One of the most important rules for being a good hunting partner is to not be a “claimer.” You know, the kind of guy who every time his gun goes off and a bird happens to fall immediately crows, “I got him!” – irrespective of whether anybody else shot. Once exposed as a claimer, you tend to find yourself hunting alone a lot.
But when a covey of bobwhite quail poured out of the broomsedge in front of a pair of stylish setters and my partner Ed Rader and I both swung on the same bird, I was pretty sure that it puffed at the bark of my Fox – which is to say, a split-second before the cract of Ed’s RBL. So, in the way of us graybeards who are long past the point of having anything to prove but still enjoy getting in a dig, I turned and said, “Ed, you’re shooting at dead birds again.”
“You may be right about that,” he replied, smiling. “But where I come from,” he added, bending down to accept the retrieved bird from Gus, his strapping all-white setter, “possession is still none-tenths of the law.”
We were gunning the high field at a place called Chandler’s Farm, one of the many patches of quail hunting heaven that the folks at Wild Wing Lodge have quilted together to create 4,000 acres of some of the prettiest, birdiest, most soul-satisfying country a man can follow a brace of classy dogs through. Tucked back – way back – in the smoky hills and hollows near the Ohio River in western Kentucky, the barn-like lodge and adjacent kennels lie at the end of a one-lane road so remote that, as Rader quips, “The first time I drove it, I swear I heard banjos.” Read the entire article by Tom Davis here.