The winter grasses are growing fast. The trees are budding.
Do you ever get that itch for just one more hunt?
I certainly do, and I took a chance on an auction item at the last Park Cities Quail dinner. I invited my friend Ian Harrison and his English setter Tex out for a quick hunt. I mean quick because the hunt was 35 miles from my house and we both needed to be back in our office in the afternoon.
My 17-year-old daughter, Marina, had the day off from school and jumped in the truck. She had never hunted quail and she wanted to test her Beretta .28-gauge shotgun and see what all the talk was about.
When we arrived at the Poetry Shooting Club, Walter Patton was all smiles and had 30 birds in two boxes for us to “plant” in his 30-some-odd acre field.
On his brochure there is a quote: “Take a youth hunting, build confidence.” It caught my eye.
Ian “planted” the birds. The two seasoned hunters knew what to expect. Marina did not. She asked that I show her how this works, and I put down my camera and picked up my gun. Ian agreed to “run” the dog.
Tex went on point. Some of the birds did not flush well and some of them flushed great. Marina watched with her gun ready as I shot several birds. She said she needs more time before she can shoot. I told her she needs to learn to shoot fast with these birds or they will get away.
We “planted” more birds. This time I stayed back.
“Marina, you and Ian shoot this time.”
Same thing. Birds flushed, she watched.
Ian gave her encouragement.
“Tex is too close. You were in my line off fire. That bird would not fly.”
She seemed frustrated.
If you have shot quail, you know how much activity is going on during a point.
Tex has an incredible nose and did not let anything slip past him. A bird flushed and Ian shot it. Tex went to retrieve it.
Marina spotted another bird in the grass and I encouraged her to walk up on it. The bird flushed as good as any wild bird and she made a perfect shot, taking her first quail.
We were all smiles.
Marina took two more quail that Tex found and Ian shot his share, too.
When walking back to the truck, I asked her what she thought of quail hunting. She told me she liked it.
I asked what took her so long to take her first shot. She replied that she needed to watch, learn and then build up her confidence.
Building confidence — I’ve heard that somewhere.