Monday, March 30, 2015

It's been a while

Something like 19 or 20 years I think since an honest-to-goodness bird dog pup made puddles and chewed shoes in my home. The last few dogs came in as teenagers or older, a compromise to offset the other toddlers in residence. The toddlers are now in grade school and the window of opportunity is fully open. Call me the breeze.

Saturday I drove to the other side of the state to talk with a guy about my next bird finder. The female is starting to show just enough to make us think the breeding took, which puts pups on the ground around the third week in April and ready to go home in early to mid-June. Perfect timing in my world, a stretch of warm, long days with no other real calling to distract from making sure a pup turns out right.

Mom and Dad are beautiful dogs with solid pedigrees and perfect temperament.

And then he walks back to the kennel and brings out this little pot of piss and vinegar. She's 10 weeks old out of the same sire and she's a fireball, chewing my shoelaces, chasing this bumper around, gnawing my sleeve. Pick her up, though, and she's putty. If this next litter turns out like her I don't think I'll be disappointed.

They're filled with promise, which is maybe the most imposing part of the whole affair. You can get it right or you can get it wrong, but you can't get a do-over. I made plenty of mistakes with my first dog and lucky for me he was bold enough to deflect most of them. I like to think I'm a little wiser and a lot more patient now. Hopefully we'll find out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


That's pretty much all you heard if you dropped by here recently. No calamity behind the scenes, just the periodic lack of anything to say. Got a few things coming up, though, that ought to tickle the pen.

The second meeting of the SC Quail Council is late next week and the activity is beginning to build. Lots of good things coming out of this and more than a few challenges ahead.

And with a little help from Mother Nature there's a distinct possibility that I'll have a very small four-legged addition to the hunting unit before the days get shorter. I'm supposed to go see the mom and dad in a week or two and we should know by then if the breeding took. If it did, pups will be on the ground in mid-April. Just a bit excited about this one.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Yellow shells

In the beginning there were reds, greens, blacks, blues and even an occasional purple. Whatever was in the box, and often whatever was cheapest.

There was one gun in the closet, a 12 gauge, and it served its purpose well. Anything with wings got the business end of it. The pump action never jammed and I lugged it through fields and swamps and woods and prairies through all seasons. We were inseparable.

And then came the lure of two barrels. Too many magazine articles, too many pictures of a man and his dog and his gun and that gun wasn't a pump action 12 gauge. For some reason I just had to have one, couldn't possibly be complete without one.

So pennies got socked away until a decent Browning came into the picture, a lighter gun than the 12 which seemed like a fringe benefit at the time. Part by chance and part by design this smaller gun took only one color.

20 ga shells

Over a period of years it became the gun that gets the call on nearly every outing. It was lighter, easier to tote all day, and when a shooting slump came along it emerged as the franchise player. Ducks and turkeys, on the rare occasions they are the main event, still demand the bigger stick. But for all else the pockets are filled with those yellow shells.

And now we are, for the most part, inseparable, although I've heard that once you try a 28 you'll never be the same.