Now, to say this hunt did not go to plan just would not do justice to the debacle that unfolded. But I'll get to that.
What I'll truly remember about this hunt is the near perfect silence. Despite the close quarters with my two brothers, a noisy ass useless dog, that odd south wind, and the constant chatter of quail and other birds in the pines, what I remember is the sound of my own deliberate, slow breathing as my boots snapped through piles of quail cover, pine needles, and little branches. Looking to either side and seeing my brothers walk with me - the first time we've all spent outdoors together since March, 2011.
Breathe in, breathe out. Listen for wing beats. Look for flushing birds. Listen for the dog. Watch the other hunters. Eyes open. Ears open. Mouth shut.
That silence was punctuated, rarely, by a deadly shot on a flying bird. And we did kill several. More often, though, that quiet serenity was punctuated by our cursing, when the dog (a guide's dog, mind you) ran ahead of us and flushed quail at 100, then 200, then 250 yards. Or by our guide's explanation that "she's gonna do a partial retrieve on this one," and as if on command, the stupid dog spit out the quail 25 feet in front of me, and the dog stared at me as the quail hauled ass out of there, behind her, so I couldn't shoot.
The hunt became an exercise in keeping my mouth shut, my temper in check, and trying to pay close attention to any possible wild birds that had not been spooked by the dumb ass dog. It was a good exercise.
|Such a nice dog! Useless. But nice.|
|The dog refused to go in the briars, but|
Tug wanted that bird.
If we were Yankee Shooters, could he have at least run out there and put some dumb farm raised quail around for us, instead of these busted up, mega-spooky wild birds that have obviously had some kind of past dust-up with the guide's busted ass bird dog? Yeah - in that case I definitely want the Yankee Shooter package!
|Yankeh Shootah Package includes Pro Staff gear|
and 100 deaf, blind quail
I mean, let's go double down on this Yankee Shooter thing. Perhaps our guide could have had pen-raised quail with tiny confederate flags bombard us with tiny cannons in our sleep, and then as they tried to retreat across a tiny quail bridge, we could have blown it up and slaughtered them mercilessly. Our guide's dog could have played the role of General Sherman, just tearing through the whole damn setup and leveling it without doing any good in the process.
At any rate, when it was all said and done, it sure was a fun way to spend a balmy afternoon. Loblollies, millet, sorghum, and acre upon acre of CREP buffers, funded by your support of the USDA Farm Bill. Great bird habitat, and a great place to be, and ten times out of ten, I still wouldn't trade the experience.
|Go, Dumbass, Go!|