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Gone huntin'
Here's Bode and I with the two birds we scared up - by pure luck - last season. Now that he's had the scent a few times, his natural love of hunting ought to flourish ... I hope.
Photo by Steve Boyd 

Gone huntin'

By Tom Boyd

November 8, 2008 —  America seems obsessed with the word “change” these days, but don’t expect this space to change much over the next five days. After an overly-exciting election season, this ol’ boy is taking a break, checking out, getting off the grid for a few days of bird hunting with friends and family.

Vacations have a different meaning in this day and age. Most people I know bring their laptops, blackberries, and iPhones with them on vacation. Somehow, someway, work usually interferes. It’s hard for most people to believe it, but there are still many places out of cell phone range, where even the most avid iPhone user is relegated to using his own senses to capture “information” from the surrounding world. It puzzles people to no end that they should call me this week and find, amazingly, that I’m not available for almost an entire week.

Imagine that.

Northwest Kansas, a dry and brown place, is full of off-the-grid places. That’s where I’ll be, walking through the fields with my dog Bode, scaring up pheasant and quail as best we can. It’ll be Bode’s second attempt at hunting, the first being a star-crossed, almost birdless trip a year ago, when he was only a 7-month-old pup. We’ve been training hard ever since, and I’m hoping this time around we’ll be much more successful. I’m sure a few of the older seed birds will give Bode more than a few lessons out there, but as long as his nose is down and he’s focused on birds, rather than rabbits and mice, I’ll be happy (but I’m not counting on it).

After that, it’ll be up to me to shoot well despite absolutely zero clay-pigeon practice this year. I’ve yet to score a true double, two birds on the wing in two shots, but I’ve got a feeling this is my year. We’ve got a good crew of guys (my brother, myself, and three guys from the Army Rangers who I imagine are pretty good shots), lots of shells for the daytime and a fair stash of beer for the evenings.

I’m looking forward to it. And when I return, I’ll be looking forward to opening day at Vail and Beaver Creek. Until then, don’t bother dialing – I won’t pick up.



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