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Posts Tagged ‘Ravenwood Lodge’

Good friends, great place … what better locale for Manny to come into his own than Ravenwood Lodge in Kansas? Joe, Bob, and Mark shared the shooting duties while I handled dogs at Ravenwood’s Mission Creek fields, and with some trepidation I put both Uncle Buddy and nephew Manny on the ground at the same time.

If you’ve handled two dogs simultaneously, you know what it can resemble: rodeo, three-ring circus, cluster %&*%, right? When the stars align, though, it’s magic. That was today. 

Bird after bird held tight for Buddy’s points. Time after time, Manny would slide into a graceful, natural honor of his uncle’s find, reflecting his genetics twice over: ancestry and instinct. By the end of the day, he’d given up trying to eat the big birds, instead bringing them in the right direction (toward me) quite often. Force fetching is next spring’s project, so this was a true gift.

But enough words. If you have a pup, you’ll agree here’s something worth a thousand of them:

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Historic Mission Creek Lodge, at Ravenwood since the Civil War era

Historic Mission Creek Lodge, at Ravenwood since the Civil War era

Good friends often do make the hunt. That was the case along the edge of Kansas’ Flint Hills at Ravenwood Lodge. 

I’m often happiest hunting alone, nobody else determining the direction, pace, nor “helping” handle Buddy. But after a week on the road, friends are a welcome change from solitary pursuit. This stop on the Awesome Upland Road Trip was all about that.

The Corbets, big and little Ken, tend some of the best habitat in the Midwest. That, in turn, offers challenging yet satisfying hunting. Buddy cast left and right, first with the wind at his back and doubling into it on each turn. One memorable buttonhook pattern yielded a quail-ringneck double that little Ken and I shared

Even Buddy’s well-honed sense of smell was challenged and after several wild flushes, I asked that we get to the downwind side and do it right. I am glad I did. 

Have you ever argued with your dog about where the birds are? I learned long ago to follow the hunter with the longest nose, and after a fruitless pass through head-high CRP, I let Buddy lead us to the fencerows.

The Tri-Tronics beeper with hawk scream earned its recharge that night. We never saw Buddy lock up once. But we heard him, and followed our ears into bobwhite after bobwhite. True to form, Buddy never griped about the tough conditions.

Maybe you’ve experienced that day in the field when your dog is at his best, even if your shooting isn’t. And you had witnesses who appreciate it. That was today, and it reminds me that hunting dogs are simply four-footed miracles.

Take a moment, and remember when it happened to you …

You’re welcome.

We wore our Irish Setter boots through thorn thickets and grass that pulled at laces all day. Where would you take your new pair? Tell me in the comments section below, and you might win a pair!

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