couple of possums, and dozens of songbirds were found, almost blown apart by the shotgun blasts. But, alas, no pheasant was found among the dead animals. Many trees had blast holes in their trunks, and branches and boughs littered the forest floor.

When the friends arrived back at Barack's truck, they agreed that, while it had been a fun day, they were disappointed that they had not killed a pheasant. No problem, they reasoned. Tomorrow was another day, and the forest was vast. They would do it all again the next day at a different location. And so they did. They were picked up early the next morning in Barack's truck, re-supplied with food, water, first aid and ammunition, and walked into the new section of forest, blasting with their shotguns every three steps in, and did this for most of the daylight hours. When they walked out, retracing their steps, they found more dead small animals and more blast marks on the trees ... but no pheasant.

No matter, they decided. Pheasant season stretched for many weeks yet. They would do this every day until they killed a pheasant. And, sure enough, early in the morning, every day, they drove in Barack's truck to a different part of the vast forest, re-stocked with supplies, and repeated their hunting method. They killed many small animals, but did not kill a single pheasant.

Finally, on the last day of the season, the friends met at the last part of the forest they hadn't yet hunted. They were a little discouraged, but nevertheless went into the bush with high hopes. They blasted into the bush every three steps for the usual ten or twelve hours, then retraced their steps to go back to Barack's truck, parked on the edge of the forest. At last, just before they emerged from the forest darkness, they found a dead pheasant. They hoisted the body of the bird above their heads, cheered loudly and declared the hunting season a roaring success.

Later that evening, Barack was relaxing at home with his lovely wife, Michelle. He was very tired from a long day, indeed a long season of exerting himself in the hunt. But he was immensely proud and satisfied of his success, along with his friends. Michelle was sitting beside him and asked him if the last day of the hunt had been fun and successful.

"Yes, it was. We killed a pheasant today. All our hunting skill paid off!" Barack said excitedly.

"So that's it, then, is it?" Michelle asked. "You killed the only pheasant in the forest?"

"Oh no," said Barack. "There must be several more pheasants in the forest. But we'll have to wait until next year to get them."

"Hmm," said Michelle thoughtfully. "I'm glad you finally got your pheasant, but it took a long time. And how much do you think it cost to get it? You know, you used a lot of gas in the truck, ate a lot of food and drank a lot of water. And the ammunition ... how much ammunition did you use?"

Barack thought about it a minute and added it all up. He had to admit to his wife that it cost thousands upon thousands of dollars to get the pheasant.

"Well, that's OK, I guess," Michelle said. "But I wonder if there is a better way?"

Barack had to admit that she had a point. He immediately picked up the phone and called David, Francois, Angela and even little Stephen on conference call and summarized his talk with Michelle. They agreed that there had to be a better way to kill next year's pheasant.

"I know," said Barack. "We should get a hunting dog. He can pick up the pheasant's scent, flush it out and we could shoot the bird as it sprang up out of the bush."

The friends liked the sound of it, but wondered where they could get such a dog. Barack thought about it for a long time and finally spoke.

"I don't know right now. But we will take our time and search high and low to find the right dog. When we find one, we will spend whatever we need to train the dog, lean how to hunt with him, and get ready for next year. That way, we will save money, kill more pheasants, and not shoot up the whole forest. That is what we will do. It will take much time, but we'll do it."

The friends agreed. And that is what they did. The hunt went very well the following year. Many, many pheasants were killed, but very few of the other animals were hit. The trees were not blasted apart as much either. And the hunt only took about half the season until every last pheasant had been killed. Barack and his friends were satisfied with the hunt, but knew, deep down inside, that, even though there were no more pheasants left in this forest to hunt, there were many more forests in the country that were full of pheasants that needed to be killed. They looked at one another with knowing glances and smiled broadly.

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