When my daughter was born, I promised myself I’d do what I could to get the guys out at least once a year on a bird hunt. The last couple years I had better success with bigger groups and/or multiple hunts, but this year I still could count on Colin and RP. A great time was had by all.
by rsiv with no comments yet
My buddies and I have been upland hunting for a while, but I’ve never made it out Waterfowling. With Thanksgiving coming up, I wanted to get a nice goose or some duck for the table. I’ve been bothering my friend Rob forever to take me out, but since he moved to Tennessee, CW and I took matters into our own hands.
I can’t wait to get the rest of the group out in January when the weather finally cools down and the migration heats up. Thanks to The Crabman and Richard for taking us out.by rsiv with no comments yet
by rsiv with no comments yet
If you’re tired of restaurant and baby posts, you’re in luck. We finally had a guys weekend in WV for an upland hunt. Due to certain other responsibilities, our usual fall hunt didn’t work out, so I thought a nice spring hunt would be nice. I did not expect a March blizzard.
It was a little dicey getting up there. The toll road was crazy, but my 4wd had it covered.
At the woods, the driveway had about 8 inches of accumulation.
RP made us some ghetto hot dogs (bread for a bun), and we had moon pies for dessert.
Then we settled into our sleeping bags (to avoid doing laundry), and called it.
The next morning was plenty cold, so there wasn’t much melt.
I grabbed a jazz cigarette, and a filling meal at the waffle house (on the left), and we headed to the shotgun range.
I put it in four wheel low, and we headed down a back road in the wildlife management area.
The snow came up to the bumper between the wheels, and at about the time we took this photo, we lost cell service. There were some tire tracks, but we never saw a soul.
But we made it.
We measured out 40 yards, and set up the patterning board.
We tried some different ammo, and a couple chokes. I’ll post the results of our patterning later on.
After patterning, we had a little fun throwing our own clays. The new thrower I got worked out great.
After about three hours, we warmed up, packed up, and headed out.
After shooting, the truck started right up and we got out of the snow no problem.
When we got back to the cabin, Dr. Bumpy was waiting for us. The rest of the guys arrived, and we rolled out to the Long Branch Saloon for dinner.
After dinner, I had a Kirkland Light (I would not recommend it), we started a fire, and enjoyed the 8 degree temp on the screened porch.
The next morning we did a little sledding on the first hole of Stoney Lick.
Then it was time to head to Quail Hollow Farm for some upland hunting. The weather wasn’t ideal, but Steve didn’t want us to go home empty handed.
After a warming up with some clays, we geared up for the hunt.
Steve turned the dogs loose, and we were off. It was a really beautiful day. The quail have flown better when its dry, but to their credit, there were plenty we missed.
Badger and Molly were great as always, but someone was misbehaving and got the leash…
Everyone took a bird or two, and Thom had some particularly nice shots.
After the hunt, we cracked some beers, pulled out the cigars, and put in a lip or two.
The dogs snuck a few spoils of the hunt while Thom and Steve cleaned the birds.
Steve’s son came and sold us some apples, apple sauce, hot sauce, apple butter, etc. We left prepared for a feast.
Back at the cabin, we toasted to Zeiby’s and ML’s first upland hunt, and dried out.
RP and Bumpy bacon wrapped the quail, and threw them on the grill.
The feast was delicious. Thanks again to the chefs. After some midnight toddies, I had to call it. Fortunately, I woke up to some freshly made crunk food the next morning.
Then RP made us some biscuits and gravy.
Bumpy blew an alternator, so we went into Berkeley Springs to try to replace it.
After some McD’s, we stopped at sheetz for some gas. I noticed some guys in a sedan wearing button-downs tucked into chinos. I looked them up and down while gassing up the truck, and gave them the, “you boys ain’t from around here” look. They bought it, which is hilarious, since neither am I. FJ is probably mortified, but the other Wayne boys would be proud.
I came home exhausted, but with a cooler full of birds. As always, I had a great time with the guys. It had been too long. Can’t wait for next time.by rsiv with no comments yet
C-Note came over this afternoon, and HB and EF went out to get us some Taco Bamba. The tacos were amazing as always, but best of all, the good Chicharrónes are back! Then RP headed out to prepare for our hunt next weekend.
