Buddy—A Series Of Adventures— Bird Bustin’ Buck

As we make our way back up north to our “summer home” (the Toy Hauler), I notice several rather cool looking properties for sale off the beaten track.  I wonder how much places like that are valued at.  It has been so very long since I’ve spent any amount of time up north.  The last decade or so we have dedicated all of our free time southwest of Minneapolis, down in corn country where the pheasants are.  You are tired and sore, but you still crane your neck to look out the side window.  We have always enjoyed fanaticizing about having a place in the country.

Buddy do you remember that cool hobby farm we came across in our bird hunting travels?  Oh how we loved to hunt that public land bordering it.  The farm was so darn cute, and it was for sale.  I came very close to pursuing that hobby farm.  There were so many outbuildings.  Everything was painted red and white and was so picturesque.  I became somewhat obsessed with it, visualizing us getting away from it all and living a lavish farm life.  You, the girls, a couple horses, some chickens, a lama or Alpaca, and of course….some pigmy goats!

Despite how perfect it was, I was afraid to take on a farmstead, knowing it would need lots of maintenance by myself.  Out there, it would be pretty hard to get help fast.  But oh, we did have some good times bird hunting around it!  Do you remember that one day?

We had been to at least large 3 fields before it was even noon.  Lots of hens, but no roosters.  I’d planned for us to work our way towards the cute red hobby farm, and by 11:30 am, there we were.  It was a breezy morning.  Perhaps that attributed to our lack of success.  Maybe those roosters were running in the grass and hard to scent.  But when we pulled up to the parking area, you were dialed in to hit the ground running.  We were perfectly positioned to hunt the big patch of tall grass into the wind.  I could hardly hold you back.

The grass was super high, and had gotten quite heavy since our last visit to this area.  You dove into the thick cover and disappeared instantly.  I could hear the “beep………….beep………….beep……….beep” of your collar, my only chance to keep track of you.  You were ranging back and forth pretty steady, which told me you must be onto something.  I tried my best to keep up but your stealth body was much more suited for gliding through this thick stuff.  I fell behind, huffing and puffing as I tried to pick my heavy boots up and through the tangled mess of grass, holding my shotgun out of the way.  Your beeper was getting weaker, and weaker.  You were getting farther away.  Still I tried to stay with you, feeling the calories burn away, sweating and panting through the field.

“Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!” You were on point, but far, far away, perhaps 70 or more yards away.

Damn!  I’ve got to get up there!  I pushed hard through the wall of heavy blades of grass, determined to reach you in time to harvest that bird.  The beeper was getting louder.  I still couldn’t see any blaze orange ahead of me, but I could hear you.  I’m getting closer.

I’m getting closer.

I’m getting…….

HOLY SHHHHHHIT!  The last step I took launched into the sky the biggest buck I’d ever seen, directly in front of me!  He came out of nowhere, with wet, hairy nostrils flaring, wild eyes, front hoofs flailing, and the biggest rack I’d ever seen—points everywhere!  The massive creature rose up in front of me as I fell backwards, clinging to my shotgun across my chest, praying to God I wouldn’t be trampled.  The guttural grunting sound that shook through his chest almost made me pee my pants.  He heaved himself up over me in that tall grass and shook the ground upon landing just above my head, clearing me and spinning around,  bounding off right towards you within three more leaps.

My heart pounded in my chest so hard I thought for sure I was having a heart attack.  Maybe I was having a heart attack.  I couldn’t see.  I couldn’t hear.  It felt like days went by.  I finally realize I was gripping my gun so tight to my chest my arms were numb.  Two hens flew overhead; clearly he busted them in his mad dash to escape.  And then I heard it.

“Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!”

Oh, geeze, Buddy, bless your heart, you are still on point!  And that buck had to have about ran into you.

I came to my senses, and tried to collect myself and get up off the ground.  Right in front of me was a warm, “buck bed”.  Guess I wrecked his safe, noon nap.  Still shaking head to toe from my run in with the buck, I pressed on toward your beep and finally spotted just a glimpse of blaze orange.  What if he is between you and I?   What if you spot him and begin a chase?  As I closed in, I could see you on a solid point.

A very solid point.

Forcing myself to take some deep breaths and try to calm down, I moved closer to you.  You spotted me approaching, and don’t think for a minute I didn’t see you give me that dirty look, like; “where the hell have you been all this time?”

I creep closer, looking and looking ahead of me, and you, for a sign of feather.  Nothing.  You take one step.  I still don’t see.  I step closer.  Closer.  I am anticipating being startled by the buck again.  All of the sudden a flutter of yellow, orange, blue black wing rises up out of the tall grass and takes to the sky.

“Boom!”  My gun goes off.

“Fetch!” I cry, and in doing so, a second rooster busts out of the grass just left of the first one, and heads straight away from me as you bolt into the grass after the first bird.

“Boom!  Boom!  Boom!”

“Fetch!”  I cry, hoping you will mark that second bird, and I begin to run towards where I thought it went down.

I can hear you pushing through the thick grass, so I stop, and begin calling;

“Bring it here!  Bring it here!” to help you locate me.  You appear like magic, with rooster in tow.

“Give!  Good boy!  Thank you!”  And I point out into the grass.

“Fetch it!”BuddyBird

You bound back into the deep cover, off for the second bird.  I see glimpses of blaze orange bouncing through the grass.  And then, I notice something else bounding through the grass to the right. The giant buck has made a run for it once again, and is gracefully leaping down the field towards the adjacent woods.  His magnificent rack seemed to float across the top of the heavy cover.  I tried to count points.  It was impossible—maybe 12 or more?  And the main beams were simply unbelievable.

And suddenly there you were, with bird in mouth once again.

“Good boy!  Give!”  And you surrendered our second bird to my hand, then quickly rolled over onto your back, rolling back and forth in euphoric, bird ecstasy.

You had no idea about that buck.

Lucky for all of us.

All the way home I kept thinking about that buck.  No doubt you kept thinking about those birds.  We both had the good fortune of getting our natural high.

I’d  never been so proud of you as I was that day.  You held that point for me a good 10 minutes despite the ultimate distraction.  What a good boy.  I am certain that if that little red hobby farm goes up for sale again, this time I will not let it pass me by.

You can read all about my boy… there are lots of stories under “Buddy – A Series of Adventures” in my blog category, “Words From The Wild”.  Please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in our stories.

 

 

 

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