I first met Scout in the summer of 2011. Initially, Scout had belonged to a buddy of mine and I instantly became a fan when we met. It didn’t appear like much on the outside but that was easy to overlook once we fully took advantage of Scouts’ innate abilities. When fall rolled around, it quickly became the workhorse in our group, there was nothing that could get in the way of Scout getting the job done. That following summer my buddy who owned Scout decided that he was going to take a break from the 9-5 and move out to Jackson Hole, WY. Given the new living conditions, Scout would not be able to make the trip with him. With my buddy needing some extra cash and Scout needing a home, I did what any responsible person and friend would do, I took Scout under my roof.
Scout is a 1999 Toyota Corolla with (currently) 200,000+ miles on it and counting. For some reason the powers that be decided beige was going to be the only color painted on those fine automobiles in that manufacturing year (just look around). And like every beige ’99 Corolla, it is also missing (at least) one hubcap. It is starting to rust around the wheel wells but is no worse for the wear. Additional modern conveniences like A/C, power locks, power windows and a working radio make for a comfortable ride. Unfortunately I am unable to take advantage of the cassette tape player. It is a stubborn old soul as it constantly has its’ check engine light on, even though I’ve checked everything out and made the necessary fixes. The light is determined to shine bright, but continues to run strong.
The name is derived from its primary use, scouting. Scouting became synonymous with the car and the name for it came naturally. We figured that we could cover twice as much ground in search of hunting spots than we could with our trucks. The decision to continue to use the Corolla as our primary reconnaissance vehicle is reaffirmed every time we stop for gas. Because the number of miles that we could cover grew, our hunting success rates increased as well. We still hunt some of the spots that Scout led us to in the past. We own a large number of birds to the abilities of the old Corolla. We don’t give Scout any special treatment as it makes its way through some of the same routes as our trucks. You’d be surprised what a little sedan can make it through with the proper motivation. After each adventure, there is always a little more “character” added to the exterior.
In an era where “country” music embellishes the need to have a large pick up truck with rims and a lift kit, I have never seen more on the road. They are usually scoured across the asphalt on their way to the city, looking like they were just driven off the lot; no scratches, no dust, no mud, just clean. Many of the people driving these trucks have an aggressive driving style as they pass me. They look down upon me as if me and my shit wagon are unworthy of sharing the road with them. The irony is that my piece-of-shit that closely resembles a go-cart has probably been used more as a truck than their shiny new toys. I laugh it off and ignore the looks as Scout continues to run today. I would presume that they would cringe at the thought of taking their vehicles through some of the terrain that Scout has been through.
I will drive that vehicle into the ground and it will continue to be a part of our hunting process until the time comes when it can no longer do what we ask. Scout has been responsible for providing many memorable hunts as the tradition of hopping into Scout and heading for drive is something that cannot be replaced. Part of the joy of those rides is keeping the tradition alive and adding pages to the memory books, but the greatest joy is the reason that we keep going. We know that somewhere down those dirt roads we will find the field, slew or lake where the birds just have to be. It is the moment when everything comes together: the timing, weather, availability of food sources and the willingness of some crazy hunters trying to make the most out of the opportunities that they have been given.