I was fascinated with the birds and the dogs and the camaraderie of the hunters. Watching a rooster burst and sparkle in the sun as he ejected from a snowy draw was a sight to behold. It was great fun and walking the farm fields of Iowa was the best. I was hooked bad (or was it good?). When I got my drivers license and a car, I was pretty much gone whether trout fishing or bird hunting. Try carrying your bird dog in a Triumph TR-4 sometime on icy country roads. Believe me I wanted to go!
Right now, there is a glimmer of hope that a new generation of young folks out there will experience good bird numbers and get hooked on hunting birds. They NEED to KILL some and admire them in their hand. They need to see a good dog quiver on point and feel the moment right before the birds burst from cover and the gun coming up to their shoulder. They need to watch that dog bring back their first killed bird and lift it from his mouth. That is what makes a future dog guy and maybe, just maybe some day, he'll want to compete with the best dog he ever had and win a field trial.
I do hope right now we are seeing a chance for the resurrection of our sport because I believe it takes birds to make a bird dog and it takes birds and dogs to make a bird hunting young person. How can we honestly expect someone to truly "get it" if they haven't seen good dogs in action and enough birds to feed their interest. It sure isn't some poor flying released quail that will do this. Are you kidding me?
Don't you wish potential young hunters could see and feel the flush of a ruffed grouse as he helicopters thru the only opening in the overstory or a covey of quail make for a cedar thicket from under the toes of his boots? This is what hooked me and then it became clear later that I wanted the best dogs I could get. Now all I care about is the dogs and the work and the steadiness and the bird finding. But it came from hunting those wild birds. There is a chance we have an opening and I sure hope the kids are getting to walk some fields to hunt some birds!