Well... there are times when the old saying "that's why they call it hunting" is the only thing to say. Or... as every time I come up with all the reasons that I almost won, should have won, could have won the trial that day if only... my friend Skip points out "that's truck driving". What can you say? "Some days are peaches...some days are pitts" Or... as in bird dog circles the old standby when there are no birds... "any day of hunting is better than a day of work". No matter how you try to say it, what you are really trying to say is "no we didn't have a good hunt"...
I have a good friend that I quail hunted a lot with back in "the day". There was the year that we all started calling "the year of the army worm invasion". 1994 there were so many army worms in SW Missouri, SE Kansas and NE Oklahoma that stretches of highway all over the country would have 50-60 yard wide built up smashed army worms. They were everywhere. No one had ever seen anything like it. They were eating everything, everywhere. They would go through a bean field and destroy a whole field. There were so many army worms that you could stand in a bean field and hear them chewing. The whole country brought in aerial spraying and the whole country got insecticide dumped on it. That winter we had a bad wide spread ice storm that got snow on top of the ice and we ended up with a frozen mess. We stopped hunting that winter because it was sad to watch the quail run around on frozen ground with nowhere to hide. The dogs brought us dead frozen quail they picked up here and there all on their own. My friend that loved to quail hunt said to me one day that he was through going that year and I said I felt the same way. Between the spraying the army worms that summer and the ice storm that winter it did the quail all in. And the way he put it was simple..."why go if there ain't nothing to tell". No dog work, no filled limits, no shots wiffed, no shots pulled off. No adventure. No quail for dinner. No nothing but no birds. For years we had always had birds. I was always pretty cocky about it all. If you want to be a bird hunter you need good dogs and and you need to be a good shot... right? That year and the following years to come taught me that what you need to be a bird hunter is... birds.
What you are seeing here in this picture is four pretty un-happy bird hunters with a full days results. You know what is being said... right? "Well that's why they call it hunting" but ..."the dogs did a really good job and... any day hunting is better than a day at work"... That night a storm moved in and the real temperature was fifteen the next morning and wind chill was 0 with wind gusting to forty. Snow was blowing sideways so hard you couldn't see when we went outside to check the weather. Carl said he didn't know about us but he didn't think there was going to be much bird hunting anyway so we bid each other farewell and "pulled our stakes". And as Skipper says..."it happens in the best of families".
Carl Roberson Parsons, Kansas, Daniel Burns Jasper, Missouri, Roy Beal Mt Vernon, Oregon and Craig Burns Jasper, Mo.
muddy creek kennels