Thursday, February 17, 2011

Recreational Hunting Project Gone Wrong!


Sometimes the best intentions do not always work out the way that you want them to.  I am going to go on record and say that I really wish this project would have worked!  Being a wing shooter at heart, I would have loved the opportunity to chase a larger game bird here in the deep South much like my friends in the Great West get to chase their beloved pheasants!  However the project that I am about to reveal to you did not work, and us Southern boys are still chasing doves, quail and ducks to get our wing shooting fix.

Fitzgerald Georgia is a unique little town with a great deal of history.  You can read a little about our unique history in the post in which I met a challenge by The Downeast Duck Hunter to post some old pictures with captions about our past.  We are truly a town to be studied if you are a Civil War buff.  Sadly though, Fitzgerald has become more famous over the past few years for another thing all together.  We have been on the national news, featured in magazines and even shown on The Price is Right wearing a T-shirt proclaiming our town's "claim to fame".  What have we done you might ask?  Have we embarked in a great industry that will benefit millions?  Nope.  Have we uncovered a medical cure that could save lives across America?  Nope.  Have we been named the number one small town in The USA?  Nope.  What could it possibly be that would garner such national attention???

Brace yourselves now!!!!!..................We have chickens!!!!!!

Yep, we have wild chickens that roam our downtown area and weave in and out of parked cars as they make their way to and fro from the medians that divide our streets.  They live in back yards and flower beds of homes in the downtown area and they have started to make their way to homes on the outskirts of town.  These wild chickens are actually Burmese Jungle Fowl and are really quite pretty.  The rooster shown here is full of color and has a lot of personality.  The hens are mostly dark colored and smaller.  They have shorter tail feathers.  How did they get here?  Well that's the direct result of a hunting project gone wrong.

You can read a little about the project here on the City of Fitzgerald's website or you can just stick with me and I'll fill you in.  Back in the 1960's the Georgia DNR decided to try and release these Jungle fowl into the South Georgia habitat in hopes that they would become a game bird that could be hunted by Georgia shotgunners.  I guess you could call them a poor man's pheasant.  A group was released just up the road near the Ocmulgee River.  Well these guys didn't take to the South Georgia countryside to well and they decided to move to town.  Less foxes, coyotes and hawks to deal with would probably be my guess as to why they decided to take in the lights of the greater downtown Fitzgerald area!  Apparently downtown Fitzgerald is the perfect habitat for these Jungle fowl because they have been here now for over 30 years and they seem to be thriving.  It is hard to ride down any street without seeing several chickens just doing what they do.  The people of Fitzgerald either love them or hate them.  I for one like the little guys as long as they are not in my yard.  They can tear a flower bed up in a heartbeat. 

These chickens tend to stay downtown and tourist who may be visiting our fair city just love to take pictures and follow them around.  They are fairly use to people by now and they will let you get close enough to take a nice profile shot.  Just don't mess with a Mama who has here bitties with her.  My son found that out at a very young age.  My mother had taken him to play in one of the City parks on a pretty summer day.  He decided that he wanted to chase a chicken and struck out after the wrong one.  The mama hen turned on him and ran his little behind back screaming for his life.  You don't want to mess with a Rooster either.  We have one that lives here on the grounds at the bank.  I have gotten pretty close to him and he has spurs that I'm guessing are about 1 1/2 inches.  He could do some damage.  No neighborhood cat or dog wants anything to do with them for that very reason!

So Georgia's game bird project moved to town where its only enemies now are on-coming traffic.  I'm not sure that the Jungle Fowl sport hunting project would have taken hold anyway.  I have been told by several people who have tried to make this bird dinner fare on one occasion or the other that they taste nothing like chicken and are not worth wasting your time to prepare.

So come visit Fitzgerald so that you can learn about the Colony City where Union and Rebel soldiers united in harmony after the Civil War and where you can also see the World Famous Burmese Jungle Fowl of Georgia in what is now its natural habitat!!

Got to go!  There is a chicken tearing up my flower bed!!

11 comments:

jmluckie said...

Go ahead and count me as a hater of the fowl creatures.I had 12 make that 11 in my flower bed yesterday.

Trey said...

Like I said, as long as they are in YOUR flower bed....

Ian Nance said...

Key West is overrun with wild chickens....they are everywhere. I believe they started trapping them not too long ago

Jan said...

I was at Lin's this past weekend and her chickens do love her flower bed and up under low bushes. Guess that is where the good grub is! She is worried about the summer because she usually spends lots of time making her bed really pretty...on the other hand, she is going to have plenty to keep her busy once July gets here!!
This is a great story!

Linsey said...

This is great!!! Right this very moment, all of my pine straw is outside of my flower beds! If my chicks weren't giving me seven eggs a day, I might be more frustrated than I already am. You need to get those hens to lay you some eggs!

Alex said...

Who knew? You should be nominated as Man of the Year by the Fitzgerald Chamber of Commerce. Got me wanting to visit!

Trey said...

Jan and Lin- I have been telling Ash that she needs some of these Fitzgerald Chickens. They already know how to live in town and they could teach her other chickens how to fend off the local dog population!

Alex- Here Here!!! I do what I can!

LB @ BulletsandBiscuits said...

What a great story...I love it! I can just picture your son screaming at the top of his lungs, pumping his little legs back to mom-mom...aahhhhhh!

We grew up around geese....and pretty much my brother and I learned the hard way about messing with momma's goslings

Trey said...

LB- He doesn't chase chickens anymore, that's for sure!

CHERI said...

I like the roosters, but not in my yard and not crowing at 6:00 in the morning!

Molly said...

Aw!! I like chickens! I need to come see the fitzgerald chickens. I don't remember seeing them in person... ever. now that is sad! Love the new picture!!