A few years back I was very fortunate to meet Mr. Lawrence Smith from Elkhart, Kansas. Mr. Smith has resided on the edge of the Cimarron National Grasslands for many years. He has taught many famous bird hunting authors (Tom Huggler, Joel Vance and John Taylor…to name a few) about the Lesser Prairie Chicken and the Scaled Quail that live on the Kansas prairie.
Marc and I were on our maiden voyage to the Cimarron National Grasslands in the southwest corner of Kansas a few years back. We had read numerous books on the Cimarron, and were familiar with Mr. Smith. We’d talked to the grasslands’ head quarters in Elkhart to get information on the where abouts of the guzzlers that Mr. Smith helped implement for the wildlife. They gave us the general where about’s, and we headed out opening morning in search of scaled quail. The Cimarron is 100,000 prime acres of sand sage, riparian area and native grasses…it ‘s heaven on earth! We found our first guzzler and Mr. Smith (unbeknown to us) was already hunting it. Marc and I decided to sit back and watch while he hunted the area…it was our hope we might learn a thing or two about scaled quail. Mr. Smith waved us over and introduced himself to us…we were both slack-jawed when he told us who he was! He invited us to hunt the rest of the day with him. He was 75 years old that year, and he walked Marc and I into the Kansas prairie dirt!
I was fortunate enough to hunt with author John Taylor and Mr. Smith a few years back. We met John in Elkhart at the El Rancho Motel. We hunted scaled quail and chickens for a few wonderful days! My good friend and son were able to join. It was a joy to watch my son, Dylan, walk in on his very first “Point” and covey rise…the young man even shot a few birds out from under my sight!
This Fall I’m looking forward to returning to the Cimarron National Grasslands to hunt with Dr. Walter Bruning (who is a retired Physical Chemist from the University of Nebraska—where the “N” on the football helmet stands for “Nowledge”!!! Just teasing all you Nebraska fans!). Walter and I have developed a freindship through our mutual love of guns, dogs and the upland equation. He and I will meet in Elkhart to chase birds with dogs on the wide open Kansas Prairie. Life will begin again on the wind swept national grasslands!