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There's just one thing that sucks the joy out of hunting more than a cold north wind on the small of your back. No, that's not a fair comparison. It's much worse than that. There's just one thing that sucks the joy out of a hunt more than being in an after dark -10 below zero Montana bale lot waiting for the fog to lift so you can find your truck....or up to your balls on the wrong side of the ice in a North Dakota marsh...or leaving the raw side of your jeans on the downhill side of a Nevada chukar slope.

There's only one thing that will cause a tough bird hunter to just give in and let nature have her way with him. An empty game bag.

Nothing sucks the joy out of a hunt or life, like an empty bag.

With a little plump in your game bag, you can smile at just about anything nature and your own stupidity throw at you. Because, you might not be much of a navigator, planner or naturalist, but you damn sure are a good bird hunter.

Then there are the severe times. When you go through that brief period of realization that you’ve been a poor friend, father, husband or lover. That‘s when you want to grab your gun and dog and get after some birds. It‘s not a mean thing or get even thing. It‘s a get right with yourself thing. That‘s what we find in our hunting. Not just introspection and self-examination, it’s deeper than that. It’s Neanderthal. It’s the first step towards human survival. Because when you’re a good hunter you’ve mastered the most primal and current need of a human being. And when you can step away from the mechanical monotony of just living and make life out of a shotgun and a bird dog, to do this while surrounded by every day stiffs trying to make their life memorable with money, is no small thing.

You’ll want to hunt hard. Get your birds and you will get right with yourself. Then go home and get right with your demons.

Everyone needs something in their life to be good at. Something that's infallible in their life. It's the lucky man who has bird hunting.

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