|picnic lunch at the Red River|
|Texas Comanche Moon|
|Jack the Dog|
My son William and I left Little Rock Thursday and pointed the FJ Cruiser west on I 40 . I had hopes that my first trip to the Texas panhandle was an aberation and we would find birds in better numbers than last trip. William had deer on his mind and wasn't planning on not finding them. My first clue that his trip would work out better than mine came when we crossed the 100th meridian. I 40 was simply a slaughter house for the next 12 miles. I am happy that I don't insure autos in that area. After a couple of really rough days I decided to try my luck in the Black Kettle National Grasslands.I didn't know deer season opened the day before and was stunned by the amount of hunters that were there. The deer hunter you know is better than the deer hunter you don't know if you are a birdhunter so retreated back to Texas to finish the day. Seventy-eight degress didn't help with my confidence that my brace of setters would locate our quarry. Thats about the way it turned out.At the end of the day as I set under a Texas Comanche moon and waited on William to return from his deerstand these thoughts floated through my head (helped out by a Shiner Bock or two). Gone are the days of twelve to twenty coveys of bobs, gone are the days of looking at a dog pointing an empty space under a mesquite tree only to see it explode with a furious flush of birds, gone are the days of seeing a covey of birds flush when you close your truck door, and gone are the chances of long days with your dogs and friends with the memories you have made as somewone missed an easy shot or your best dog flushed an easy covey or even better you young puppy pointed and held a bird for you. My final tally for the trip was three days of following five beautiful English Setters and one horny Boykin and pointing four or five covey of quail. We had several great points but I can only assume they were the ghost coveys of the Comancheria. Williams hunt ended much better for him but not for the ten point whitetail and he can't wait until next year. I am terrified that Gentleman Bob has left the building for good.I did have the good luck of seeing a Coopers Hawk strafing a group of larks and had wonderful lunches with family, friends,and a guitar at the Red River each day. The Texas landscape and mystique will continue to bring me back, and I look forward to our next trip.