Every year I like to hunt somewhere different. This past
season, we planned a trip to hunt New Mexico quail immediately after our annual
Texas wild pheasant hunt. I'd like to share a few interesting moments of
the trip to you, more or less to assure you, our fellow bird hunters, that you
are no different than the rest of us!
Meet the players:
First, there's Steve. Steve, as you may recall, was the
gentleman I wrote about who was going to wrap his new Berretta around a tree if
he missed just one bird...his story is here in my commentary titled "pressure
and shotgunning". Steve just got a new dog from me a year ago that his
daughter Megan named 'Sniffers'. You might recall Megan and Sniffers on
our Animal Planet show. Steve is the rational person of the group.
If you need rationale, you go to Steve....he's kinda like good ole Dad....he can
help you understand most anything but can make you feel real bad with a few well
chosen words - right Scott?
Next, there's Scott. Scott is the consummate perfectionist
and the 'bestest'. If Scott doesn't know about something, he researches it
thoroughly just so he can be better educated than you the next time the subject
comes up. He has to have the best. If someone has a good gun, he has
to go get one that's better. If their truck is better, he goes and gets
one that's bigger and better....he's the bestest - just no other way to put it!
Scotts' only demise in being the bestest is that his first bird dog (and this is
his own words) is "a boot licker". His Vizsla has a steady range of about
20 yards unless someone shoots something out of the sky, then the retrieve
stealing dog takes all the glory from the bigger running dog that pointed it!
Scott is so head strong he is itching to convince us that Vizslas are great, and
so to prove to us how great they can be, he is getting a second Vizsla from "Big
running lines".....can't wait to see that!
Me? Oh you know me. I talk a lot of dog stuff and
like to brag about my Brittanys.
So here we are riding in Scotts huge 4x4 F series truck with all
of our dogs and gear. I'll bet there was 50 thousand dollars worth of gear
and dog flesh flapping in the breeze in the back of his truck!
Having never traveled extensively with these guys locked up in
the cab of a big truck, I should of known it was going to be a rough trip when
the two of them had already worked out the sitting and driving schedule before
arriving to pick me up. Then, to add further discomfort, they had eaten
something, no, let me start that line again. Something had crawled
inside them and died and thus the most popular lines in the tightly sealed cabin
for the next 5 hours (cold weather does that) were "Hey! Who did that?
AWwww Man!!! That's rotten! You need to go check your
There's something about men on a hunting trip. All
sense of decorum and manners are gone. I don't care if you do have a PHD
and make a six figure salary! If our wives only knew...actually I think
they do know and realize a man just needs to commune with nature in an
uninhibited fashion....yeah, riiiiiiight, maybe the wives need to commune with
their friends uninhibited by us!
The locals that we hunt with in Texas need an escape too.
I think the local guys like hunting with us because they too can commune with
nature and the 'good ol' boys'. Here's a pic of some good ol boy
I'm not quite sure what was more exciting for the local boys who
hunted with us, pheasant or coyotes. Being wide open terrain out there,
those boys take great pleasure in trying to take out a coyote at hundreds of
yards with their "flat shootin' rifles". We saw two of the locals hop into
their truck and speed off leaving a rooster tail of dust at the mere report of a
coyote that was seen near livestock. Of course they have a practical side
of what they do. Lots of dairy calves are lost to coyotes.
The local boys really got a kick out of seeing 'Stumpy' my 3
legged rescue pointer hunt. They laughed that one up good but Stumpy held
his own! I don't have a pic of Stumpy, but trust me, he's a site to see.
Brian was the pheasant hunter with all the luck. (Brian is
in the military stationed in nearby Clovis). On one occasion, Brian got
out of the truck, loaded up and says "here birdie, birdie, birdie" and as if on
cue, 2 wild roosters got up and he shot them both! Only thing is, Brian
takes his military duty of defending Americans too far....he's too expert
in dispensing with those vicious and threatening pheasant. Thanks for
helping us with our limit Brian (touch of sarcasm)! Brian is a WisCON-sin
native who grew up shooting ruffies...I guess pheasant in a wide open sky are
too easy to hit when you grew up shooting ruffies in the woodlands your entire
Brian was in charge of our New Mexico quail hunting excursion
the day after Pheasant hunting. Brian met a good ol' boy through his local
hunter safety class in Clovis. We were all to meet in Portales the next
The next morning we sat waiting patiently for our gracious host
and quail hunting guide (whom we had never met). So Scott, Steve, and I
sat in Scotts' monstrous truck and waited. Oh by the way, did I mention
that his truck takes 5 acres to turn around and we ALWAYS had to park on the
north 40 of every friggin' store we stopped at because his truck 'wouldn't fit'?
Mighty discussions of quail hunting and visions of outstanding dog work were
conjured up in our minds and conversation while waiting for our guide who was
Finally, our guide drove up.
In huge bold letters on the back window of our guides truck cab
was his name. "S K E E T E R". I don't think any of us had ever met
someone named Skeeter but we decided confidently that if anyone knew about local
honey holes it had to be our gracious good ol' boy host, 'Skeeter'.
So off we went on our bobwhite and blues hunt following closely
behind ol' Skeeter.
We drove just outside Portales and stopped near one tree on the
side of the road. Now I do mean ONE tree. This part of New Mexico is
not known for trees.
It was a smallish and gangly tree all by itself about 50 yards
from the edge of the road. This little tree had taken root right out of an
old building foundation in which the building was long gone. Off in the
distance, about a half-mile away were several trees and some decent looking
'birdy cover'. So we thought we were to be off on a good hike with our
well trained bird dogs. Thoughts of beautiful glistening 2 hole shotguns
and great dog work popped into our heads...ahhh, camaraderie afield.....NOT SO!
We were somewhat stunned when ol' Skeeter pointed to the lone 'Charlie Brown'
tree 50 yards away and said "Thayr rahht thayr"! Well, sure 'nuff, there
wur a covey raht thayr! Amazingly, there was a nice covey perched on the
edge of the old foundation, looking at us. So we flushed them, shot
a few, loaded up and left.
Once back inside the truck and following Skeeters' lead, we
laughed a good bit and said to one another, "surely this isn't how we're going
to hunt". But we were wrong, dead wrong. So we drove from lone tree
to lone tree all around Portales finding single, yet ample coveys. I swear
if I had a GPS I could of confirmed with 100 percent certainty that ol'
Skeeter was driving us in circles and stopping at the same dang tree over and
Dogs? Really didn't need 'em, not around Portales. Not
when your host knows every single tree within 100 miles and you just walk to the
tree, kick, flush, and shoot!
The absurdity of it all was the high dollar truck, expensive
shotguns, pricey dogs, and the need for none of it! All we really needed
was a scooter for transportation and a big stick to whack 'em 'fore thay flusht!....were
these birds released quail we thought????? Nope, that's how ol' Skeeter
hunts 'em in those parts. And so good ol' Skeeter dun us raht. We
did find birds and we did shoot a few but it was determined by us that we
were definitely overdressed for that party!
Y'all take care.