© 2012 Aaron Atkinson

Balmy with a Chance for Bobwhites

For the first time in years I didn’t head to Western Kansas to hunt the pheasant opener with my hunting buddies. A forecast that called for temperatures around 80 degrees with gusty winds up to 30 miles an hour on Saturday and then a cold, windy rain on Sunday left me feeling like I should stay closer to home.

So while my pals braved the elements and shot some birds, I stayed close to home. And for the first time in as long as I can remember I hunted alone with Indie. We poked around a new area dotted with fields, grass and forest, and in the middle of a patch of timber on the edge of a soybean field I lost track of Indie for a minute. When I called her, I didn’t hear the jingle of her collar. I whistled. Nothing.

I’d last heard her off to my right over a rise in the forest, and as I crested the hill I saw the tip of her tail locked high in a point. At that moment the forest floor came to life in a whirlwind of brown wings. Two quail flew right at me, buzzing the tower and leaving me wondering if I should shoot as a hunter or out of self-defense.

I did manage to knock down this handsome little fellow. A nice reward for a warm two-hour hunt with my favorite hunting buddy.

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