Sunday, October 24, 2010

15 minute epic

Opening day for ducks (as well as the morning following the full moon and west wind that might bring a flight of mudbats) coincided with Nolan's last soccer game of the season as well as the long-awaited Insectapalooza at the university (and notwithstanding my lack of federal duck stamp), so the sporting life of this household didn't get started until the sun, under a heavy veil of clouds, had descended substantially in the west. Both the boys thought it was a good idea to put off supper for awhile so that we might bring Brody out to look for a woodcock.

And so, attired in boots, orange vests and hats, and toting side-by-side shotguns real and real-looking and a spear, we three trudged with Brody up past the barn and pigeon loft to a small stand of red maples above the pasture. We were going woodcock hunting.

A light wind was out of the southeast, so we entered the woods from the north to give the dog some wind to work with. I activated Brody's beeper collar and sent him in. Nolan and Collin followed me; we paused while I answered questions about the beeper and how we'd know if Brody found a bird. In a minute or so (probably less) Brody went on point. I found a good place for the boys to stand and watch while I went ahead to flush the bird. Collin was backing me up with his shotgun (minus caps), as was Nolan with his spear. My stomping about didn't produce a bird, and before long Brody worked cautiously ahead. He came to a stop after another 30 yards.

I brought the boys up to another opening where they had a view the dog, and again I went in to flush a bird. This time a woodcock whistled up. My first shot whistled up through the air past the rising bird, and the second shot tumbled the woodcock to the ground. There was no need for Collin to fire his pop gun, and fortunately no need for Nolan to hurl his spear. Brody over ran the bird, which allowed me to get there in time to take it from the dog soon after he picked it up (haven't progressed that far w/ fetch yet). The boys were pretty excited (so were Brody and I for that matter). They'd seen the dog go on point, the bird fly up, the shooting, and the bird fall. They each wanted a "smoky shell". It was getting late, and the odds of improving on the hunt were about nil, so I heeled the pup and we headed to the house. The kids took turns carrying the woodcock. They recounted the hunt over pizza, and after supper they did a fine job of plucking the bird. The only drawback of this perfect hunt is that their expectations may be a bit too high now. For what it's worth, it didn't seem like a flight had come in last night.


Vicar(ious) said...

Dude, fantastic. I am going to hold off blogging opening day of ducks so that this one sits at center stage for a spell.

Really considerate of you to miss with that first barrel so that each of the lads could have his own smoky shell. You don't find fathers like that just anywhere.

Karen Thomason/Gordon Setter Crossing said...

What a great read! Those smiles tell me that your boys are going to remember that hunt for the rest of their lives. Spears are always a good back-up. Good thing you had a good "hurler" along, just in case. ha ha

Anonymous said...

Awesome post, PW!

While kids were in Hebrew School today I checked out a new game farm very close to DC. Stella did great, I did okay. I hope to bring the churn next time, possibly with spears and/or halberds.


Path Walker said...

Hey, I'm off to work in Maine (yes, the home of the UMaine Black Bears who just swept NoDak off the ice this weekend. Badjahs beware...) for the week, setters aboard. Looking forward to Richie Feller's duck opener account, AND some good Old T stories from Bill.

Dr. Dirt said...

Just downright fantastic Andy. Have only had Lilly out once this year, in training mode. She seems ready for the real thing but I wanted to make sure she wasn't creeping and bumping, a la Wisconsin. I'll show Kendall and Clay the pictures of your clan. They'll be jealous.