This morning, the wake-up call was unnecessary. The in-room coffee bar would remain as dormant as the crows and songbirds outside our room. My eagerness a dramatic understatement. A full day of the sporting variety lay ahead, and with it, the excitement of my introductory outing at Primland’s hunting preserve.
The nearly 12,000-acre property was initially operated by logging companies and the lumbermen of the Depression-era until it’s current ownership, a Europe-based family business, acquired the property to create a sporting Mecca in the landscape of the Virginian foothills. No expense was spared and it’s immediately evident as soon as you enter the property through either of the gated entrances.
Much had been praised and suggested about the amenities and activities at Primland, none so much as the first-class operation “at the bottom of the hill.” Rows of planted grasses and sorghum. Mature hardwoods and briar thicket peppered onto the property. Abundant opportunities to flush quail and pheasant. All awaited me, bolstered by the decades-long release and preservation programs initiated by the resort’s namesake.
Having arrived at the preserve’s main lodge with vigor I was introduced to my guide for the day as well as a pair of four-year old English pointers, named Jack and Topper. After an exchange of pleasantries, we departed to begin our morning combing the extensive fields and hills of the property.
To this sportsman, the delight of a covey rising is as synonymous as accompanying a well-trained bird dog in the performance of its duty. To the dog, its duty is as inherent as any life-supporting instinct, performed to no doubt as equally and as gracefully as it’s prior generations. I would have the pleasure this day of bearing witness to one of the sporting life’s great endeavors.
Soon after entering the initial field our four-legged companions stood steadfast, holding their customary statuesque pose, tight to the sent of a feathered foe, tails pointed in the direction of the impending flight. As I approached the area indicated by Jack and Topper, the unmistakeable cackle of a pheasant and the rise from it’s cover sprung me into action: Locate, check, point and squeeze. Success.
We spent the rest of the morning, and into the early afternoon, happily repeating the systematic effort and dance of human and dog and bird until we had reached our limit for the day.
Upon returning to Primland’s lodging situated on the property’s highest point, taking a brief moment to rest and recuperate, I would soon find myself relaxing by a dancing fire, enjoying the fruits of our labor as well as those of a nearby vineyard. Recounting the day’s events to those that would lend an ear, it reminded me of one salient fact: The sporting life is more than just the rousing flush of a covey. It’s a field day. And I just had one.