2018 Kansas Hunting Adventure
Someone once said, “If you fall in a mud puddle, you should check your pockets for a fish.” If hunting trips are about making memories and not necessarily what you bag, then we still had a successful hunt. Our Kansas bird hunting trip didn’t go quite as planned. We headed out by truck early on a Thursday morning bound for Kansas. We had originally planned to head to Thomas County area, but our friend who was going to be hunting with us needed to be back at the airport in Wichita by 7 A.M Sunday morning. We decided to shave a few hours off of the trip and head to Mitchell County. This was a new area for us. We had our 3 dogs loaded up, Harry our Spinone or Pudelpointer (Really it’s a mystery), Puppy our three legged wonder…(ahem, GSP) and Purdey our 6 month old Spinone (her homeland happens to be Kansas), our gear, coolers, guns, and probably a few pounds of useless things. The forecast said it was going be cold and maybe a chance of snow. No problem. We can handle that! We had been planning this trip for a while and we weren’t cancelling it. That may or may not have been the first sign that our plan was getting off track.
We all arrived in Kansas with no incident. We ate dinner in Salina and then checked into our room in Downs. The roads were icy and anything that wasn’t paved was a nasty sloppy mess. Our alarms were set for 5 A.M. Everyone woke up that next morning and got the truck re loaded. I was going along with the motions but wasn’t feeling so hot. We went into town to get some coffee and breakfast before we headed out. By the time we reached the convenience store, I was 100% positive that PETA had sent me a virus. I quickly told Bo to drop me back off at the room. One man (or woman) down. No problem, we still have 3 more hunters and 3 dogs ready to go. I knew when the guys and dogs returned they would have bag limits of pheasant and quail to boast about.
This is Bo, I'm going to fill you in on day 1 since amber was left to die in the room. One down as Amber said but don't worry there were three more to the wolf pack ready to tackle our first public hunt in Kanas. Growing up in East Texas, I have had little experience driving in the snow so within 30 mins of finishing breakfast, we had found ourselves stuck in a snow drift for the first time. It was not really that big of a deal as we were able to back out since we were headed up a hill.
From there, We decided it was probably time to turn around and head another direction. Armed with OnX and a Kanas Hunting Atlas, the pack headed for drier ground and a some more cover. A short distance away, there was a harvested corn field that showed to be very promising. The boys and I, Including the dogs, were very eager to get out and see a bird or two.
Much to our avail, We did not see any birds in that field or any of the others that we stopped at along the way that day. The scenery was certainly beautiful and we saw much of the country side along the way.
It's me, Amber again:
That evening the hunting pack returns. I’m back amongst the living. (Although for a short time period, I was writing my last will and testament in my head.) We decide to reach out to a gentleman that we had met through The Hunting Dog Podcast. (Hi Chad!) We got Chad on the phone and within a few minutes everybody was looking at their Kansas Atlas and Onx maps. After about 30 minutes on the phone with Chad, we had a new plan of attack for our hunt tomorrow.
Everyone is up and getting dressed by 5:00 A.M on Saturday morning. Out the door we go to load up in the truck. Upon opening the door, it is sideways snowing. Well looks like we are going to go hunting in a blizzard. We are still not deterred. Remember we are from East Texas. We are totally used to blizzards. NOT. Let me also tell you who also isn’t phased, the dogs. They don’t care. They are thrilled to be heading out again. The roads out to the highway are a mixture of Ice, mud, and snow. For about 3 miles we mud hog to get to the highway. After about an hour and a half we arrived at the first walk in hunting access that we had mapped out the night before. As we unloaded from the truck, pheasants started flushing at the sound of the truck doors shutting. This is looking promising. Let me interject here that it is still snowing and the field looks like something off of my daughter’s favorite movie, Frozen.
We hunt that field for about 45 minutes. The dogs flush a hen, but that’s about all we see. We decided to get back in the truck and drive up the road to another location. Once back in truck the weather is really deteriorating. Visibility is steadily getting worse, the snow is falling harder,and the wind is steadily picking up. We all agree that it is time to turn around and head back to town.
This is the part of the story where, excuse my language, shit gets real. We realize that we have to turn around immediately on the road and not at a cross section because there is a huge snow drift in front of us and we know we won’t make it through it. Cue the 20 point turn. Except about on point 3 the truck slides into the ditch. There is no getting out of this situation. It is about 11am. So time is on our side. The weather is not. Fortunately we still have cell phone signal and diesel in the tank. Back in East Texas finding a big stout pine tree is typically your solution in situations like these. I am reminded we are in Kansas and no such tree or stout object in general is available to hook up to. We call about 4 towing companies and triple A. No luck. Apparently we are off of paved roads and no one really wants to come out to the middle of nowhere in a snow storm and pull our asses out. Bo and Nathan decide to take off walking to a farm house that we passed about 4 miles up the road. While they are trekking through the mud, ice, wind, and snow…. I’m still calling.
I think I re called a towing company that we had already been turned down by. I re explained the situation and also told him that we had plenty of cash. Ah Hah! We seemed to turn a corner. He said he would be there in about an hour. I call Bo and Nathan to tell them the good news that maybe we won’t be sleeping in the truck after all.
About an hour and half later, the tow truck driver calls and says he is having a hard time getting to us but he is still trying. I keep anxiously looking down the road to see if I see him, but I don’t. All of sudden I do hear an engine but there is nothing coming down the road. I look towards a field and here comes military surplus 6x6 charging through a field. I have to tell you it was a glorious sight. The first words out of the drivers mouth was “You are in quite a bad situation” and then “Where are you from?” Yes, I totally agree we are in a bad situation and no I don’t really want to talk about where I am from right now. By this time Bo and Nathan have just now made it back to the truck from their 2 hour hike. I’m going to let the pictures illustrate getting pulled out.
We came home from Kansas with no birds. But we did come back home with a hell of a story. We aren’t done with Kansas. We will be back. But probably not in a snow storm. Really who I am kidding, we take more than once to learn from our mistakes. The people from Kansas and the other bird hunters we met on and through this trip are some of the best people. We truly can’t wait to be back chasing pheasant and quail again next year.
In the coming weeks we will be staying in Texas chasing woodcock and South Texas bobwhites. I’m not sure that the stories will be as exciting, but then again…..you never know with us.
****We get a lot of questions about our dogs. I guess they do look quite interesting. Harry is about 7 years old and was adopted from Texas GSP Rescue. He originally landed into the rescues care as a stray dog thought to be a GWP. He def isn’t a GWP, but we aren’t sure what he is. He is a hell of a bird dog though. People ask why we don’t do a DNA test on him. We like the mystery. Harry is a mysterious kind of dude.
Then we have Puppy the Tripod German Shorthaired Pointer. She also is adopted from Texas German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue. She was found as a young pup walking down a rural highway dragging a broken back leg. Don’t feel sorry for her, she doesn’t even know she is supposed to have 4 legs. If you ever get to meet her in person you will be amazed. She is one of the fastest dogs I have ever seen. Many people are surprised to learn that two of our bird dogs are adopted. Try it out one day. Adopted bird dogs have just as much drive and heart as any bird dog.
Then there is Purdey, an Italian Spinone. She is not adopted. We spent a considerable amount of time researching her breed and seeking out a breeder (Griffin's Hedgerow Hunters). Her nose is incredible and she can blindly track anything we have challenged her to. She is still a puppy but has a promising future ahead of her and her first NAHVDA test is coming up soon.