Staying at home in Montana over the Christmas holiday has its advantages. I am always well-fed and if the weather is not too frightful, bird season is still open.
Christmas day was just what I had asked from Santa: hunting with Dad and our dogs with December weather that was nearing 20 degrees and no wind.
Never mind that the snow had a icy crust on it, allowing the roosters to run a football field's length ahead of the dogs. The Huns, they were jumpy after a season of being bothered by man and companion, with a dozen or so sets of eyes to stand guard in each covey.
But, like anything, if you work hard enough, eventually a pheasant holds tight and Huns sit long enough for the dogs and the hunters to get into position.
In late December, you don't expect to shoot limits nor do you need to. You are walking the big spaces of Montana with cold hands and chapped faces, knowing that it is a long wait until next September. A day in the field in December is simply a great Christmas gift.