Up at 0400, hit the road at 0500, two freeway closures gets me there a lil late but still in time. Post up where I know a covey comes off PP to feed. And wait. And wait and wait...nothing. Sun is up. So is the wind. It's 20+mph sustained with 30+ gusts. Calls won't work so what's the use. Im seeing and hearing nothing and w/o a dog? This is going to come down to a lot of kicking bushes.
And I do- for an hour. Nothing 'cept a bunch of Jack's and I'm passing on those- it's quail season. The wind is so strong it's turning my barrel into a flute- it's loud and it's irritating- WEEYOWEEYOWOOPMEEEYOW. I'd kill for a cork right now.
Abandon spot one, head to spot two. More of the same.
Then, hit spot three. I find a couple but they leave me in the dust- no shot. If they get a wing up behind you it's POOF! Gone with the Wind, Virgina. I'm outta here for the mountatins.
An hour later I'm half way up and notice the reason for the wind (see pic) as a big front is coming in. Hmm...2WD truck, steep crappy road. Make this a quick one. Up to the top for a quick scout and some calls- listen for some Mountains- no one home. Back down to the valley below for a quick nap and some more bush kicking.
I'm at spot 3 as it looked the most promsing- just dozing off and ..."chi-CA-go!" No way. For reals? Poke my head up slow like- 60y away perched on a pucker bush is a big fat Valley male. Hmmm...how do I get out of my truck and not spook him? Boots? Check. Ammo? Check. Gun- where's my gun? It's in the cross-bed box locked up. Nice. I have to take eyes off what I thought was a dream for just a second and sure enuf I look back and he's gone.
Get out, get to kicking, pass on more Jacks. Aaaand stop to take a snack break- Cliff bar, some juice, re-tie the right boot so I'm not tripping on the laces and- BOOM! 'Fatso' blows out of the bush I've been using as a windbreak, for 5 min's now! Grab the Benelli that's empty and safe, throw it at the bird like a golf club, all better.
I end up hooking up with 3 lad's and a dog. There's no way I'll get a buster w/o dog going in and popping the cork on the bird. They are bolted to the ground in 2's and 3'swith this wind. So I ask if I can hunt below them and get their scraps and we'll divy it up later? Sure. Cool!
I jump downwind about 80y and the dogs go to work. Birds are coming out, the lads are connecting and scraps are heading my way- at Mach II. I had a perfect double come my way, it was more like swatting flys with a blued 24" chopstick. Birds go WHOOSH, barrel still going MEEOOOWARPOOEE!. I get 2 or 3 Hail Mary's in but this aint working so I join back in the conga line. I finally get a break and a nice looper pops up in front of me say 30y out. I wet myself, stub the mount and miss the shot and it's 200y downrange before the Benelli can reset and chamber the next round THIS DAMN WIND!
We have a few more laughs and the dogs are getting fragged so- it's time. We head back to the trucks, part and shake hands crackin' jokes about "shoot 'n release" hunting (newest missing excuse)...ya know, hunter stuff.
I've got one more drive in me left- end up doing two and nothing. Not a peep. Except for that damn barrel.
Pack it in, time to go....I left the windows cracked a bit and it was so windy, unknown to me, grasshoppers galore had blown into my truck. So half way home I'm finding this out the hard way...AS ONE IS CLAWING IT'S WAY UP INSIDE MY PANTS LEG. "hello 911? I'd like to report a black 1996 F-250 going sideways down I-5 doing 100 miles an hour on two wheels please?". Also included is a pick of one of the offenders. I really hope that never happens again, EVER.
Happy Opening Day everyone!