September 28, 1982
Dear Mom and Dad,
We are continuing to prepare ourselves physically and mentally for the supreme Challenge starting November 1. Reports continue to come in of massive quail population, trampling crops, dropping trees, carrying off of competing livestock, rabbits, and unsuspecting small dogs. Covey sizes now average in the hundreds with individual birds weighing in at 12 ½ and 13 pounds.
Three cases of 25-pound jumbo quail were reported, but unconfirmed due to the mental shock experienced by the reporting individuals. Many birds are being mistaken for short nicked gray wild turkeys. The third hatch of these Missouri monsters are already the size of mallards. To avoid statewide panic, media reports were altered. Early spring wind storms which caused so much erosion and damage, were actually the result of clusting quail. Cooler summer temperatures (blamed on volcanic ash of all things) were actually caused by high-flying quail, mistaken for clouds.
Oddly enough, these large birds have been clocked at unbelievable velocities. The resultant havoc is devastating. Projected nationwide phone rate increases, blamed on the AT & T breakup, is actually due to millions lost from these birds breaking telephone poles and lines in half.
Hunters were called in to control these birds, but to no avail. Those without dogs, soon ended up lame. It is almost impossible to walk in the fields without stepping on a rabbit and breaking an ankle. The rabbits are thicker than the quail. Those with dogs were successful in clearing paths through the cottontails, but their dogs all ran in terror from these massive Missouri quail. If you can imagine these birds chirping, in a baritone voice at the decibel level of a Bengal tiger, you can imagine why.
In spite of the fact that the phones, television and radio are out, the Governor was prompted to have a message hand delivered to our front door. The urgent hand scribbled not partial read….We beg of you, in our Stat of Emergency, to save us from sure disaster. The National Guard is bogged down and only making slight progress clearing the highway of rabbits. Only you, with your noble and versatile Vizslas can save us from the tragedy. The mighty Vizsla is the only breed as you know, with the courage to stalk the mutant jumbo Missouri quail and bring the hunter to his quarry. I urge you to prepare your dogs and yourself, in the next month, to seek out this prey and deliver them to market. If successful we will feast throughout the winter on the succulent breast of quail, country smoked ham, sausage, venison and wild turkey. We will taste the freshness of hot apple, peach and pecan pies, while sampling the irresistible bouquet of our native wine…He then ended his plea with that never failing line “if for nothing else, do it for your dogs.”
In my response, I informed the Governor that out of loyalty to the Show Me state we would come to his aid, even though the sacrifices would be great. I would have to frequently take off from my job, stop in the middle of wood cutting, mowing the yard and raking leaves. I wouldn’t have time this winter to shovel snow or start on the honey-do list. I would also suffer overheated gun barrels, strained eyes, thorn scarred dogs and a sore back from carrying out each hours take. But, in spite of all this, I must do it, for the dogs.
So I have been quite busy getting ready for the enlarged season. I got the clay birds out and sharpened my shooting skills, while at the same emptying my shell casings from the 20 boxes of too small #5 and #71/2 shot previously loaded for pheasant and normal sized quail. My bruised and dislocated shoulder should be alright by November. I’ve coated my boots with mink oil, patched my brush pants (again) dusted off my hat and rented a large meat locker for use after our two freezers are full. I’ve been staying up late loading magnum #2’s sharpening knives, and refitting the backpack to carry quail instead of elk quarters. I’ve also loaded some 150gr. 30-06 casings in case we come across any of those larger mutants in the act of carrying off livestock.
The dogs are being run daily to prepare for the task ahead. Buff, still the meat dog, is getting in shape by retrieving 25lb. Bags of lead shot off the lake bottom. Stylish Vonz is getting ready by leg wrestling the neighbors mule. For some reason though, the mule runs off whenever Vonz lifts his rear leg. Carmen and Roz, the youngsters, still range too far for a foot hunter, but they should range about right for the 30-06. I am running them now on ostrich for practice. We should be ready November 1st but could sure use another gunner.
We head you may not make it out this season so I thought you might like a status report. If you get tired of chasing those small Oregon grouse or freezing in a duck blind, and feel like joining a Missouri safari, just come on out. If for nothing else, do it for the dogs.
Bob Graham was very dual event activated during the eighties and was also oh, so easy on the eyes. He is famous for his sense of humor and great sporting conduct. Wonder what happened to him.
This letter was printed in VIZSLA FIELD, Editor Bill Fisher, November 1982.
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