We saw the hunter before we saw the pheasant—a man far off down the trail, bright orange hat, rifle in hand, walking towards us. Then we saw the bird. It stepped deliberately near and ahead of us, towards the hunter and directly along an invisible line between where we came from and where the hunter was heading, as if we three, my brother and I and the pheasant, had gone for a stroll together, the pheasant a friend of the family taking a slow constitutional with us after dinner. My brother waved at the hunter, to be sure we—not just the bird—had been seen. We had. We got a measured nod, as if to both acknowledge us and to compliment the pheasant on its skill, and then the hunter abruptly veered off the trail; a dog, his dog, had found something to flag in the brush. A sharp exhale (I’d been holding my breath), and then a look down at a tangle of soft color. I'd found a scattered handful of torn feathers—stiff contour feathers and downy semiplumes—from another pheasant. There was a small smear of blood at the base of one shaft. I looked up at my brother just in time to see our friend startle, dart away.