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Mother Nature has final say on out-of-state hunting trip

January 13, 2012 at 08:17 AM

The State Journal-Register

Back in October, Buckwheat decided we needed to take a road trip to Kansas for a wild quail hunt. He said he would make the contacts and set it up.

The thought of a Buckwheat-planned trip made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. This is the same organizational mastermind who was stuffing his equipment into paper grocery sacks five minutes before we left to hunt mule deer in Wyoming.

I finally relented. I had two reasons for sticking my head in the noose. One, it would be a trip I didn’t have to organize. Two, and most important, it offered limitless opportunities to complain if (or when) it all went south.

The possibilities for harassment wouldn’t have to stop with snide remarks about his pitiful shooting.
It seemed too good to be true. And it was.

Buckwheat thinks the Internet is a fad. I told him I would handle the email communication with the landowner.

That was the beginning of the end. Faster than you can say Tom Sawyer whitewashing Aunt Polly’s board fence, I was making phone calls, arranging accommodations and scouring the surrounding small towns for the best chicken fried steak.

I had morphed into group leader before my very own eyes. I had forfeited all previously held rights to grumbling incessantly about everything from wrong turns to burnt toast. Half the fun had been drained out of my trip before we ever crossed the Mississippi River. I’d been had, and we both knew it. Never underestimate your adversary. I didn’t think Buckwheat could even spell Samuel Clemens.

In terms of covey rises, we saw more birds in Kansas than we can reasonably expect to see here. The combination of tall- and short-grass prairie, shelterbelts and sorghum food plots made for outstanding habitat.

That was the good news. The bad news was that the unseasonably warm weather in eastern Kansas was really too hot for upland hunting. It was 75 degrees on the second day of our hunt. It was warmer in Oskaloosa, Kan., that day than it was in Miami.

The birds were strung out in tight cover. The coveys we did find flushed wild and proved difficult to relocate once they made it to the tall grass.

The heat took a heavy toll on hunting dogs. It was too warm to keep hard-working dogs in the field all day. Hunting quail in T-shirts is comfortable, but generally unproductive.

In terms of shooting opportunities, the trip landed somewhere south of ordinary. Once again, we were reminded why they call it hunting. Still, we met some good people, and got to walk some new country — several miles of it.

The lesson learned is one we already knew: No matter how carefully you do your research, no matter how thoroughly you check the outfitter’s references and try to pick just the right time, no matter where you hunt, or what you’re hunting ... Mother Nature still has the final say.

Contact George Little at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Copyright 2012 The State Journal-Register. Some rights reserved

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