Lucky at the Honey Hole

Quail hunting at the Beretta Shooting Grounds is always a pleasure and sometimes, it’s downright magical.  This post from friend, client, and wordsmith Robert Parvin Williams captures the magic of one such experience.  His words make me relive that special day, which is without a doubt the best quail hunt of my life. — John Burrell

The morning hunt was wet and damp, the pinewoods dark under a gunmetal sky, but now the afternoon sun breaks through and the broomsedge hills spring into bright relief.  John releases Lucky’s collar and sends the setter across the first covert, known locally as “The Honey Hole,” a bowl-shaped depression between brushy hills that tumble down to a tiny creek.  Some moments capture everything there is to say about a dog, and this is one of them.

In good light or bad, Lucky has style, but in this particular January light, he covers ground like a brush over canvas, the confident motions of a master’s hand defining contour and meaning in fluid strokes. And then suddenly the moment freezes; Lucky stands still as a statue.

We move quickly into the picture, send Abby, the little cocker, bounding and whirling into the tall grass at Lucky’s nose, and as the covey explodes we shoot and shoot again.  Abby retrieves our quail, John touches Lucky lightly, and we’re off again.

Another slashing streak across the wind, a point, another covey; then another, another, and again another.  In 30 minutes we raise a hundred birds or more and the day takes on a wildly cinematic feel, frames reeling by in rapid-fire stops and starts.

We are riding the artist’s brush: a flick here, a touch, a sweeping curve, the setter ahead defining the flow of time and shaping the day into memory.  We reach the end of the Honey Hole and do not want to stop, but it is time.  The canvas is complete.  There is always tomorrow.

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