As the first of the 150 pheasants rose from concealing evergreens on top of the hill and flew with the wind, many of the hunters deployed below Van Alen's Hill at Millbrook, N.Y. thought: "This is going to be murder." A solid line of fire awaited the birds from a dozen or more "butts" placed in the field below. This was shooting in the English style of "driven birds," staged by John S. Martin at Wingover Shoots on the Separate Game Farm; and for the hunters it held surprises.
The pheasants found freedom in a quick burst of speed, then coasted on set wings, dropping tantalizingly toward the waiting guns. There was an outburst of firing—but not a bird fell. It looked easy; but the gunners, like many a Briton before them, learned the hard way that an incoming pheasant is one of the most deceiving of targets.
Wingover offers paying hunters a double chance during the long preserve season—a hill shoot in the morning and conventional field-shooting afterward—and the participants got their money's worth on this day. Not all of the pheasants released on that first flight fared so well. Hard-pressed gunners remembered to take going-away shots which were easier than the crossing and dropping pheasants. Then, to vary the pace, 50 chukar partridges were flung from the hill.
After lunch, the party took to the field for the more conventional hunting (see next page). By the end of the day 79% of the birds were recovered.
January 10, 1955
Tossed pheasant hurtles upward and away from release point on hill at left.
Racing pheasant streaks for the woods and briefly offers a crossing shot to waiting "gun" below.
Pressed shooter gets set to fire second gun as loader attends to his first. This is Sportsman Laddie Sanford and wife.
Famed shot Eltinge P. Warner, a bird hunter for half a century, concentrated on the pheasants that others failed to hit.
Decapitated bird, result of knowing shot at close range, is shown by Grad Sears, retired president of United Artists.
Field-shot birds which were part of the afternoon-hunt bag are carried by Jackson Schultz, who managed the day's shoot.
GUNNERS AND DOGS ROAM THE FIELDS SURROUNDING THE HILL IN A FINAL HUNT. MANY BIRDS ESCAPED INTO COUNTRYSIDE