It was pretty cold, and pretty slick out, but we needed to get back in the swing of things.
After the clays, we broke the guns down for a much needed deep cleaning. Rob and Jodi came by, and then we all went out for some El Tio.
Notice the FAR we used as a support for punching out some pins.
Can’t wait for the hunt.
by rsiv with no comments yet
This past weekend my wife decided to have her baby shower. I got out of dodge. My dad told me that my parents had a joint shower, and something about watching Georgetown beat Kentucky during the party. I decided to be less progressive. On Friday, we took the day off for a Father-Son Dove hunt up in Remington VA. A year or so back we had a lot of success hunting this section of power line that the birds use as a flyway. We shot a round of clays, and then went over by the lines to find some dove.
We saw a few doves when we arrived, which we thought was a good sign. We were a little rusty on the clay course, but we shook it off.
Its an optical illusion.
We didn’t see a ton of dove, but there were enough to bring a few down. Everyone managed to bring one down, but RP dropped his over the fence of a power plant and into a retaining moat.
After the round of clays, a successful hunt, a little father-son bonding, cleaning a few doves, and the enjoyment of a beautiful fall evening in the great state of Virginia, we headed home. The next morning, WinnDixie made us a delicious breakfast.
We got some provisions, and headed down the long road to Richmond.
The next morning we grabbed some much needed Wawa and hit the course.
I had the opportunity to play with The Commodore.
A lot going on in the pic above, below, the official beer of Fall in ‘Merica.
After golf, we had some Plaza Time.
I had an amazing weekend with the best friends you could ask for (brothers really). Its the kind of weekend that really makes one feel lucky and blessed. I can’t wait to get together again soon.by rsiv with no comments yet
My wife’s company provides a stipend for employees to enjoy a babymoon (like a honeymoon but for expectant parents). Friday morning, we put the top down and headed to West by God Virginia. It was a beautiful sunny ride down, and since the drive was about 4 hours, I almost got too much color. We chose The Greenbrier because we hadn’t been in seven years, and its America’s great resort. Its absolutely beautiful, luxurious, delicious, comforting, and full of adventure (as you’ll see below). It really is a special place.
We enjoyed the decor, got settled, and then hit the pool for a late lunch and some mountain sunshine.
For dinner, we went to Draper’s. I went with some amazing chicken and waffles and the wife had a pot pie. Everything, including the service, was excellent.
This was our first trip to The Greenbrier since they added the casino. I was a little skeptical when I heard about the addition, but it was well done and enjoyable. After my first proper julep (though The Greenbrier insists on serving their julep with a full length plastic straw – they could at least cut it to proper length), we saddled up to the craps table. We just about doubled our money and decided to celebrate with some Blanton’s and a cigar.
We’d only been at The Greenbrier for ten hours, but we’d already had a great time. We couldn’t wait for more pool time, falconry, fly fishing, food, and more fun.
Day two started with Southern Eggs Benedict with fried green tomatoes and Virginia ham.
My wife and I have talked about trying out the sport of kings for a while. Since my wife can’t shoot, ride horses, etc., due to her pregnancy, we finally had a great reason to check it out.
The scale that the hawk is perched on was one of the most interesting parts of the demonstration. Only hungry birds will hunt, so their weight has to be monitored. We also found out that a Harris’ Hawk can be trained in only about 8 weeks.
Falconry consists of the handler walking around, trying to scare up prey, while the hawk perches above and watches. Hunting with larger birds can involved separate handlers and flushers.
When the hawk makes a kill, it shields its spoils and is very possessive. Its important for the handler to quickly offer meat to the hawk in order to get possession of the kill.
We had a great time and learned a lot about falconry. My favorite was the owl. Apparently, an owl could help me with my feral cat problem at home… The falcon definitely looked the coolest. After Falconry, we relaxed at the pool until tea time. This flowah was wiltin’, so I opted for iced tea.
After tea, we changed for dinner. It was great that The Greenbrier provided a garment brush since my shoes picked up a bunch of fuzz on the trip down. This was the night of our dinner in the main dining room, so we put on our best, took some pictures, and enjoyed some libations.
