The first bird up is a harlequin male, whirring a bit behind, left to right and going fast. The gun is up, swinging, leading, barking. The bird is down. Just because. Just because this is what we are after. Not a tweety. Not a meadowlark. Not a kangaroo rat. Quail. Mearns.

She is on it now, picking it up, spitting it out. Setter-style. This is what we are after.
The “making of birds” had been a furious tail wag, but the human translation of canine language saw it little different than mousing or tweety-birding. No offer of pointing. Making birds, yes. But hunting birds? Not even. But the male Mearns is down and dead and I’m squeaking happy noises and she’s grinning and jumping up on my belt and I’m good-girling in an excited voice. Oh, this is what we are after.

The next bird is the same, frantic wagging, but the bird out wild before she can point. Shooting this one too and she is sprinting and sniffing at it again.
There have been Huns and roosters and grouse and chukar.

These are the first quail.


Author: Tom Reed

Four English setters tell me what to do.

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