A Hop and a Pump
Field & Stream|Volume 125 - Issue 4, 2020
Jump-shooting rabbits with classic upland guns is about as good a time as you can have in the outdoors
Phil Bourjaily

WE DIDN’T SHOOT at the first few that skittered out in front of Al’s points. This was supposed to be a serious late-season quail hunt after all. But a couple of hours into the morning, it became apparent that both quail and quail sign were noticeably absent. And that rabbits were everywhere.

Shaun shot the first one. Alex was his dog, and you don’t shoot game on the ground without the owner’s permission. I’d been holding off, hoping he’d break the ice. Alex yipped with glee when the rabbit tumbled.

A solid-liver German shorthair, Alex was a true Continental pointing dog, bred and trained to hunt birds, waterfowl, fur, and small game, and to follow blood trails. He loved it all, but he only made that special, happy yip when a rabbit rolled in front of him. Although not especially bright, despite his extensive education, Al was smart enough to know what too many of us forget: Rabbit hunting is the most fun.

RABBIT, THREE WAYS

Our quail hunt became a cottontail hunt from that point on, and we couldn’t have picked a better place or day for it. Cropfields divided by overgrown fencelines and interspersed with brushy draws and small woodlots rolled on for thousands of acres around the reservoir. A few evergreen windbreaks still stood where there’d once been farmsteads, before the lake was built.

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