'Skeeter'

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 britches!"..........good grief.

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 celebrating.

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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 life.

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 day.

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 running late.....

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 over!

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.

 

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