Tuesday, October 14, 2008

bird dogs in Veteran, WY

Off to darkest Wyoming, near the town of Veteran, to take Artie on his first duck hunt. The ducks are coming down the Central Flyway and are susceptible to ambush. Blue-winged teal are still on the ponds: since we broke the weather they stay around a lot longer than what used to be usual.

Ballasbak in the barn, planning a normal distribution of chores and entertainment.

Here's Artie taking a nap with his favorite stuffed toy, a 25c garage-sale cat.

Boy and dogs heading out to the wetlands. Artie thought he'd died and gone to heaven, from the boring suburban green-belt spaces to a whole farm full of smells.

Once the feathers hit the water, the party is reduced to serious hunters only. Artie's dad Spot is point dog.

Artie gets to practice with the downed ducks. Real birds were harmed in the making of this picture, I fear. Very tasty too.

The rest of us needed a bit of shotgun training, making shards out of clay pigeons. Mostly I couldn't hit the doubles, one going R and one going L, because I'm just too slow. Three different guns: a lovely little Beretta over/under 28 gauge, which pointed itself, didn't miss anything with that one; a Winchester 20ga, perfectly competent bit of American craftsmanship but my euro-snob side preferred the pretty Italians; a Beretta 12ga side/side, hardly any heavier than the 28ga. Ken sneaked in a goose load on the 12ga at one point, thing kicked hijus. The last thing I shot with a kick like that was a RPG. The clays would break when hit with 28ga, the goose load basically turned the clay back into silt.

Next day, Artie got to fossick around in the fields, to kick up some pheasant and/or quail. No shooting at these since the season isn't open yet. They tell me Montana is big sky country, but Wy manages a fair old spread too.

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