Tuesday, August 26, 2008
GREAT DOGS and GOOD MEN PART TWO
BOB PATZER I doubt if any of you have ever heard of Robert “Bob” Patzer but he’s the one responsible for introducing me to hunting. Bob and his wife Michelle were neighbors in an apartment complex I lived in while a junior at Michigan State. One day in early September, I came home from class and as I pulled into the parking lot Bob and his friend Craig were unloading a beautiful bird dog. They had been out running the dog on coveys of young pheasant. I thought the dog was a white and black pointer but as they later explained to me he was actually a dropper, ½ setter and ½ pointer and the product of an accidental breeding. I didn’t know Bob that well, honestly just to say hi in the hallway but I struck up a conversation about the dog. Eventually, that dropper named Buddy became the first dog I ever shot a bird for over a solid point. Bob Patzer was raised in Stevensville in the southwest portion of Michigan and the heart of Michigan’s pheasant country. He had grown up hunting and explained to me that there were thousands of pheasants in the farm country just outside of East Lansing and that he started hunting on September the 15th, opening day of small game season in Michigan. Pheasant season didn’t open until October 20th but he filled his days before October hunting squirrel and rabbit. He asked if I’d like to join him some time and I said of course. For a college student in 1967 $25 was allot of money. Somehow I managed to come up with it and went to Meijers, a Michigan discount department store. I bought a single shot with hammer, H&R 16 gauge shotgun on sale, a box of shells and a canvas vest for just a few cents over $25. I was ready. For the next 60 days Bob and I hunted small game and then pheasants and quail. I must have cut a lot of classes as it seems that we were always out at dawn and out again in the afternoon until dark. I was hooked! After Bob and I graduated we went our separate ways but reconnected 5 years later in the Detroit area and hunted as often as our schedules allowed. We dropped the squirrels and rabbits and moved on to grouse and woodcock until October 20th, pheasants and quail October 20 thru November 15th and ducks in the late December season. All without a dog. I haven’t seen Bob in 30 years. Somehow we drifted apart after I moved to Saginaw but one day I saw a newspaper article quoting a Robert Patzer about Michigan road construction and it said he was the President of the Michigan Road Builders Association. I got the number for the office in Lansing and left a voice mail for him but he never called me back. Maybe it wasn’t the same guy.