The time up north passed way too quickly, as it always does. This year the weather stayed gray, with occasional showers breaking up the days, and temperatures held steady with daytimes in the fifties and nights in the forties. Migrating songbirds, which usually long gone by the third week of October, still lingered in flocks and the flights of migrating woodcock didn’t show up until the day before I left.
Ruffed grouse were abundant, with almost twice the flush rate of the previous year, but the birds were skittish like I have never seen them before. Often the partridge flushed forty or more yards ahead, frustrating both the dogs and I. But there were places and moments where things came togethern and the birds held for points and then flushed in multiples. And on one day the sun shined like a jewel in an unblemished blue sky, and even though no birds were shot, it will stick in my mind.
A five month old German shorthair pointer pup came along for the trip, providing lots of laughs and interesting moments. She pointed her first woodcock five minutes into her first bird hunt, honored the other dogs easily, and carried my boots around back at the house.
Hunting with friends and visiting old acquaintances made the week special. Watching three dogs, with one pointing and two honoring, made the week magic. But like the lingering leaves on the poplars, it was time for me to go.
I’ll write more on the trip soon.