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  • Writer's pictureChris Midgette

Hunting Paradox: Misery & Romance

In the world of bird hunting, there exists a peculiar dichotomy, a curious dance between suffering and romance, a paradox that only those who've ventured into the wild with shotgun and canine accomplice can truly understand. It's a tale as old as time. This tale in particular, begins with the protagonist, a humble bird hunter, and his trusty Boykin Spaniel, Traveller.

On the surface, bird hunting with Traveller seemed like a romantic endeavor, a bond built in the shared love for the pursuit of game birds. But the reality, my friends, was far from idyllic. It was a tale of sore muscles, aching legs, tired shoulders, and hips that felt like they'd seen better days.

Picture this: a crisp autumn morning, the air filled with the promise of adventure, and the hunter donning his finest gear, a shotgun in hand. Traveller, always eager, wagging his nub in wild anticipation, was ready to dive headlong into the thickets and cattails that awaited. And so, they ventured forth into the wilderness, ready to conquer the day.

But the terrain, oh the terrain! It was as if Mother Nature herself had a grudge against this intrepid duo. Fallen logs became Everest-like obstacles, requiring acrobatic feats to surmount. Thick cattails conspired to entangle the hunter's every step, turning a simple walk into a Sisyphean struggle. Traveller, oblivious to the human's plight, bounded through it all with the grace of a gazelle.

Then came the thorn thickets, those sadistic barbed barricades that seemed to spring up at the most inconvenient of times. The hunter, driven by a strange mixture of determination and madness, bulldozed through these prickly mazes, leaving shreds of clothing and skin as tribute to the thorns.

As the hours wore on, misery became the hunter's constant companion. Every step was an exercise in self-inflicted torture. His legs ached as if they'd run a marathon, his shoulders throbbed from the weight of the shotgun, and his hips—oh, his poor hips—protested with every climb over fallen logs.

But here's the thing: despite the misery, the pain, and the torment, our intrepid bird hunter loved every minute of it. It was a love for the hunt, an inexplicable connection to the wild, and the undeniable charm of Traveller, whose enthusiasm was infectious.

The moment Traveller flushed a pheasant from its hiding place was a symphony of chaos and exhilaration. The rooster exploded into the air, the shotgun roared, and Traveller dashed through the underbrush with a fervor that could only be described as poetry in motion. And yet, in that moment, beauty was born from chaos.

And let us not forget the grand finale—the retrieval. Traveller, now in retriever mode, would bring back the downed bird with a triumphant gleam in his eye. The way he carried himself, with that pheasant held high, was a sight to behold. His whole rear end wagged with such enthusiasm that one might think he'd won the lottery.

So, it was with this paradox that our bird hunter returned home, battered and bruised, clothes torn, and ego somewhat dented. He nursed his wounds, both physical and metaphorical, with a glass of fine bourbon, all the while romanticizing the hunt in his mind.

It was during these post-hunt reveries that the hunter transformed into a bard of the wild, spinning tales of adventure that would make even Hemingway raise an eyebrow. He spoke of the beauty of the hunt, the thrill of the chase, and the indomitable spirit of Traveller. His words painted a picture of a world where discomfort and misery were mere footnotes in the grand saga of bird hunting.

As he regaled friends and family with his stories, the hunter's eyes sparkled with a strange mix of nostalgia and bravado. He recounted the rooster that had burst forth like a fiery phoenix, the grouse that had played a game of hide-and-seek among the trees, and the quail that had led them on a merry chase.

In these moments, he was no longer the beleaguered soul who had battled thorn thickets and fallen logs. He was a hero, a conqueror of the wild, a champion of the chase. His tales grew larger with each telling, and Traveller, the faithful sidekick, became a legendary hound whose exploits knew no bounds.

And so, dear readers, we find ourselves at the heart of this paradox—the dichotomy of the bird hunter. It's a tale of suffering and romance, of misery and joy, of sore muscles and soaring spirits. For in the world of bird hunting, it's not just the game birds that are hunted; it's also the hunter's own sense of self, his resilience, and his enduring love for a pursuit that defies reason.

As for Traveller, he remained ever faithful, oblivious to the embellishments of his master's stories. Not that he would ever rat out his owner anyways. To him, the hunt was a grand adventure, a chance to revel in the wild, and a chance to share a bond that transcended words. And perhaps, in the end, that's what bird hunting is truly about—the inexplicable, unbreakable bond between man and his trusty spaniel, a bond that can weather the storms of thorn thickets and the heights of fallen logs, a bond that is, in itself, a thing of beauty.

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