If you’re of the sentiment, as John Buchan was, that fishing is “a perpetual series of occasions for hope,” I’d highly recommend trying to finding birds out here:
You will walk farther than you think, and look back to see that you’ve put precious little landscape between you and where you started. You’ll find yourself putting up the same bird repeatedly as you make your way across the field, always flushing just out of range, or, not coincidentally, taking wing just as you’re distracted by a bull moose the size of a small mastodon on the far ridge. You’ll invariably find yourself making your way back to the truck against the wind, no matter which direction it was blowing when you started; the dense grass grabbing at your boots and slowing your progress. I can only compare it to wading upstream against a stiff current. For miles.
You’ll lose your dog and curse him with a level of creativity you never knew you possessed, only to crest a rise and find him locked down on a covey, doing exactly what he should be with exemplary style, and you’ll turn the stream of invective deservedly on yourself. After picking up one downed bird and stuffing it in your vest as the others continue over the horizon, you’ll offer part of your meatloaf sandwich and it dawns on you that he will never, ever hold any of your shortcomings against you; that he will continue tolerating hunting with you until you undoubtedly tire before he does.
This may indeed be another one of those pursuits that is an endless series of occasions for hope. But then again, it was that wry wit Ben Franklin that said, “He that lives on hope will die fasting.” So no matter how boundless your optimism may be, don’t bother venturing into this country, in pursuit of sharptails, without one of these:
And by all means, trust him.