Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Same Song, Different Verse...

One of the many misconceptions about my area of the southern plains (basically the western halves of both Oklahoma and Kansas as well as the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles) is that it is uniformly and monotonously flat. It's not.

While it is true we lack the obvious and dramatic rises in elevation of more vertically-endowed areas, there are many areas of the southern plains that are quite rugged, indeed. And let me tell you, they can be a real bitch to hunt.

With the clock winding down on The Great Dismal Season, I decided to give one such area a try. It's a spot north of my house that consists of a series of deep, cedar-and-brush-choked canyons. I generally don't hunt it much in the early season. It's snakey as hell and I've never found many birds there, anyway, but since this year I'm not finding birds anywhere else, last weekend I thought "what the hell" and loaded up the dogs.

It's just like this, one deep cleft after another. I'm not in hard-core chukar hunter shape, but I'm not in "hop-my-fat-ass-on-the-quad-and-go" shape, either. I'm a pretty good walker (I have to be if I want to hunt) but after a few hours of side-hilling these canyons, I was about beat. So was Tess, whom I brought along not because she's a good upland dog (she's not) but because I felt guilty that duck season had ended the week before while I was in Vegas.

We were both doing a lot of this...

While Jenny was doing a lot of this...

Waiting for us. I still don't have a clue what kind of dog she's going to end up being, but I can't deny the little girl's got a motor on her...

After a few hours of that, I decided to go up top into the daylight and hunt a few old overgrown shelterbelts that, in the past, had given up a few birds for me. I needn't have bothered...

 Looks a little sparse, doesn't it? In a normal year there'd be all kinds of grasses and weedy forbs growing along these old horse apple trees. And maybe even a few quail. But not this year. Actually it looks downright lush in the picture compared to the in-person reality. And that's basically what the entire western half of the state looks like.

So we ended up back at the truck for the obligatory tailgate shot...

Sans birds, of course. I'm getting really good at taking that kind of picture this year...


  1. Remember when we were kids and the Eastern Red Cedar had yet to take over? And I won't get you started on how we used to have birds to shoot (at).

  2. I wouldn't worry too much about that setter. The one thing you can't put in them is a desire to find birds. The rest you can work out over time. If she wants to go after them, she'll be fine.

  3. I sure hoped you would find a seed or two for the next season1

  4. Must be that Mayan Calendar thing.

  5. Hey Steve. Sorry I missed seeing you & Libby back in September. Busy days. Hope you're well.

  6. Anon, I think the eastern red cedar is the cockroach of the tree world...

    Mark, you're right of course, I think she'll turn out OK, if we ever find birds...

    Steve (H) Hi man! Good to hear from you. Sorry for not catching before having to take off from the DU camp.

    Steve (B) It's letting you post comments again!

    1. Indeed ER Cedar is analogous to cockroach in many ways, clearly the cedar doesn't fit into the "outta sight or outta mind" type problem. Question: When was the last time a cockroach bothered you and was it lingering? I can't recall ever getting pissed off at a cockroach...just stomp it and done. Cedars piss me off every time I drive by one, which is to say alot.

  7. Just linked up to Steve H's blog. An old friend-- small world!