Story told through hunting dog’s perspective
By Kristen Miller
COKATO, MN Sixteen-year-old Kimberly Moy of Cokato was pleasantly surprised when she found out her short story had won the 2009 Outdoor News Youth Writing Contest this past December.
“Another Pheasant Tale,” which won first place in the senior prose category, is different than any story told by the average human hunter. This particular hunting tale is told through the eye’s of a four-legged, tail-wagging hunter named Chessy.
Chessy is a brown Chesapeake Lab who is always ready for a good hunt, according to Moy, who decided to make him the narrator of her short story.
The Moys picked out Chessy while at The Country Store in Howard Lake for a petting zoo.
In “Another Pheasant Tale,” Moy shares what a hunting story might sound like if told by her dog.
The tale begins: “I wobbled on my paws as I paced to and fro in the back end of the old, grey pickup while it bounced down the uneven dirt road. I was shaking with excitement when it wheezed to a stop. We were going hunting, had to be, that was the only time I ever got to ride in the truck.”
This is the third year Moy has submitted a writing for this particular contest, hosted by the Minnesota outdoors publication.
She wrote the first copy in June, and revised it in September.
Before sending the story off in November, Moy debated whether or not it was the right story to submit, or if she should write a different story instead.
“I didn’t think it would win,” Moy said, whose story was chosen among 180 entries.
It was her younger sister, Rebecca, who convinced her that “Another Pheasant Tale” did have a shot at winning. It was also Rebecca who picked out Chessy at The Country Store four years earlier.
“I liked how it was told through the dog’s perspective,” Rebecca commented.
“The story isn’t about [Kimberly], it’s about the dog,” she added.
The story is actually based on two different hunting trips that Moy combined into one, she said.
For the first part of the story, Moy describes the emotion Chessy may have felt when he realized he was going hunting.
During this particular outing, Moy and her father, Michael, were going hunting at the home of a family friend who also happened to have a dog. Chessy seemed concerned he would be left in the truck while the other dog got to go hunting instead.
“He got upset because he thought we were going to leave him behind,” Moy explained.
Moy described Chessy’s jealousy: “There was another dog here! I stared out the window, squinting as he came into view.
“‘No,’ I whined as I jumped around in the back. ‘Don’t leave me and take him. Please, I promise I’ll be good’. . .”
“She dropped the tailgate, I leapt out and was right up in that dog’s face in a split second. He was not coming with if I had anything to do with it! We exchanged fightin’ words, but as he attempted to attack, he was dragged off by a strange man and locked in a truck.”
“Satisfied, I followed the man and girl down a field driveway, rushing here, and dashing there to roll on a dead sparrow, pee on a dirt clod, and rub my face in the snow.”
“He gets so excited just to go hunting,” Moy said. “He barks at 9 a.m. every morning, ever since hunting season started. Now it’s over, but he hasn’t got the concept yet,” she added.
Sometimes when out hunting, Chessy gets too excited and runs ahead of Moy and her father.
“My dad will ask Chessy if he has a gun,” she said, which is told in her hunting tale.
“‘Chessy!’ the man called. I turned and glanced back at him. Couldn’t he see that I was getting the birds? I bolted into the trees immediately busting up a roost. Three birds burst out and soured into the sky. One bird cackled midflight, and I knew it was a boy. ‘Shoot! Shoot!’ I thought as I chased after them waiting to hear a deadly band, but there was only the flapping of wings. I looked at the man and girl; the looked disgusted.
“‘Chessy, come here!’ the man demanded, but I could smell another bird, so I dashed into the trees. ‘Hey!’ I yelped as I was zapped with a string of electricity. I raced to them and sat down pouting.
“‘Do you have a gun? Huh? Did you shoot the bird?’ the man asked me. I just stared back. ‘I didn’t think so! Stay by us!’ the man warned.”
For the second part of the story, Moy describes what it’s like to hear a bird under the brush, but not be able find it.
“We slowly made our way back through the trees . . . The cattails were thick and snow-coated. I couldn’t smell anything, and decided rather than break my own path I would just follow the man. We trudged on, my feet growing cold as ice froze between my toes. I was getting thirsty and hungry. Where were the birds?
“As if it was answering my questions a whiff of pheasant filled my nose. I broke off the path darting through cattails. It was growing stronger. Here, no, there! I leapt into the heart of the smell, a clump of weeds expecting a bird, but it was empty.
“Suddenly, I heard a rustle in the underbrush. The bird! I bulldozed that direction, and the bird burst into the sky. My heart flipped from my mouth to my stomach as I chased it up.
“‘Rooster!’ the man hollered. I heard one explosion, then another.
“‘I got him!’ the girl yelled. I had heard him hit the ground and was already trucking in that direction. I circled once, twice, three times. Where was he? ‘Concentrate Chessy,’ I told myself. ‘Oh, there he is!’ I pounced on him, already stone dead, and carried him to the girl.
“‘Give,’ she coaxed, pulling at the bird, ‘Give!’ I held firm. ‘Chessy give!’ she demanded pulling my lower jaw and yanking out the bird. ‘Got him!’ she yelled. ‘Good boy Chessy,’ she praised as she scratched my ears. I stood there for a moment, enjoying my moment in the sun, then darted off to find another bird.”
Moy won first place in the senior prose category which will go on to be entered into the Outdoor Writers’ Association of America’s annual writing contest, based out of Montana.
Moy also received $100, which she plans to save to someday purchase a Beretta 12-gauge semi-automatic gun.
She began hunting at the age of 10 and really enjoys pheasant hunting, but also hunts duck, rabbit, and squirrel.
“Shooting a pheasant doesn’t happen very often,” she said. “I’m a very poor shot.”
Moy’s first pheasant can be seen mounted on her bedroom wall, which she did herself for a class project.
Hunting to kill isn’t necessarily why she likes to hunt, though.
“I like how you don’t have to kill a bird in order to have a good hunt,” Moy said.
“I like the time you get to spend in nature and spending time with my dad,” she added.