There is nothing quite like seeing a good bird dog going on point, and then not knowing whether you will have a single quail or an explosion of a whole covey of 8 to 24 birds. They’ll explode into a short rapid flight reaching up to 40 miles per hour, but they can’t handle long flights. Missed birds usually can be seen landing just out of gun range where they run through the ground cover to a new hiding spot and the pursuit continues! Watching a dog and its handler work the cover is a unique experience. Quail hunting provides our warriors with a unique opportunity to match their honed, combat skills against a 4-ounce opponent and in that process, they must focus on something so different for them that accumulated past stress drains away. By the end of the hunt, it is smiles and back slaps all around.
Pheasant hunting, like quail hunting is almost always a new experience for our warriors. They experience excellent wing shooting in switch grass, tree belts, crop land filled with corn and sorghum, wetland sloughs and draws, surrounded by thousands of acres of rolling grasslands that provide a one-of-a-kind peaceful tranquility. Then comes the rush of the flush. Dogs getting “birdy,” zigzagging in front, heads down low, ears perked forward, and charging hard. A rooster darting through the cover in front of them. And then, a rooster, aka “a long-tailed cackler” explodes at close range into flight. One of our warriors said, “there is nothing more humbling than the look a dog gives you when you miss, but then he gets right back after it, almost saying to me, ‘you’ve got this’ …changed my life right then and there.” The tailgate talks at the end of the field and the stories at the end of the day all add to “hitting the off switch” for our warriors.
There are few activities that can be more relaxing and rewarding than hunting, and there are several reasons why the sport can make you a happier person. Not only is hunting good for the environment and animal populations, but it is great for physical and mental health as well.
Most people are extremely busy, and they rarely sit still and focus on one thing for more than a few minutes. During the work week, their mind may be racing with countless things they need to accomplish. This is especially true if you have a lot of responsibilities at work and at home. But when they’re hunting, all of that can, and usually goes away. Being surrounded by nature is a very calming experience. There is also science behind why hunting is so relaxing. While the act of hunting itself can have moments of intense physical activity, after firing a shot, our body releases endorphins. These hormones are what lead to feelings of happiness and contentment. Releasing them on a regular basis can dramatically improve a person’s overall wellbeing.
Many of the best-respected behavioral scientists of our times, including Sigmund Freud, William James, Carl Jung, Erich Fromm, Marie-Louise von Franz, and Karl Menninger, have written that hunting is a natural, healthy part of human nature. Hunting is a very basic instinct programmed into the master computer of our species for survival purposes that has been elevated by ethics to become a “sport,” which enables us to express our basic biological identity. In the act of hunting, man becomes, however briefly, part of nature again. He returns to the natural state, becomes one with the animal, and is freed from the burdens of his modern-day life. In stalking the animal, he and the animal become equals, even though man eventually shows his superiority by use of his weapons. Hunting, like sport and play, is good for mind, body, and spirit.
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We show unending gratitude to our brothers in arms, the warriors we attract, the ones who have given total sacrifice to give liberty to all.
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