Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Game Sense, Serious Hunters, And Other Phenomena

I love to see dedicated hunters. We're all dedicated to a degree, of course- it takes time, trouble, and money to go out at all, not to expand on our psychiatric conditions.

I mean the ones who show up, pay attention, and recognise that hounds and game are why they are there. Even (especially?) when the weather is awful, scent is poor, or against other difficulties. I saw someone not long ago who was out in defiance of a physical difficulty so severe that I was unable to believe it, and I don't think anyone I've told about it believes me either.

And I love to see people with game sense. That sympathy with hounds and quarry that tells them how the day will go. Even if, like the section chief in Shalamov's "Magic", they don't understand their special power.

They aren't the same things. Not so many people have either, and many who have one lack the other. In my most dedicated days I didn't have any more or less of a clue than I do now, not a lick of game sense. And I was once married to one of the game sensiest people I ever met, who was totally indifferent. To hunting, too, I mean.

But when someone has both, watch out!

They come in all ages and conditions.

Some are professionals, earning a living with horn or whip.

Some work on the fringes- grooms, second horses, or dealers.

Some are hunting bums- working just enough overtime, doing just enough surgeries, or waiting just enough tables to get into the field.

I saw some of these people on my recent trip and took a few of their pictures. Absence doesn't mean you don't belong here!

Of course, Sometimes its not the very best day.

But isn't this sort of thing better done at work?

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