Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kansas Day 1- Birds 7, Me 0 (This is Hunting, not Shooting)

Cap- 6 mos old in Kansas

The dogs were eager and the land was perfect for quail and pheasant.  I had some pre-mission Intel on the area from some pretty good bird hunters and was confident we would be able to get into some birds.  I started with my main man- Ace.  We made a 2+30 cast and covered the chosen area pretty well.  He pointed  several roosters and I let them go.  I was particularly interested in quail, this trip. Food was plentiful: ragweed, deer vetch, sunflowers, and the area was managed for the little buzz bombs.  The problem, I think, was the area was hit pretty hard opening week and steadily after that.  I saw lots of evidence of footprints, shells, dog tracks (all pretty good indicators to an old Indian tracker like me). These birds were survivors- the dumb ones were dead. (Of course, the alternative to my assessment was too awful to contemplate- that my dog wasn't worth half a bag of Ol' Roy.  That may be the case, but I suggest you keep that news to yourself.)  We were almost back to the truck, when Ace's pager alerted in my vest.  (I gotta say, that is exactly what it seems like with the new garmin!)  He'd been out of sight for maybe 30 sec and I knew he was working some cattails near a pond.  I was sore and tired as I ambled on over that way.  I was halfway thinking he was in the pond drinking.  But as I made my way over there, the "on point" signal repeated.  That dog was locked up in some of the thickest brush I'd seen in this area.  In fact, I couldn't get to him.  A deep, 10 yard across cattail slough kept me from entering the brush pile.  So I got as close to him as I could (figuring he was on a rooster and I'd catch him when he flushed up from the pile) and just started talking to him.  I knew the bird was nervous already- he was trapped on a spit of dry land.  Sure enough, the brush moved and 20 quail blew out of there headed to a stand of spruce trees.  I threw some lead, but these boys stayed low and kept the brush between me and them (hence, they were still alive from opening day!).   Ace came out, looked at me and said, "How many do we have down, Boss?"   It was a bad day at Black Rock explaining how the "sun got in my eyes, sand obscured the birds, the Coriolis Effect threw off my aim".  He was not amused....