Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hunting for the Missing Birds...

In working in Abilene for more than 12 years there aren't many events that I haven't shot a few times over, and even fewer that I've never shot at all. Well, the DRI Celebrity Quail Hunt, now called the Big Country Celebrity Ultimate Hunt. I guess it has a lot to do with schedule and me usually working nights. Anyway, I was finally going to shoot it, and had to be up early to do so. For the newspaper, I was shooting photos for two different stories. The front page story was about the declining quail population in the area. I'm not a bird hunter, so I didn't really know this, but the population of quail in the area has been declining in the area for a while. And, with the awful drought from last year, finding wild quail in the area is damn near impossible... not that I would know, a bird looks like a bird to me!
When I got to the hotel I asked the guide I was going on the hunt with if we would even find any birds at all. I was told it was going to be a "canned hunt," basically meaning that quail raised in captivity were being put out there to shoot. While I was walking around the fields with the hunters a couple of the hunters told me even if they did see a wild quail they wouldn't shoot at it since the population is so low. They'd rather wait in hopes to preserve the current population. It was a really interesting statement given how often you hear people complain about hunting. Most hunters I've ever talked to seem to be more concerned about animal populations than most.

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