I was older than my sister and Dad always gave me the nod before things got out of hand. It may not have been fair, but when a dinner of quail on Sunday after church was on the line, I was his go-to shooter.
“I live in what I consider to be the best quail hunting in the world here in the Flint Hills of Kansas,” Mc Bride told me. “My family would reminisce about the time when my mother and her sister, Mabel, starting hunting. They were so small that my aunt had to hold the front of the single-shot shotgun while my mom lined up a quail and pulled the trigger.”
“We always had a bird dog,” McBride recalled. “I probably hunted more in the late 1950s and ‘60s than I have any other time in my life. To this day, even though I am in my 80s; I still enjoy hunting, preferring to use an old double barrel because it fits me so well.”
There were a lot of girls in my family. Everybody we knew had girls so when it became time to go hunting, Dad just gathered us up and we headed out to the field. When I first started we didn’t go by limits and many days we’d come home with a hundred or more quail. The end of the day was when we found out that cleaning the quail was a job my father delegated to my sisters and me. We didn’t skin them; we plucked the feathers and kept as much skin on them as possible so they would be tastier at the table.
As I got older and headed off to high school, even with all the distractions, I never lost my love to be out hunting quail. I remember once when we were trying to get close to a covey of about 15 birds; they kept running ahead of the dog and it drove him crazy. While this was going on, I spied a red tail hawk off in the distance. When I heard him scream, the quail just stopped in their tracks. I found out later that if you took a piece of quack grass and put it between your thumbs, you could imitate that sound. From then on I knew I had a solution to our running quail problem.
It seems like things go in cycles, and I married a man much like my father. That is, all of our children were girls. He was a fisherman and not a hunter, so I took it upon myself to teach my girls how to hunt quail, clean them and prepare them. It seems all six of them, to this day, love to hunt. Last fall we decided to have a cooking competition. We had nearly 30 McBride women that entered.
Last weekend, my grandchildren came out for the season opener. You guessed it; they’re all girls. My husband still shakes his head when we head out to the field. I’ve got a rifle scabbard on my Polaris Ranger, so I’m still able to get out and hunt.
What started as a way to help feed my family back in the 1940s has turned into a McBride family tradition. Every year I look forward to getting out with the family and now we span four generations of women that love the outdoors and quail hunting. Although Aunt Mabel and Mom are no longer with us, I know they would love to see that what they started has resulted in this “Bevy on the Rise”.