Oh yeah, if you think we didn't hear quiet voices and comments being muttered. My favorite was "Alright, looks like we get to shoot some of these yahoos flyover birds when they miss today". Ok, keep quiet and sign in Bob. We sign in and the guy reminds me that orange is not required, but highly recommended. I politely tell the gentleman that "If some dipstick can't see and shoots at a 6" tall man pushing 3 bills and wearing a Stetson, he shouldn't be handling a shotgun and I will personally remove it from them". "Yes sir, see your point" was the reply . Now that that's done we play the wait game. While waiting I can't help but feel I've seen a man and his son before. I ask him if his son took the HSC class in Jan 2011. He laughs and says yes, and how could he not remember Chris and myself after the show he put on in class. I was complimented over a half dozen times on his knowledge of the use of all the different firearms, no matter what action. My chest suck out humbly.
Now we go outside to line up in order and head to the fields. As they call your name in the order they want you in they also ask which vehicle is yours so you know who to follow. When they call us (as we're leaning up against my wreck of a tuck) he ask which one is mine. I laugh and ask him if he really had to ask . Yeah, we all got a good laugh at that one. So we all drive out to the fields. I meet the dogs and Handler (Duane) there, and as luck would have it, we have the field right next to the other kid that went to the HSC with Chris. We met, I explained how I have drilled the muzzle in the air around dogs into him, he thanked me and we went on our way. It was not long until the dog (Katie) found and held for the first bird. He told Katie to flush it and before he got out "sho" for shoot it Chris had his unshouldered gun up and a bird down! Poor Duane looked like he had seen a ghost. He asked if he was always like that and I told him "No, that was his first really large bird so I'm sure he was a bit nervous. He should be a little quicker on the next one" . He thought I was kidding until as Katie was bringing back the rooster another one jumped up completely unexpected and Chris dropped him quick as lightning at about 10-15 yards!!! Poor Duane was almost scared now lol. When we got that one back he said tradition dictated you usually eat the heart of your first bird, but there was no heart left only the remains of this Windjammer wad where the heart should be
It was at that point he turned to me and said we were welcome anywhere, and anytime he hunts and it was a pleasure to finally be around some guys that can hunt. I can not tell you what a compliment I took that as. As I asked him isn't it usually like this we watched a field of 5 or 6 guys flush one bird, all fire a few shots, and the bird still fly off. He asked if that answered my question? Yup. Needless to say, our hunt went very, very, very quickly. When we got back to the truck for pictures we were the only group back so soon. So we posed and took these pics
As other guys got back near us they all laughed and said "What happened? All your birds fly off to other fields already?". I gotta love the handler Duane for this, he looks them in the eyes and says "It don't take long when you can put them down as fast as they can get up". When they asked how many we got, he simply replied with a HUGE grin, "All". You could've heard a pin drop. I don't know if Chris new exactly hat was happening, but I kind of caught a little "take that" in his smile.
Our hunt was so quick that Duane felt bad and offered to take his dogs out and find the two birds that got away from the son of the gentleman next to us, but only if Chris and I could back his kid up to "make sure we got them". We followed the birds into a thick olive tree grove where the dogs found one of the two birds. As they pointed, Duane set the kids up and flushed it. The poor guy's kid froze as it flushed, and as soon as Duane got the word Chris out it went down, with one shot again. He politely asked if even though Chris hit it, could we give it to the other kid. I told him it was going to be offered that way anyway whether he knew it or not. You could tell that made everyone very, very happy.
So all in all we shot seven birds, kept six, and Chris and I each went home with two while we stopped and dropped off two to a close friend of mine who her and her family has never had pheasant. And while not my favorite type of hunt by any means, the kid had a great time (which means I did too), three households get pheasant for dinner, a few people that have never had it get to try it, we got to shoot birds, and most importantly I don't have to have turkey for Thanksgiving