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.


  1. I had no idea you tagged along on my hunt yesterday :)

    1. Hey, misery loves company. I'm really losing my religion this year. I thought about reshuffling my lineup but that's difficult when you're down to 1 dog. I've read about the root doctors, which are the SC lowcountry version of witch doctors, and I know a guy who's supposed to know a few...

  2. It's been rough everywhere bud, you're not alone. But everything you said is dead on, and I appreciate your honesty.