Pursuit of a Moment
An Upland Hunt Story
What motivates the hunter? What drives the individual to pursue game in field or wilderness in the extreme cold or sun? This was my question as I drove through the vast plains of southern Kansas, making my way to the meetup location. I’m out on a hunt with pro-shooter and shotgun expert Dave Miller and a group of his friends and fellow hunters. It was sunny and excessively windy when I pulled up to the renovated barn where the crew was staying.
Spirits were high as I entered the barn. Dave and the boys were congregating around the tin-topped counter discussing plans as a John Wayne movie played in the background. Joining us were Chad and Aaron, along with JP and Ronnie; and then there were the real stars of the hunt—the bird dogs—Briley, Abby, Sailor, and Guinness. The group decided to grab some lunch and then head to the fields near Greensburg to scout locations for the next day’s hunt, so I climbed into the truck with Dave and Ronnie.
As we drove through the winding miles of milo and corn, Dave was alert, carefully surveying each field. Meanwhile, Ronnie would mark favorable spots on the GPS and Aaron, Chad, and JP followed behind as the second pair of eyes to survey the environment. I could see the hunters imagining; anticipating the conditions to gain an advantage over their game and to make a perfect shot.
We drove to the next spot recharged, the missed opportunity from earlier providing motivation as we made our way through the waist-deep field. We had stopped to gain a sense of our surroundings when Guinness began to move with urgency: “Watch him!” Dave yelled. Walking transitioned into a slow run, we watched the ridgeline of the grass intently, Dave readying his shotgun.
Pursuit…Patience…Within a split second the bird flew from its cover, Dave lined up his shot, quickly followed by the crack of his shotgun and the smell of gunpowder…Reward. A chorus of uproar and howling persisted. We reveled in the fruits of our labor, and a large, male pheasant was retrieved by Guinness.
Dave and Guinness walking through the field.