Some of my favorite hunting memories with Mitch are when it’s just the two of us after everyone else has left and headed back home. It’s usually afternoon the dogs are getting tired and have slowed down. It’s almost like taking a long walk and reconnecting with each other. There’s no pressure to shoot better than the others in our group. No matter what anyone ever says, there is always some competition. Call it pride or machismo (even in women), being better at what you’re doing than the next guy is very important. Maybe even more for me. I’ve always been extremely competitive growing up, and now taking up hunting later in life, a male dominated sport, I feel like I have to prove that I can hold my own and out hunt the rest of the group.
But when it’s just Mitch, the dogs and me, I can relax and enjoy the day. We can laugh at each other’s missteps or in my case, when I trip over some invisible rut. I think that one of my favorite memory was just the two of us on the last day of one hunting trip in the late afternoon. We had just finished working a stubble field and were standing at the end discussing our lack of success. Mitch re-packed his pipe and had just lit it, when Charlie flushed a rooster up to our left. Mitch rushed to shoulder his gun to get off a shot and in the process, shattered his pipe. He normally has his pipe sticking out of the left side of his mouth, but in his haste to not miss a shot, he forgot to move the pipe over. Added insult, he missed the bird. Luckily, no teeth were broken. I laughed so hard, I thought he might shoot me just for general principles.