Saturday, June 2, 2012

Between Seasons

Photo by Dennis Swett

     It’s raining up north. I watch the weather forecasts for up there as closely as where we live, maybe more so. At least the young grouse and woodcock of the year should be big enough to generate their own body heat and have honest-to-goodness feathers, rather than just down. Hopefully, almost all of them will survive.
     Often, I find myself looking at USGS Aerial images on my Android phone, and none of them are of where we live, but rather the country I’ll hunt come fall. I’d love to be up there right now trout fishing, so I could listen for the drumming birds, but my work has me trapped down here in the flat lands.  Life could be much worse though, there are two bird dogs sleeping in the den with me, both dreaming with their legs twitching. I wish they could tell me about their dreams later.
     Periodically, I open the gun safe and take out my favorite double, shoulder it a few times, remind myself to go shooting more often, and then put it away. I dig out the list of things to bring hunting, just to double check it, maybe add or subtract something, and then put it away. The new little trout and bird knife that I got for Christmas will get a few strokes on an Arkansas stone. It’s always good to be ready ahead of time.
Drumming grouse,
photo by Dennis Swett
     Daily I walk the dogs. I find it easier to stay in shape than to get in shape. The dogs enjoy it as much as I do, and I love to watch them work the fields and woods. Every once in a while they point a turkey, which always creates a good story and usually a laugh. Maybe once or twice a year they’ll find a woodcock out back, but sadly there are no ruffed grouse here.
     How many days did you say it was until bird season?


  1. Do you know where in the bird population cycle you will be this fall? Last season were very long walks per bird in the Upper Midwest.

  2. I am not certain. Last year we had the most birds that I had seen in years, maybe ever, but other locations only ten or twenty mile away were average. Our location had the right combination of weather in the spring, so few of the young were lost to weather. It is interesting, because during the spring I heard few grouse drumming and was actually concerned that it might be a lousy fall. The opposite was true. The mountains in our area make the weather conditions more localized I think than in other places, hence different survival rates of young birds a relatively short distance apart.