Thursday, January 1, 2009

One Last Hunt

It is with two tired dogs and a heavy heart, that I write this as the sun just set on another Montana bird season. There is so much to be thankful for this past season: a couple of great blue grouse hunts in September, where we shared the high-country with no one but the elk and mule deer. While the pheasants, sharptail and Huns were down slightly in central Montana, the birds seemed to be thicker in some of my haunts in northern and eastern Montana. Dad fully recovered from his previous ailments and can still outwalk anybody I know. Tess and Abby are no longer projects, but both cherished hunting parters in the field.
Regardless of the positives, I still hate the thought of putting away my bird vest and shotgun for another eight months. So, while I hesitated to leave the house this New Year's Day, I knew I had to. Icy roads, deep snow in the field and my concern for the birds themselves (who are now in winter survival mode with 12+ inches of snow on the ground), were overshadowed by my need for one more try. One more day for the dogs to see their orange collars and jump up and down in the kitchen. One last day of a watching my girls work the grass and thickets, doing what they love to do-doing what never lasts forever, for any dog. Tonight they sleep, waiting for their next, first day.

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