Friday, 10 August 2018 05:03

Making of a Quail Hunter - Part 4

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Making of a Quail Hunter - Part 4 Making of a Quail Hunter - Part 4 Image courtesy of Joe Liles

HAMLET - One good thing about being my own breadwinner was that I was able to buy my first quail hunting vehicle, a blue 1951 Chevrolet pick-up truck that needed a clutch.  It was $275, had three windows in the back, the starter on the floor and a 3-speed stick.  Boy, it was nice! 

About that time I also got my first bird dog.  Kate was a white-haired pointer with a light lemon patch over her left eye.  My dad and I built a dog box for my truck with supplies we bought at Carolina Building Supply in Rockingham. Kate was a started (untrained) dog so we were both in training.

In the 1960’s you didn’t have to go far from town to find birds.  I started shooting my dad’s 16 gauge, LC Smith double-barrel.  It was his dad’s, so it was well-used.  It wasn’t a Browning like most of the railroad kids had, but I didn’t care.  I do remember Kate bumping a few birds but she really trained herself.   

About this time a lot of my friends joined the Hamlet Hunt Club in the northern part of the county.  It was in the Sandhills and was primarily a deer club.  It had a clubhouse with some sleeping quarters and a kitchen.  I joined but didn’t get to go much because of my job.  I went deer hunting a few times, but it was quail hunting that was in my blood.  However, on the Saturdays that there was cooking at the club, I would find my way there for a feast of collards, sweet potatoes, deer stew and biscuits.   

There were plenty of quail on some virgin quail ground that the club had acquired from the Buchanans.  It was a former cattle farm with heads and ponds, no soybeans or farming, just native grasses and acorn heads.  Whenever I got a day off from work, I could drop the reins on old Blue and he would head straight there.  

It was a tendency of mine to hang around older people when I was young and my quail mentor was Arthur McDuffie, a huge, strapping southpaw with a big voice who looked as if he had just come from the isles of Scotland.  He was a railroad man who trained bird dogs on the side and usually kept 5 or 6 pointers or setters.  With his big voice, when a dog messed up it sounded like the McDonalds and McLeans and Campbells were at war.  I always felt sorry for his dogs when they were being reprimanded.  Once when Kate messed up I tried to whip her with a pea vine.  Arthur found this ridiculous and said so in no uncertain terms and remarking that that was not going to work!    

Arthur drove a truck that was on its last leg.  You could usually hear it before you saw it.  When we were in that truck, there was no sneaking up on a covey!  We did, however, shoot a lot of birds in those days with his setter, Sport, and pointer, Joe, and my Kate.  By the end of that season, Kate was a finished dog at 3 years old and I was only 17!  What a combo! 







Last modified on Friday, 10 August 2018 07:18