Thursday, March 10, 2016

Can't Quit Daydreaming...

Benny and I behind the Jeep CJ9 with the real heroes of the
hunt, the dogs!
I used to have a lot of hobbies. Fishing (bass, trout, crappie, catfish, and others—all different), hunting (squirrel, rabbit, turkey, dove, boar, quail, pheasant, grouse, crow, raccoon, chukar, duck, goose, and deer—with bow, muzzleloader, shotgun, and rifle!), hiking & backpacking, golf, canoeing, working on cars, road biking, mountain biking, painting, playing guitar, gardening, horses, dogs (training & breeding), woodworking, four wheeling, working out, reading, caving, traveling, skiing, basketball, football, softball, weight lifting, swimming, running, and more! Whew! What a list!

But as we grow older career and family take precedent, and life's priorities and budgets force us to narrow our list of hobbies. I used to have the equipment for ALL the above pursuits (some is packed away and forgotten in the attic)!

Some, however, are still pastimes that I still enjoy (even if I have less time for them than I once did) and I try to discuss them on this blog. One of my favorite things in the world to do is quail hunt. I don't own a pointer/brittany/springer/setter, and I certainly don't have any hunting land. But every once in a while, God graciously provides for me to do what I have no budget to do and experience a day or so in the field.

The cabin in which we stayed. Belle prancing in the front.
A few weeks ago, my good buddy Benny invited me to come with him and a friend and go quail hunting at a hunting preserve in south Georgia, called Wynfield Plantation.   Itwasawesome.  We had a great time talking on the way down and back, but the hunting experience is hard for me to explain, except except to say that I felt like a rich dude. The place is so nice. And they totally serve you hand and foot. Wow!

They provide the dogs, guide, Jeeps, and food (prepared by a chef) and everything else. All you have to bring is proper clothing and your gun. And that's where I probably should be embarrassed. I have a Remington 1100 that I got for Christmas when I was in 8th grade. But I love it and I proudly walk in the field with it like Happy Gilmore walks on the golf course with his hockey stick (not that I'm as good!). Perhaps it's a little out-of-style, but it does the job. Most of the hunters (at this place, anyway) have fancy over-and-under style Brownings and Benellis.

Truth is, I'm still pinching myself. The trip seemed (and seems) like some kind of dream. We shot a lot of birds. The folks at the plantation cleaned the birds for us, froze them, and gave them to us in little coolers to take home. Amazing.

Here's Benny on the right and the little English Cocker right
behind her master, our guide. An awesome little dog.
My favorite thing about it is watching the dogs hunt. Benny had his old faithful bird dog, Belle. I was privileged to be along for what might have been her last hunt. She did great. One of the coolest dogs I've seen is the English Cocker, a shorter dog that stayed at "heel" with the guide until the pointers were on point on some birds, at which time the guide would send in. The Cocker would flush the cubby (meaning, the hiding group of quail would fly up in the air), and then it would retrieve the dead birds that we shot back to the guide. Remarkable.

Below is a very quick video of me shooting a quail (it took two shots). The dogs really do all the work. I'm just so happy I got to go along.

Good times. Many thanks to Benny for letting me tag along and for the good conversations we had. Now I've got to pinch myself and quit daydreaming about it!