Every Fall Brother Shawn and I get together for a week to hunt upland birds in Idaho.  We live for this time together with our bird dogs. Last year was a spectacular one and we found birds every day and the dogs did wonderful.

I take all of my hunting and fishing photos with an iPhone.  I’m no professional by any means, but I’ve found the quality of the photos to be excellent.  Last year during the hunt I took over 180 photos.  Also, while we are hunting, my son, Thomas, and I like to make goofy videos on the Crazy Helium Booth app and we had made many funny ones that trip.

On Monday, October 5, 2015, Shawn and I hunted a favorite spot in Southern Idaho for valley quail and we got into them pretty thick.  When we made it back to the truck after all of the action, I searched all my pockets and the truck and my phone was nowhere to be found.  We searched that afternoon and into the night with no success.

That night, while at our mom’s house, Shawn and I planned to go back in the morning, to look again and to hunt valley quail. I prayed that we would find that phone.

Try as we may, we could not find the phone.  The quail hunting that day was good, but I could not fully enjoy myself because of the lost phone.  Now, I’m not a materialistic person and I did not care so much about the phone itself as I did about the lost pictures and videos. I had posted many of them to Instagram and Facebook so I still had a few of them, but I was totally heartbroken about the rest.  The loss of all of those memories was a tough way to end the hunt.

This year, Shawn and I got together again for our week in the Idaho uplands and the hunting was great.  We hunted a lot of the same spots we did last year.

On Tuesday, October 4th, Shawn, our friend, Ron, and I went to hunt quail in the same creek bottom that we hunted last year.  With little hope, I jokingly said, “You guys keep an eye open for my iPhone that I lost here last year.”

We hunted the same loop up onto the bench and really got into the quail. Ron completed his quest for the Quail Slam, which is to take all of the North American quail species.  We all had a good time and got a few birds (although my shooting left a little to be desired . . . okay a lot!).


Quail Country. 

As we worked our way up the creek back to the truck, Misty had a few stellar points on quail and one giant rooster pheasant.  Shawn and Ron found a narrow point and Shawn said, “Let’s cross the creek here.”


Misty showing off. 

Hoping to find a few more quail, I replied, “I think there’s a few more birds on this side.  Misty and I will cross up here a ways.”  

We made our way up to a Russian Olive tree surrounded by a heavily-traveled sage brush flat.  In the flat, I looked down and spied a phone lying on the ground in the middle of a cattle trail face down.  I immediately reached down, picked it up, and flipped it over.  It appeared to be in good condition and upon closer inspection, I realized this was the phone I had lost almost exactly one year before.


Faded and a bit dirty, but still in good shape. 

“I FOUND MY PHONE!!!” I hollered at the top of my lungs.  My tone sounded like Lloyd Christmas on the movie, Dumb & Dumber, when he yells, “HEY EVERYONE, WE’VE LANDED ON THE MOON!”  To me it seemed nothing short of a miracle. Back at the truck, we celebrated the successful hunt and the finding of the phone with root beers.


No better way to celebrate than with a Boylan’s Creamy Red Birch Beer!


As we traveled home, after banging dirt and mud out of the bottom, I plugged the iPhone in not expecting it to work.  The phone showed no signs of life.  Still, I hoped that we would be able to somehow retrieve the data.  When the empty battery didn’t pop up, I unplugged it.  Still hoping for another miracle, I plugged it in a few minutes later and let it sit.  What could it hurt?

After driving about thirty miles, I picked the phone up and touched the home button and a clear picture popped right up on the unbroken screen.  My eyes about popped out of my head.

“Brother, it is working!”  I exclaimed excitedly as we witnessed the second miracle of the day.

Think about it.  This phone had been outside in the rain, snow, sun, dirt, mud, in an area heavily trafficked by cows for a year.  It would be interesting to see a time lapse video of the phone to see all that it encountered during that time.  What are the odds that it would be in good shape, let alone still work?  Yet all of my photos and videos were right there just like they had been a year ago.  For me, it was nothing short of a miracle.

Here’s a few pictures of last year’s hunt and a goofy video (don’t judge me!) from the lost phone.


Shawn with a beautiful gray phased Ruff we doubled on in the Outhouse.  Misty dropped it in the creek and that is why it looks soggy. 
Danny Boy found a nice Sawtooth Ruff for Shawn and worked it perfectly.  This was probably the coolest bird of the trip. 
Little Brother Jake makes a long shot on a Hun with the Auto 5.  
Hunderful.  Great hunting at a covert we call “Tommy’s Covey.”  












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