Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pointers & birds

Went hunting with some friends last weekend and took my wife's camera along. It's a 35mm SLR with a lot more capability than my pocket-size point & shoot and I'm determined to get proficient with it. Not much else on my mind this week anyway so I figured I'd post a few pics.

English pointer

English pointer
Show jumper

English pointers on point
Wind blowing 25mph makes for hard work

Bobwhite flushing
First bird out gets shot
I never got the pic of a 20-bird covey rise that I wanted.  We found several that size but the camera was always in the bag. This was a much smaller covey but I captured a few birds in full stroke:

Bobwhite covey flushing

English pointer
Ghost eye

English pointer
Turn on a dime

Bird dog at rest
Everyone has to wait his turn

English pointer face shot
Tools of the trade

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Nobody leaves the house expecting to strike out. Expecting to not move a single bird all day. Expecting to walk for hours as if it were a conditioning exercise. That's not the reason you go.

People talk about how they just like watching the dogs work or being outside. These aren't outright lies but they aren't entirely true either. If they were, there would be no such thing as eight months of aching for the season opener.

Bird populations aren't what they used to be in many places and we're all big boys about it. We don't expect limits or even to find birds every single time. But striking out for days on end is a seed of doubt. You start to question your ability, whether you've been kidding yourself all these years about how good you are at finding game.

Finding birds and watching the dog bust through them is one thing. A bronzed point followed by a missed shot carries its own bite but at least you got up to the plate.

Two days in a place where you know there are birds, two days of putting in 3 or 4 or more hours and most of the time you'll have stories to tell. When the warden at the gate tells you about the party that had 18 points, well, there's no way of knowing if that was fabricated, but it still ain't what you wanted to hear. Day two brings more of the same.  You run into some guy who's never even hunted here before and he found a bird. That's one more than you for anyone keeping score.

Yeah, this sucks. Don't let anybody kid you. It leaves a scar, a scratch on the psyche that lacks the character of one on a stock. Gun, dog, hunter and bird are four parts of a whole and removing one doesn't diminish the others so much as it leaves them deprived.

That's why it stings when you come up empty.

Friday, January 10, 2014

When they take over..

Bird dogs taking over my study

....we'll be reading, watching basketball, and nodding off from the floor.