I’m surprised my wife didn’t get a dress code reminder card for wearing camo:
At dinner, I opted for a julep rather than a glass of fine. Then I ordered some lamb, which unbeknownst to me, came with mint jelly. It actually paired pretty well. The live jazz was also an unexpected but welcome accompaniment.
After dinner, we lost the previous night’s winnings and then some in record time at the craps table. With the table cold and it still early, we grabbed our kindles, poured some blanton’s, and picked out a cigar. The porch below provided an excellent location to enjoy the evening. It had cooled off, and was beautiful out.
The fountain below used to be outside of a restaurant at The Greenbrier that no longer exists. My family did a 12 course tasting menu with wine pairings there once. It was the first time my future wife and mother got tipsy around each other. It reminded us of that great time we had and we were glad its still there.
Day Three started with a Dorothy Draper omelet (Virginia ham, green peppers, shiitake, American cheese). We had a leisurely morning in the hotel, and then went down to the outfitters’ for our excursion.
Another activity we’d been wanting to try, and that pregnant women can do is fly fishing. Our instructor, Demian, taught us the basics of roll casting, and then quickly got us on a picturesque stream. It was a little colder than usual, rain was coming in, and it was overcast. It wasn’t the best season for fly fishing, but the conditions weren’t bad at all. It couldn’t have been more than fifteen minutes before I landed a fish. I was able to keep good tension on the barbless hook by stripping the line, and after a short fight, I netted my first fish on the fly ever. Just a short while after that, my wife hooked up. Demian was over with me still, and after setting the hook, she yelled, “Fish on!!!” Demian laughed, and hustled over to give her a hand. A few hours later, we’d caught 14 fish between us. I credit Demian’s teaching abilities and skill at his passion. HB initially struggled with keeping the rod bent and tension on the line, but he was able to show her how to successfully bring in a fish (and she landed plenty). He was quick to switch out flys that were not hitting, and deftly handled any snags we caused while figuring out the cast. We really can’t thank Demian enough (though the last thing I need is another expensive hobby).
I have a friend that offered to teach me fly fishing if I taught him sporting clays. Now that I know the basics and have landed a fish, I might have to take him up on his offer. The weather had held out, so we changed for dinner and went out to our sitting spot. I’d finished the book I brought, The Paris Wife, and decided to start on A Moveable Feast (to get both sides of the story).
I thought the picture above was an interesting juxtaposition of old and new. Not unlike The Greenbrier itself.
We’d had such a pleasant dinner at Draper’s we almost went back. Instead, we decided to give Cafe Carleton a try. My wife did the prix fixe option, and I order a charcuterie plate. Both were very good, as was the wine flight: No one expects the Spanish Libation. The food was spectacular, and our waitress, Jennifer W was a lot of fun and made great recommendations. After a decadent meal we played the rest of our comp’d slots and then played a few hands of roulette. Nothing hit, but I optimistically reflected that I’d rather be lucky on the trout stream than in the casino.
We ending the night by participating in an old Greenbrier tradition. I won’t explain it, as the text in the picture below should do so better than I could.
We decided not to mess with success, and went back to Draper’s for our last breakfast at The Greenbrier. I had the Springtime omelet: jumbo lump crab, asparagus, and brie. Our waitress on our last day was not rude, but was not particularly chipper either. Everyone has off days. However, our first waiter, Adrienne came over to greet us. He has noticed that we’d been there three days in a row. He was very friendly, and at least on that day, was a beacon of cheerfulness in a sea of frowns. Adrienne truly improved the quality of our stay.
Later that morning, my wife went to the spa for a prenatal massage and I took my kindle and coffee down to the pool. An elderly lady (lets say at least 75) was swimming lap after lap, and inspired me to swim a few. I got a little winded, but lets blame that on all the booze the night before.
After a short walk, we packed up and checked out. At reception I heard a gentleman say that he had been since the 4th of July and was staying until Labor Day. I was more than a little jealous. HB and I took one last look, and headed off to our next adventure. I don’t know how soon, but I know the three of us will be back.by rsiv with no comments yet