- Posted by Jared Nelson
My Quail Hunting Roots – It all has to start somewhere. The beginning for me lies in the rocky deserts of Arizona. When a child’s freedom of spirit knew no bounds. When the outdoors were the playground and social media and satellite maps did not exist. I became who I am in a rural town north of Phoenix. Interstate 17 was a two lane road with minimal traffic and back roads were a part of life. My father encouraged me to get outside and roam. Good advice.
Homework was never a priority. How could it be when your home backs the national forest and your nearest neighbor was a quarter mile away? I remember jumping on my quad and taking off into the heart of Arizona. With my 20 gauge strapped to the back and my trusty pal Barney along for the ride, I often found myself searching.
Twenty years later I still find myself searching. I recently went back to this unforgettable place and found much of it changed. Homes have popped up like rows of corn and the roads are now paved. But my forest still holds that same appeal and once past the ridgeline of the homes, it is as if nothing has changed. With my wife along for the ride we hiked my old stomping grounds. The vistas in the distance still hold the feeling of eternity and the sounds of the desert seem to call me deeper into it’s serenity.
After rounding a few bends and tromping through some massive minefields of cholla, I was back. Transported to a simpler time and place. I reached out to whoa my wife. Pulling her close, I whispered into her ear, “There. That’s where they will be.” The dog and I approached and BAM! One single bird flushed off into the distance. I shot but without intention as the ghosts of this rambling soul soared before me. As if it was spoken aloud, I heard it loud and clear. Roam. It’s a lifestyle that sometimes needs a reminder of why we do it and where it comes from