Actually, Richard--a stocky, slow-talking fellow about my age who looks younger, probably because he isn't worried all the time--hardly detracted from the trip at all. His 100-pound German shorthair mix, Dusty, was a dream dog. "Who trained that critter?" I asked Richard one day, as Dusty released a rooster into his hand. "Me," he said. Turns out that Dusty gets almost daily practice in season on the quail that Richard raises and hunts on the farm. Depending on what he and his wife, Connie, feel like eating, he also goes after deer, ducks, geese, and rabbits. He has a bass boat and four coonhounds. I was losing sympathy for poor Richard by the minute. Jack volunteered that his friend was the only guy he'd ever known who'd worn out a shotgun. "And he did it on birds alone. No targets."