The Guinea Hen: or how I Went on an African Safari Just Down the Street
December 2nd, 2009

           Back in August of 2007, a grave pestilence besieged a neighbor's house. This man lives at the end of a small peninsula and a Guinea Hen had taken up residence on his property. For the first few days this creature was a curiosity. It had a shrieking call we'd never heard before, a striking plumage, and a strenuous way of bobbing its head when it ran. It looked very much like a gray basketball with legs and a head.

           By the third day its presence was getting a little annoying. It would charge you out of the blue, it started shrieking around 5 in the morning, and it had laid waste to the wife's flower beds while looking for food. The Guinea Hen also spent a good part of the day pecking and squawking at its reflection on the hubcaps of my neighbor's truck.

           A bounty of 25 dollars was put on the brute's head; wanted dead or alive. Another neighbor's grandkids tried to catch it, but failed. Other neighbors tried with the same result. Finally they called me to try. I agreed, and did some research to understand what kind of quarry I'd be pitting my wits against.

           The Guinea Hen is native to Africa, so I figured this was most definitely a dangerous animal to hunt. I would imagine hunting the Guinea Hen to be roughly on par with hunting Lions, Cape Buffalo, and Elephants. More than a few men have ventured to take a Guinea Hen and didn't live to tell the tale. These are wry, unpredictable animals that will gore one in a moment of lost concentration.

           I decided to try a method of "Persistence Hunting," which is how natives in Africa have hunted animals for thousands of years. I would try to chase it to exhaustion and then catch it with a crab net. I ran and ran, but as much as I tried the blasted bird outran me. Whenever I got close enough to net it, the fowl would fly to the top of the nearest tree and shriek at me. The only thing being exhausted in this venture was myself.

           I had nearly resigned myself to getting out the .460 Weatherby and dispatching the beast, but I said to myself, "If I can't outrun it, surely I can outsmart it." The Guinea Hen's head looks like it could house a brain the size of a grape, and with those limited faculties I figured that I of all people should be able to catch it without throwing bits of high speed lead at it.

           Emboldened by my epiphany, I set off on another chase. This time I chased the bird towards the house and into the garage. The Guinea Hen realized its predicament and leapt into the air. It made a curving arc around the back of the garage and started back out. I cut to the left to block the bird and it swooped right. I swung my crab net like a tennis racket and caught it in mid-flight! I quickly brought the squawking bird to the ground and stuffed it into a bushel basket and slipped on the lid.

           With that I presented the caged bird to the neighbor, cooly pocketed the bounty, and headed home victorious from my safari.

Deadly Guinea Hen
The deadly Guinea Hen preparing to attack