Weatherford Democrat

Viewpoints

October 1, 2012

COLUMN: A sport befitting royalty

— Traditionally, horseracing has been called the “Sport of Kings.” When this title was adopted, no one bothered to contact me to get my opinion. I guess I was a bit too far down the line of succession to the crown to require my approval. To me the sport most befitting royalty would be upland bird hunting, particularly pursuit of bob white quail. Quail hunting behind a brace of well-disciplined and trained bird dogs on a warm fall day is time best relegated to paradise.

Having served several tours of shore duty in the Navy stationed in South Texas, I suppose I was a bit spoiled in this mecca for bird hunters. Throughout the Southern United States, quail hunting has since earliest time been an aristocratic sport. Hunting clubs throughout the country have been organized to accommodate this luxury sport. The stereotypical gentry of South Texas all had a kennel for their bird dogs, a bird lease or their own ranch, and a Winchester Model 21 side-by-side double in 28 gauge that was worth more than my home. To even consider something as large as a 12 gauge automatic would be considered tacky and unsportsmanlike.

Growing up on the Pore Farm, the distinctive call of the bobwhite quail during the day was as common as the call of the whippoorwill every evening. They were integral features in our daily lives. Today, on warm evenings as the sun slowly sets in the west, the song of the whippoorwill is still occasionally heard and a few fireflies are still around, but the call of the bobwhite is almost never heard — any time of day.

Just over a week ago, there was an in-depth article in the Star-Telegram addressing the demise of the bobwhite quail in Texas. State biologists from Texas Parks and Wildlife and game management specialists with the AgriLife Extension Service are puzzled by the persistent decline in quail numbers over the past decade or two. Most of these experts seem to agree that quail numbers have suffered primarily because of recent drought, along with destruction of habitat because of land use changes and commercial development. Although I have none of their credentials in wildlife management, I disagree with their assessment.

As recent as the early ‘90s, there were several large coveys of quail on my farm and surrounding land. This year I have not heard even one call of a bobwhite. While there has been significant land use change in much of Parker County, I can identify tracts of several hundred acres where nothing has changed of any significance. There are abundant ragweed, partridge peas, plum thickets, tall bunch grasses and other seeds for quail consumption. There are water supplies within easy access. Yet, the quail have vanished.

Whether drought, habitat destruction, disease, fire ants, feral hogs or something unforeseen is the culprit, the quail are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Perhaps the experts can discover a silver bullet to bring about recovery of Texas’ majestic game bird, but I don’t expect it in my lifetime. In the meantime, I have my memories of their soothing call and the excitement of the unexpected flush of a covey. Sadly, my grandchildren will probably never experience the regal bobwhite.

Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy Commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to nowhearthis@pwhome.com.

1
Text Only
Viewpoints
  • John Paul Carter-color.jpg NOTES FROM THE JOURNEY: What’s your current address?

    Shortly after we moved to Weatherford 19 years ago, the old post office (today’s Court Building) that was literally bursting at the seams was replaced by a new, larger facility – our present mail center that sometimes seems outgrown as we stand in line to buy stamps or mail a package.  

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Good company, better service

    We would like to thank Devin’s Handyman Service, Gary Boase, David Schramm and James Reed for the wonderful job they did repainting our front fence, front porch, back porch, patio and deck. Everything looks new and makes such a difference in our home.

    July 23, 2014

  • PASTOR POPHIN: The joy of unity in church

    Do you enjoy going to church? I mean, do you really enjoy going to church? No matter how you answer, there are some common reasons — or perhaps we would call them conditions — that would cause all of us to truly enjoy going to church. 

    July 20, 2014

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Don't judge a book...

    Dear Editor: Thursday night, July 17, I was present for a surprisingly interesting experience when state representative candidate Matthew Britt addressed a small group of supporters, followed by a question and answer session.

    July 20, 2014

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: The blessing of memories

    Many years ago, shortly after I retired from the navy, I was sitting around shooting the breeze with my brother David, when he remarked that he regretted never serving in the military and experiencing the things I had seen. Like most of our farmer ancestors, he spent his entire life within five miles of where he grew up. Not unlike our parents, he could also count on the fingers of one hand the number of times he had even been out of the state of Texas and probably have digits to spare.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0912 one bday wm j kelly 2013 mug.jpg KELLY: What do you think?

    Immigration: Wow! Where are all these illegal boys and girls coming from, and why? The “why” is a big question! I’m sure 5-year-olds are not coming for a better life and income. 

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • tiscione, lou.jpg TISCIONE: Signs and seals

    God gave the church signs and seals. These are called sacraments or holy ordinances. They are both holy and commanded. There are two sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ. They are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. These sacraments are often referred to as “secondary doctrine.” They are secondary not because they are unimportant. They are secondary because they are not necessary for salvation. 

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Response to 'Blame game'

    Dear Editor: It’s not drug cartels telling Central Americans their children won’t be turned away at the border, it is the actions of this administration with its refusal to secure the border and its unilateral rewriting of immigration law. As has been shown, this president and his administration have for some time lied about the security of the border and immigration enforcement.

    July 17, 2014

  • LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Sick and tired

    Do you remember hearing Hillary Clinton screaming, “I am sick and tired of people who say if you debate or disagree with this administration somehow you are not patriotic. We should stand up and say, we are Americans and we have a right to disagree with any administration.” Nancy Pelosi said that the swamp needed to be drained and I agree, but I see she and Senator Reid are still splashing around in the slime.

    July 15, 2014

  • larry jones cropped:color NOW HEAR THIS: Paradise Lost

    During this past Fourth of July weekend, I did what I frequently do. I sat in my workshop enjoying a cool breeze, doing absolutely nothing except for trying to stay awake. As I looked to the south toward my shiny aluminum flagpole with Old Glory fluttering in that breeze, I did not feel the great patriotic sense of pride I normally have on this anniversary of the birth of our nation. Instead, I came very close to going out to the pole and lowering our national standard to half-mast to mourn the passing of our once great nation.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands