Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bird Hunting Myth # 1

Hunting wild upland birds and shooting planted and/or released birds are analogous activities. Were this a question "not even close" would be the correct answer. Wild birds are, well, wild. In order to survive they must learn and learn quickly to avoid hunters and their dogs or die. Simple. But with today's ever increasing army of hunters out there unless the birds grow up in an off the beaten path spot come opening day only the very lucky or the very quick learners survive. Survival instincts either kick in fast or else. Planted/released birds however have no such instincts, having been coddled and protected from birth inside a largely predator/proof pen. So much so that confrontations with shooter/dog teams don't frighten any more than the man comes round each day to fill the water and food pans. Nothing to fear the end usually comes quickly--assuming of course the shooter shoots straight. 

The unfolding action depicted in this admittedly curious photo is a good example of the huge gap between the two.  

To set the scene earlier, maybe an hour or so hard marching, (many preserve hunts don't even last that long and few involve much marching of any sort) Annie had pointed a covey of Huns in another strip 3 or 4 hedgerows back. Caught on the wrong side of the brush offered no chance for even a Hail Mary shot...thus my get-even plan was to NOT be outfoxed a second time.

Coming around the corner I spy Annie pointing, staring hard "into" the brush in the direction I'd just come from. Naturally thinks I the bird or birds are either in the brush or hiding in the grass the other side. So naturally, ignoring any possibilty the bird or birds might...might be huddled in the tall grass this side, I turn an sprint for the other side...And naturally just as I make my move the single blows out almost from under my feet...

And with that I rest my case.

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