The end of anything brings about a reflective mood, even if that end is just temporary. Next year there will be more weekends spent behind the dog. More points, more missed shots and more calls of “good girl dead bird!” followed by a wagging tail with a mouthful of feathers. But this is not next year, for now the dog stares at the front door on weekend mornings. Waiting for the boots to go on and the gun to get taken out to the truck. Maybe I am projecting my feelings on the dog, but she seems to know her weekend adventures are going to loose a bit of spice for the next stretch of weekends.
Looking back it’s not the numbers of birds or miles covered that stick out the most in my head. Some of my favorite moments of the season came from a sprinting dog suddenly making 90 degree turn and freezing. That was the reason I wanted to hunt with a dog. To see the dog get it, and did she ever get it this season. She know what her job was and there was nothing making her happier than doing that job.
We found some birds, a little buck and a new spring that I had never visited before. I really like wandering up a canyon and finding a little pocket of water wedged up in the hills. These tiny zones have everything that the desert has to offer. Pretty much if it lives in the desert, it will be there. Not to mention the dog does appreciate a puddle to lay down in.
We went to two spots, one that we know has birds, and one that I have never been to before. Fortunately, both spots had birds and the dog got a nose full of bird smell on both of our outings. New country always fascinates me, the urge to walk around the next ridge or look into the next valley is at times overwhelming. The new areas walked and spots found were some of my favorite parts of this season. We got into some good country and saw many a sight I would never have ventured to if not for a chance at birds and a predilection for walking one or two hills too far.
Now is the season of walks in the Ponderosa Pine forest that I am fortunate enough to live in the heart of. No added pressure or complication of trying to search for birds but just unrestricted wandering. The season is shaping up to get a few days on the skis and quite a few more on the bike. I am looking forward to a warm summer of fishing in flip flops to small fish and dry flies made from the birds and bunnies I was lucky enough to harvest this year. A pleasant reminder of the bird season to come. For now though, the dog and I will push through this end of season melancholy with the knowledge that it will come again next next year, better than ever I am sure.