While Saturday was cold and raw, Sunday was just brutal. The high temperature for the day was at 4:30 in the morning when I took the dogs outside after they ate. It went downhill from there. By the time we got out of the car to start the morning hunt, the temperature had dropped to about twenty degrees with twenty-five mile an hour winds out of the northwest. I seriously doubted our sanity. I had on a turtleneck, button up shirt, insulated vest and an insulated field coat on top and pants and insulated over-pants on the bottom. I also was wearing silk glove liners and insulated shooting gloves. It wasn’t enough. That wind just cut right through me.
Shaking my head at our insanity, I grabbed my camera and headed out with Mitch and the dogs. Trying to catch a scent of any birds in this wind was going to be sheer luck on the dogs’ part. AJ flushed the first bird which Mitch shot and AJ retrieved it with Orso in hot pursuit. Maybe there would be birds in spite of the bitter conditions.
As we rounded an out cropping of trees that opened up to a small field of knee high prairie grass. I walked on the outer rim while Mitch walked along the tree line. As I got to the middle of the field I noticed that all of the dogs were with me (sans gun) and Mitch was nowhere to be seen. I thought to myself, what was the number one rule of hunting? Stay with the dogs. I hoped that the dogs wouldn’t find any birds, because I sure wasn’t going to kill a bird with my mind. I kept calling the dogs back to me hoping to stall and Mitch would miraculously show up just as the dogs flushed some birds. But no such luck. Charlie flushed one into the tree line at the edge of the field and I found myself running to where the quail flew despite the fact that I only carried a camera. Old habits. Mitch finally showed up just as AJ flushed a small covey of about five quail. Mitch shot two into the trees when a third one flew out over my head and as Mitch swung around for the shot I quickly dropped to the ground to avoid either being shot or slapped in the head with the gun barrel. He got the bird, by the way.
So far the day was shaping up to be a very fruitful harvest. The only drawback was the bitter cold. I headed down into the draw to try to escape the wind, but by then my hands were too cold. They hurt so bad even with the gloves on I was afraid that I could cause some permanent damage so I told Mitch that I was going to head back to the car and warm up. Walking back to the car I heard a noise behind me so I turned to look back and there was AJ, who lives to hunt, walking along with me. He had had enough too.
I think that AJ and I are the wiser of the bunch. But that’s not saying much since we all went out there to begin with.