Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Morrissey who?

Various media outlets are reporting this morning that former Smiths frontman Morrissey has backed out of an appearance on tonite's Jimmy Kimmel Live because he doesn't want to share the stage with the cast of Duck Dynasty.

Morrissey, in the midst of a tour that is receiving somewhat less publicity than that of the Rolling Stones, said, "As far as my reputation is concerned, I can't take the risk of being on a show alongside people who, in effect, amount to animal serial killers."  We're left to wonder exactly what reputation he's so concerned about.  After all, he sells tickets by the thousands hundreds to people who, in effect, amount to animal cannibals.

As is the current fashion in the performing arts, he's managed to take his animal rights crusade a bit too far. One report mentioned he recently suffered from a bleeding ulcer.  So how's that vegan diet working, anyway?

I'll confess, I listened to some Smiths in college, but as far as my reputation is concerned I should note that at the time Morrissey was only a fledgling douchebag.  Such was the case with many singers of the era. Others were just weird and still are.

So far no comment from the Duck Dynasty camp and Jimmy Kimmel quickly filled the vacancy with the band Churchill, who obviously has different priorities in the reputation department. Suspicions of a hidden agenda on Morrissey's part linger.  After digging up this old photo of the performer I'm wondering if he wasn't a bit concerned that Si might mistake his 'do for the ass end of a duck.

Morrissey Duck Dynasty

Friday, February 22, 2013

It was bound to happen

I like bird dogs - all bird dogs.  Fast ones, slow ones, skinny as a stick ones, long hair, long tails, no tails, even the weird ones.  So don't go thinking I have it in for pointers.  I'm saying all of this because earlier today the unthinkable happened: a setter won the National Championship.  For the first time in 43 years a pointer is not wearing the crown.

Runs like this in the sporting world are pretty rare any more.  UCLA's string of seven straight NCAA basketball championships ended shortly after the last setter won in Grand Junction. For one team, or one conference, or one country to dominate any event is just a statistical dead end.  And this is a good thing.  After a couple of decades people start to think it's rigged.

I don't have anything against Duke, Jimmie Johnson or the Patriots, but soon enough the respect for excellence gives way to boredom with supremacy.  It's someone else's turn.

Shadow Oak Bo National Champion
Courtesy Ames Plantation

The collar in this picture says enough for me.  He's a worker, not a poser. Owner Butch Houston, quoted in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, said:
"My dog is a freak of nature in that he can outrun the pointers. He's the most competitive dog I've ever owned. He's like the Secretariat of the bird dog game."
I didn't see him run but I'd be hard pressed to disagree.

Way to go, Bo.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Giving up

More than a few years ago someone decided that this route was no longer the best way to get there. Whether they took this bridge down and left it or whether it slowly wore itself down over time I don't know, but here it sits, keeping company with the river that borders a piece of public game land.  I hunt here often, not because it's productive but because it's very large and only an hour from home.

Last Saturday I stopped to snap this picture before heading back to the truck.  After a morning of moving no birds in two of the areas, and debating whether to give up and head home, I stopped by a third area on the way back to the interstate.  Several rabbit hunters were packing up and I asked if they'd seen any birds.

"Hadn't seen the first quail.  You might try over there off Larry Cope Rd."

"I just left there.  Didn't see any."

"You huntin' them draws?  That's where I seen 'em."

"Yep."  I'd hunted the draws, the edges, the middles, and all the way down to the river. This gentleman wasn't the first to tell me he'd seen birds there.

It was time to give up and get on home.  I knew of one more area I hadn't hit yet that had never produced a single bird for me and figured what the hell.  It was only a mile out of the way and as long as I was down here...well, what the hell.  Pulling in I saw a pickup parked by the sign and then it really was over for the day.  As I eased down the road looking for a place to turn around I scanned the woods, wondering if they were rabbit hunters or bird hunters, wondering if they were having better luck than I was.  At the turnaround I still hadn't seen anyone. Maybe they'd gone the other direction from their truck?  Maybe they were hikers? Maybe the truck broke down and there wasn't anyone here after all?  What the hell.

Walking up the ridge with Wyatt out in front I remembered what the rabbit hunter had said about seeing birds in the draws.  My plan was to walk up the ridge and try the draw on the right side, working back into the wind, then walk back up the ridge, wind at our backs, and try the draw on the left side.  A few hundred yards in a lone bobwhite jumped up, catching both of us off guard.  We watched it sail away up the ridge and as Wyatt sniffed the grass where it had appeared, I heard another flush behind and to left of us, turning in time to see eight or ten birds blast from the draw over the ridge. Before any sat down I heard another flush further up the ridge, turning back around to see Wyatt standing still while fifteen or twenty birds got up in front of him.  Wow.

All of this happened in a span of maybe seven or eight seconds, at the end of which I stood staring with my gun still broken over my shoulder.  We hunted the singles from the first flush for a while but most likely they flew farther than I guessed.  This was the largest wild covey I'd seen in South Carolina in...well, maybe ever.  In a place I'd never seen birds before, on a day when I tried to quit hunting three times already.  The words of Winston Churchill and Jimmy V whispered in my ear, "Never give up."

Last night I laid out all the gear for an early start.  I'd beat all the rabbit hunters and bird hunters to the spot and find that covey again, working into the wind this time.  One bird, one good shot and one retrieve and I'd leave them alone.  In the dark of the night a 30% chance of rain turned to this:

Indian Creek is about square in the middle of all that green.  So this is what we're doing instead...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Back to our regularly scheduled programming

Okay, now that I got that gear review thing out of my system I have something else to get off my mind.
Reading Pete McDonald's post about receiving the F3T promo package I felt just the slightest twinge of jealousy.  Not that they would send a package to a wingshooting blog (even though I did mention fly fishing once or twice although I can't seem to find it just now), but more that I'm now forced to face the reality that there is no bird porn.

The off season is long, at times excruciatingly long, and it wouldn't take much to draw me into the air conditioning for scenes of bird dogs sailing through lowcountry pines or views across miles of western grass. But it would take more than the videos and TV shows currently out there. How many times can you watch re-created shots and recycled bird hits? I appreciate the effort but where's the film-making talent?  Where's the story from a novel point of view?  For that matter, where's the novel story?

Back when Gray's dabbled in film they produced a 30 minute episode of Hungarian partridge hunting with Ben Williams that was pretty darn good.  Exceptional camera work, inspiring and apropos soundtrack, a piece that really put you there.  I have the thing on 8-track VHS. They did a decent grouse episode too but I never taped it. Those are as close as I've seen to what these fly rod Coppolas on the F3T are doing.

Could it be that wingshooters won't fill theaters all across the country to drink microbrews and gaze with lust and longing at someone else's adventures?  I guess that would be for the other porn.