Clinic Stories

Quail Plantation

While working in the pharmaceutical industry, I was invited to participate in customer entertainment on many occasions. A favorite for both customers and staff were trips to hunting lodges. Many are quail plantations set on several hundred acre tracts in the South with a rustic inn providing lodging and family style meals. Mostly there is no television and time is typically spent playing cards, drinking beer, smoking cigars and telling lies. Like the club house from the Little Rascals, there are no girls allowed, except for Darla.

The hunting is done in the morning. The quail are pen raised and have never been outdoors until the morning they are released. Guests are taken to the fields in wagons pulled by a tractor or mules. Bird dogs flush the quail near where they were released just an hour before. The hunters take turns in pairs blasting away at birds that can only fly a few feet off the ground.

Some of the attendees, including me, do not hunt but the grounds are beautiful and it is a pleasure to watch the dogs work the fields. Most people shoot a few quail then quit. The lodge dresses the birds and sends them home packed in ice. Still others take great delight in shooting as many quail as possible even though it is the equivalent of dunking a basketball through a six foot high basket. The most extreme case I saw was the head veterinarian for Perdue Farms who killed over 100 quail and talked endlessly about his hunting prowess. Each telling made him appear smaller. I was not surprised when I later read that in a new job, he was involved in bringing pathogenic viruses into the U.S. from Saudi Arabia in violation of federal law. He pleaded guilty and served time in jail where hopefully his cellmate was impressed with his skill.

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