Early Bird Hunt 2018 by Caraline Dudley

By February 13, 2019Uncategorized

On the first day of Brigades camp, Dr. Rollins said, “I’m making diamonds out of y’all in 5 days. Heat and pressure are good for you.” His heat and pressure did a lot of good for me. I took what he taught us in 5 days and worked in my community to earn a place on the Early Bird Hunt 2018.  Before I get into our weekend adventures, I would like to thank Hawks Double Mountain Ranch for providing us with lodging and hunting opportunities at their wonderful facilities. I would also like to thank Mr. Roger for keeping our bellies full! His cooking was absolutely wonderful. He made the BEST stew and bread pudding. I would also like to thank Mr. Pasley, Dr. Rollins, and the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch for sharing their time and resources with us!

Friday afternoon kicked off with cadets visiting and getting acquainted with our chaperones for the weekend.  After supper, Mr. Pasley, the local game warden, spoke to us about his job and then let us look at his night vision. I’ve never used night vision before – I could see clear as day!

Saturday morning, the cold air stinging our lungs, we spent time in a deer blind. The deer hunting was memorable. Mimi and I enjoyed watching bull elk, and whitetail does and bucks. They paired the two most talkative girls together, which may be why we didn’t have better luck!  My favorite part of the hunt by far was after the morning hunt, watching Shaggy and Tracer work the fields and find birds. I’ve never upland hunted behind dogs or watched pointers work before! It was very different from the waterfowl hunting I do in East Texas. A good dog is a good dog and seeing these dogs in action was impressive.  The rush of adrenaline and excitement when the birds flushed was a whole different experience. Watching the dogs jump and catch birds was exciting. I appreciate Dr. Rollins allowing us to hunt over his dogs.

After Saturday’s hunt, I couldn’t have wished for a better way to end the evening. It doesn’t get much better than ending the day with my Brigades family; it is something I’m glad to be a part of. We ate supper then we all went out to the barn to take care of the harvested animals. Between the shared stories, the jokes, and all the laughs, I’d say we had a good time. Although every person there came from different backgrounds and has different views on life, we gathered under the common interest of wildlife conservation and bobwhite quail. We were all able to talk about the work we put into our local communities and talk about how great it was to be under the same roof once again. Before we turned in for the night, we all shared our favorite part of the day. I think we all agreed listening to Ms. Bralyn’s stories, watching Dr. Rollins dogs work, and just being in the outdoors was the best part of the day.

Sunday morning, it was sadly time to pack up. I enjoyed skeet shooting and catching pointers to better myself. As we toured the Rolling Plains Research Ranch, I found my favorite view from Telemetry Ridge. As we looked off the ridge, Dr. Rollins told stories about the place. There was quail habitat for as far as the eye could see, and all used for research. Perhaps the most touching thing for me on this trip was the names of different fields. Each field was named after one a deceased bird dog. There is truly no bond greater than the one between a man and his dog. The stories behind what has made the ranch into what it is today, and the stories behind each dog, buried in one of those fields showed that “to be remembered after you’re gone, you must do something worth remembering.”

Over lunch on Sunday, the cadets talked about what we planned to do after the hunt. All 5 cadets all had their plans for January hacked out. We all planned to be back at camp in June. We had goals set that we had accomplished thus far and goals set for the future. We know that to receive the joys of being an Assistant Covey Leader we had to put in the work. One thing I noticed on this trip was everyone there had done their fair share of work to get there. According to Suzie’s 10 Point Plan for Success: Point 4, the fourth component to being successful is putting in the work to go the extra mile with a never-say-quit work ethic. Everybody had to put in their share of work, to get the result. I also learned Suzie’s 5th point will get you just about anywhere. If you can stay focused on the mission, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

This experience was delightful for me. I enjoyed everything from the small lessons, to the inside jokes, to every sit-down meal. This was definitely a weekend I could never forget. I hope to see everyone again in June. I cannot thank one particular person enough for making me into the person I am today; however, I know that Texas Brigades and the Rolling Plains Bobwhite Brigade Early Bird Hunt this weekend definitely contributed.

Caraline Dudley

Rolling Plains Bobwhite Brigade Cadet

McKenzie Mull

Author McKenzie Mull

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