On Saturday, September 3rd, opening day of dove season in Mississippi, Wildrose Kennels and Prairie Wildife hosted a party of twenty-five at our first annual dove hunt.
Participants (accompanied by their retrievers) included Trainer Ben Summerall (Vino), Matt and David Williams (Diva, Gibbs), Andy Kelley (Buddy), Travis and Jeff Buckner (Rebel), Associate Trainer Tom Smith (Dixie), Trainer Steven Lucius (with WR Ruff), Charles Lucius, Charlie Lucius, Jim Brown, Ben Brown, Jon Stewart, Associate Trainer Sarah Barnes (Gunner), Dale Barnes (Chet), Rob Reffert, Leonard Reffert, Franz Schneider & Sondra Summers (Heather, Gator, Gumbo), Brad Kennedy, Trainer Patrick Allen (with Jimmy Langley’s Cache), Larry Williams, Brad Kennedy, Trainer Apprentice Ben McClelland (Eider), Mike Stewart (Deke, Indian).
A buffet breakfast was served at 4:30 a.m. in Bryan Lodge, the safety talk began at 5:00 and we headed with guide Paul Lavender to a large, well-prepared field due north of the lodge. As daylight arrived so did the birds. For the first part of an hour, the action was brisk, especially at a few hot spots on the northern end of the field. With the picking of WR Ruff Trainer Steven Lucius, his father, Charles, and brother, Charlie (a former WR Trainer), limited out early and departed for game day festivities in Oxford. Others found different results over the morning, with many discovering that the small, swiftly darting doves challenged their marksmanship.
The canine companions did not disappoint. The labs made many routine retrieves and quite a few tricky ones, as a large pond sat in the middle of the field with tall weeds encircling the edge. Many drops also carried beyond the mown lanes into thick cover surrounding the field or into woods that abutted two sides. Besides their excellent field work, the dogs drew the usual “oohs” and “ahhs” of admiring guests at Bryan Lodge.
Returning to the lodge after the morning hunt, the group enjoyed fellowshipping over a large buffet brunch, served outdoors and featuring delicious comfort foods, including rolls pasta salad, chicken and mushroom casserole, sausages, whole kernel corn casserole, and cobbler.
A thumbnail gallery of pictures appears at the bottom of this blog. It presents a fraction of the scenes of the morning. You can click on an image and enlarge it to full-screen size. By clicking on the image numbers at the bottom right or left, you can scroll through all of the images in the enlarged size. You can also print an enlarged image directly from the blog.
About Prairie Wildlife and Its Location: Where in the world is Prairie Wildlife? Among Mississippi’s prominent travel sites are the Birthplace and Home of Elvis Presley in Tupelo, the Mississippi Delta (and the Southern region of the Mississippi Flyway), the Natchez Trace, and the Gulf Coast. Also noteworthy, even though lesser known, is the Black Prairie, located in the center of the state’s eastern border with Alabama. Geologically unique, the Black Prairie is formed by outcroppings of Selma Chalk, the same age and type of calcium carbonate deposits as the famed White Cliffs of Dover on England’s southeastern coast. The Black Prairie’s alkaline soil is a healthy grassland environment, where two outdoors venues thrive near West Point: Prairie Wildlife and another Bryan family enterprise, Old Waverly Golf Club, which was selected by Golf Digest as Mississippi’s top golf course and one of American’s top 100 courses. In 1999 Old Waverly hosted the U.S. Women’s Open.
Midway between Columbus and Starkville, Clay County’s seat, West Point, is a medium-sized city smaller by half than Meridian, an hour and a half due south, and Tupelo forty-five minutes north. In the 1540s Spanish conquistador, Hernando de Soto, traversed the region, bringing Arabian horses and Extremaduran swine, the antecedents of razorback hogs. Civil War history makes note of the local Battle of Ellis Bridge. A century later “Howlin’ Wolf” Chester Burnett, the 1950s Chicago Blues artist, was born and reared in West Point. Among the region’s economic engines has been Bryan Foods, Mossy Oak Camouflage Company, and Navistar Defense Contractor.
Prairie Wildlife: Bryan Lodge, the main facility, which has a wrap around porch, sits next to a bass and brim lake. Inside it features a massive stone fireplace that reaches from floor to the top of the three-story-high cathedral ceiling. With an interior of natural woods and appointed with comfortable furnishings, the lodge great room is spacious and spectacular. Outside is a circle patio with a firepit and an outdoor eating area. Past the lake is a traditional covered bridge, spanning a wide stream, and leading to the hunting lands. Besides PW’s kennels for its beagles and bird dogs, it has a large roofed kennel with spaces for 35 client dogs.
Besides dove hunting Prairie Wildlife also offers clay shooting, and quail and deer hunting. PW is an excellent sporting venue for Wildrose family members and their dogs to enjoy a high-quality outdoors adventure. It’s all the more rewarding because it is part of a worthy cause of conserving the threatened black prairie ecosystem.
For a link to Prairie Wildlife’s website, scroll to the bottom of the blog page and click on the PW image.