It’s a no-brainer to pick on the Vice for this one and we can only wait for Maureen Dowd to climb on her band-wagon to ‘quail’ at his hunting etiquette. Manners in the field have much to do with the proper clothes in England, but our far more democratic rules merely frown on shooting your hunting buddies.
I’ve heard the old joke about living to 78 and being shot by a jealous husband, but never an errant Vice-President.
Having done some quail-hunting myself, I have to join the crowd who can’t find justification in the story-line. You can imagine how that pains me. But quail are spooky buggers and the rules for hunting them are particularly strict, for obvious reasons.
Rule #1: One person and only one is designated to ‘walk up’ a covey of quail that is pointed by the dog. A ‘second gun’ may be allowed to back up the shooter, but always side by side to the shooter and always taking second shots.
Rule #2: If a bird is down, usually it is retrieved by dogs. If not, if one of the hunters or a ‘bird-boy’ is doing the job, all shooting is in abeyance, no exceptions, no matter if additional birds flush.
Rule #3: The whole sport is about gentlemanly conduct and skilled wingshooting. Killing the damned bird is way down the list of priorities.
Rule #4 (unwritten): Nothing dampens the spirits of the afternoon-sherry gathering like having one of the celebrants off at the hospital, getting pellets picked out of his face.
All right, Maureen–over to you.