After only a few hunts the entire year, I finished strong. Two good friends (Ken Priebe and Ed Perkins, my bro-in-law), one super-nice rancher and a climactic final bird (to limit) capped the ending of a practically non-existent season for me.
My broker told me there were worse things than being too busy to hunt and while I agree, the final day of hunting this year set well with my psyche.
We hunted a 450-acre parcel owned by one of the nicest ranchers (John Lux) and people I’ve met. Get this, John had three 4-wheelers lined up for us ready to ride upon our arrival. Then during the hunt he came around and directed us to the birds. There wasn’t much need however because they were plentiful.
John wisely monitors his property and has a no-shoot area that he calls his reserve. Based upon the abundance of quail, I’ll bet it’s more of a hatchery.
Ken, Ed and I continually monitor each others’ progress for first-bird, most birds and first to limit. I was last to limit but did shoot two birds out from under my brother-in-law that he’d missed – sweeeeet. You’d have to know my brother-in-law to appreciate it. He’s an amazing shot and the roles are usually reversed. He did however limit first, as usual. Then (hunting animal) Ken limited. On two occasions this season they limited on quail in both Idaho and Oregon. It is worth noting however for this blog that both Ken and Ed missed two easy shots on quail over a pond depriving my dog of a needed water retrieve.
Whilst walking back to the truck my final bird eluded me several times; they kept flushing at Ken’s feet rather than mine. The rancher who practically guided our hunt was more keen than I was to see that I got my last bird directing me to hunt below our four-wheelers. I was so tired that I passed on his suggestion but as we were loading up Eddie’s dog locked up on a point about six-inches from one of the four wheelers, right where John had said they’d be. I pulled my gun back out of its case, almost forgot to chamber a shell but then flushed the bird, hammering it on a fairly difficult shot. John was delighted reminding me that he’d told me where to hunt and telling us that we were the first group where everyone limited. I found that hard to believe with the abundance of birds we saw.
My poor dog was so out of shape that he wouldn’t drink and during the last half hour, just waltzed behind me. Still I handled him to the last bird of the season and he had just enough chutzpa to accomplish that task.
A little back and leg sore but it’s memories like this that bring you back.