I may be way over the hill, but I still get excited when quail hunting season begins. The season opens tomorrow and my friends Rollin Birdz and Claude Hopper will be joining me for hopefully a red-letter hunting day.
It’s humorous how aging changes one’s perspective of “the hunt.” When I wuz young, I tried to get myself and my bird dogs in physical shape before the season opened. These days I make no attempt to get my dogs in shape becuz I know I won’t be in shape and I want to make sure that we both get tired of walking at the same rate.
Another thing, I used to get up before dawn so I could be in the field to hunt from dawn until dusk. Now, I opt for a more leisurely pace and will be lucky to be hunting by 10 a.m. and most likely will be watching football by mid-afternoon.
But, one aspect of quail hunting remains the same. The joys of the hunt are still (1) watching the amazing instincts of good hunting dogs doing what they were bred to do and (2) simply being afield to soak in Mother Nature with good friends.
I’ll give a hunting report next week.
Ol’ Avery Ware and I made an enjoyable trip to Parsons, Kan., last week for the ribbon-cutting ceremonies and open house for Kansas State University’s brand new Southeast Kansas Research and Extension Center.
It’s a wonderful facility and, no doubt, will be a boon to southeast Kansas agricultural folks.
Avery and I enjoyed meeting numerous old friends and I enjoyed meeting some of the new KSU College of Agriculture administrators.
The best line of the day from the administrators’ speeches wuz this (I’m paraphrasing from a faulty memory): “I’m glad that the powers that be finally realized that southeast Kansas lives matter, too.”
While Avery and I were driving, he told me a humorous hunting story from his high school days decades ago. He and three buddies, all seniors, hatched up a “fool-proof” plan to play hooky and pheasant hunt on a school day. First, they coaxed their reluctant parents to agree to the hunting trip.
The day of the hunt, the four left town before dawn, heading to an adjoining county where they had pheasant habitat on an uncle’s land to hunt. On the way, they stopped in the adjoining county seat to fill up with gas and buy some munchies for the day. The owner of the station was a friendly chap and the hunting crew conversed at length about their planned hunt and where it wuz.
Well, it wuz a successful hunt and they stopped at the same filling station on their way out of town and even showed the owner the pheasants they’d harvested. When they arrived at their home town, it wuz well after dark and the truant hunters were sure they’d successfully pulled off their clandestine hunt.
Avery and his buds found out differently the next morning. School had scarcely begun when the principal, a military retiree, called Avery into his office. He told Avery that he knew he’d skipped school the previous day and he knew every detail. He said the offenders were each going to get 10 demerit points just for playing hooky. But now the principal wuz going to ask questions about the trip and he expected truthful answers. If Avery answered truthfully, there would be no further consequences. But if he lied, the demerit points would double.
Avery, still confident that the principal wuz bluffing, answered the first question untruthfully. The principle refuted Avery’s answer with the real truth and said, “Now you’ve got 20 demerits.” Astounded that the principal seemed to know the truth about the trip, Avery cut his losses and ‘fessed up on details of the trip.
In turn, each of his buddies were called into the office and they all started lying and they all earned demerits — one poor fellow doubled and redoubled his loses and accumulated 80 demerit points. They were all baffled as to how the principal knew every detail about their hunt, including how many birds they harvested.
Later in the week, Avery asked the principal to explain how he got all the trip information. The principal grinned and said, “You’ll have to wait until after graduation.”
So, the next spring, minutes after he’d been handed his diploma, Avery asked the principal to explain. The principal grinned again and said, “I have no jurisdiction over your now, so here’s the answer. “What you didn’t know is that the friendly fellow at the gas station is my cousin and he called me right after you left his place in the morning with a description of the vehicle and a license tag number. Then he called me again after you stopped in the evening and showed him your birds. I simply looked as the absent list and put two and two together.”
I’ll add that Avery and his buddies had to work off every demerit point by working an hour with the school janitor after school. Sadly, you’ll never see school discipline like that enforced in today’s schools.
Might as well end this column with some wise words about liars. Jerome K. Jerome said, “It is always the best policy to speak the truth, unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar.” Have a good ‘un.