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Rare Birds Sighted in Saskatchewan

Craig Koshyk

Ah yes, Saskatchewan.
It's where God hunts when he gets a day off.

To kick off the 2009 hunting season, I headed west. My destination was a small town in an area that is fast becoming a mecca for Hun hunters. It is in Saskatchewan near *******, just past ####### and a few mile before ^^^^^

Note: if the names of the towns above do not appear in plain text on your computer it is because you lack the proper security clearance for such highly sensitive hunting information. If you would like to learn the secret handshake and decode the names please send two bottles of single malt whiskey to my home address.

I was after Huns and Sharptail grouse with a K9 crew consisting of Souris, Uma, Henri and Maizie. Now most hunters know that Hungarian Partridges are not native to North America. Nor are pheasants. Both birds were introduced to the US and Canada in the late 1800's. Sharptails of course are native birds and we managed to see quite a few of them and their foreign cousins during the hunt.

Surprisingly, we also came across two other species of bird that are considered extremely rare. One, like the pheasant, is originally from China, but has learned to thrive in the harsh Canadian climate. Its Latin name is Benihong Maximus and it looks like this:

Note the regal bearing and colourful plummage. Commonly referred to as the Ben Hong, this Asian raptor is a clever bird, always on the lookout for its main quarry: fresh brewed coffee and tobacco. It is quite a vocal species, fluent in at least three languages with a lovely sing-song way of telling fascinating tales and memorable anecdotes.

The other rare bird we came across was the Donisteese Americana. It looks like this:

Known for forming a unique symbiotic relationship with certain types of canines, many Don Steese birds prefer dogs of German origin. This may be due to the fact that despite Americana being part of its latin name, the species originated in Europe and made its way to this side of the Atlantic on the Mayflower. The Don Steese is known for a beautiful baritone call which it keeps in tip top shape by gargling regularly with fine Bourbon.

I should probably mention that Saskatchewan is one of only a handful of jurisdictions in the world that has an open season on both the Benihong Maximus and the Donisteese Americana. The limit is 1 each per hunter per season. Despite the fact that both birds were well within range when I spotted them, I passed on the opportunity. Seeing them thriving happily in their natural environment was enough for me.

And besides, I hear they taste like liver.