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The Road Continues: Bird Camp

The Road Continues: Bird Camp

The Road Continues: Bird Camp

STORY BY Dale Spartas
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Dale Spartas

The Road Continues: Bird Camp

STORY BY Dale Spartas
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Dale Spartas

The Road Continues: Bird Camp

STORY BY Dale Spartas
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Dale Spartas
‘‘

Bird Camp is an eagerly anticipated annual pilgrimage, now in its ninth year. The players have remained the same, except for Brian Fay (the Counselor), who dropped out after the fourth year. New invitees are carefully scrutinized and sworn to secrecy before being brought into the Secret Spot Bird Camp (SSBC) fold. Only two others from the original core group have been inducted and the idea of ritualistic ceremony likened to fraternity pledging is under consideration. I’m known as Sparky and received the moniker Walking Dale the second year of Bird Camp, as I tend to cover large expanses of ground. (I’ve slowed down somewhat in the last 5 years.) The main characters are the dogs, of which there are seven—a combo of setters and pointers and a black Lab.

All SSBC crewmembers are serious dawg men and wild-bird hunters (not in the sense of being wild, although all were in their youth). Each is an adequate shot (except yours truly) and only shoots pointed birds or birds obviously worked by flushing dogs. All birds are religiously cleaned and packaged or consumed in camp. We adhere to limits and game laws and support conservation efforts like Pheasants Forever, Ruffed Grouse Society, and Quail Forever. We enjoy post-hunt beers and a dram or two of whiskey once the guns are cased and stowed. We prefer red wines over whites, except when fish, quail, or chukar is served. We enjoy pranks and good, politically incorrect, gut-busting (occasionally raunchy) jokes. All SSBC attendees assume camp duties, roll up their sleeves, and willingly dive into chores like washing dishes, fetching water, cleaning, gathering firewood, and dressing birds. Cooking is the Reverend’s domain, and one would be wise to tread lightly when he’s working in the kitchen.

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ARTICLES FROM THE OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2015 ISSUE
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The Road Continues: Bird Camp

Bird Camp is an eagerly anticipated annual pilgrimage, now in its ninth year. The players have remained the same, except for Brian Fay (the Counselor), who dropped out after the fourth year. New invitees are carefully scrutinized and sworn to secrecy before being brought into the Secret Spot Bird Camp (SSBC) fold. Only two others from the original core group have been inducted and the idea of ritualistic ceremony likened to fraternity pledging is under consideration. I’m known as Sparky and received the moniker Walking Dale the second year of Bird Camp, as I tend to cover large expanses of ground. (I’ve slowed down somewhat in the last 5 years.) The main characters are the dogs, of which there are seven—a combo of setters and pointers and a black Lab.

All SSBC crewmembers are serious dawg men and wild-bird hunters (not in the sense of being wild, although all were in their youth). Each is an adequate shot (except yours truly) and only shoots pointed birds or birds obviously worked by flushing dogs. All birds are religiously cleaned and packaged or consumed in camp. We adhere to limits and game laws and support conservation efforts like Pheasants Forever, Ruffed Grouse Society, and Quail Forever. We enjoy post-hunt beers and a dram or two of whiskey once the guns are cased and stowed. We prefer red wines over whites, except when fish, quail, or chukar is served. We enjoy pranks and good, politically incorrect, gut-busting (occasionally raunchy) jokes. All SSBC attendees assume camp duties, roll up their sleeves, and willingly dive into chores like washing dishes, fetching water, cleaning, gathering firewood, and dressing birds. Cooking is the Reverend’s domain, and one would be wise to tread lightly when he’s working in the kitchen.

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