Thursday, February 3, 2011
Back from Omaha. A little less than two weeks until the odometer rolls over on another season, two weeks to get the pup on some close-to-home birds before it's all over. But here I sit, shoving logs in the stove and freezing my ass off, just another victim of the Great White Death Storm of '11.
Oh, well. It's been a good season overall, I guess. I didn't waterfowl hunt nearly as much as I wanted (thank you drought and weather) and when I did the experience was somewhat tempered by the lingering memory of Lewey's absence. I also noticed for the first time this year that Tess seems to be slowing down just a bit. She'll be eight soon. Not old, but not young, either. Like me.
And the pup? Geez, the pup. She's something, that's for sure. Long on legs and personality, a bit short on using the nose and discipline, but we had a lot of fun, and now that she's got her first season of running (I'm not going to call it hunting...) under her belt, there's plenty of time to work on that other stuff. She's a sweetie, if a bit of a rogue, and I think she's going to make a helluva nice dog. She spent a lot of time on the road with me this year traveling to Texas, South Dakota and Kansas, and last week in Kansas she finally, sorta, after a fashion, in a manner of speaking, somewhat, loosely, in a roundabout way, kind of pointed her first wild roosters (then immediately took off chasing them when they flushed). Progress. I guess it's measured in boot leather and hoarse voices...
I also got to see my oldest son shoot his first dove this year. That was extremely cool, and now that he's ten he's finally old enough to start tagging along on some of the more physical hunting trips next year. More dove, deer, hopefully some low(er)-impact pheasants and quail hunts, and if I can scrounge him a pair of waders by next fall, ducks.
I'm not a particularly gregarious or sociable person and therefore I am mostly by choice, circumstance and natural inclination a solitary hunter. However, I also met, hunted and fished with several new friends this year and I have to admit, it was nice having the company. Greg McReynolds is a fellow shotgun nut who helped me catch my first cuttthroat this summer, and despite my cruel mocking of his choice of headgear on that trip he actually agreed to go pheasant hunting with me. I'm still trying to figure out what I can make fun of this time around. Probably that obsolete scattergun he was toting. Everyone knows real guns have accessory rails...
I also met several other like-minded individuals this past year whose company I enjoyed and certainly hope to hunt with again. Ted Gartner from Garmin International is a fellow bird hunting loonie I got the opportunity to hunt with and get to know this year. James Card from Ducks Unlimited magazine and his cool little American Water Spaniel/Mississippi Leghound cross Radar made the looong drive from Memphis to join us in Kansas. On the same trip I also got the chance to meet and hunt with (at least for a half a day) fellow bloggers Scampwalker and Four Seasons of Bird Hunting. And I had a great time in South Dakota with Bob and Anthony from Pheasants Forever.
So I guess I can't complain too much about being cooped up in the house. Besides, it's supposed to warm up a bit next week, so there's still a chance for a couple more quick trips.
Looking forward, there are a few changes in store for me. One, it looks like beginning next week the Field & Stream gundogs blog will be written wholly by me. My co-blogger David Dibenedetto has done a great job, but he's also the full-time executive editor at Garden & Gun, and I'm guessing the time commitment involved with that played a big part in his decision. I'm very excited, however, for the opportunity to start putting my own stamp on the blog. So look for more gundog, shotgun, conservation, upland and waterfowl-related content in the coming months.
Second, I'm also very excited for the opportunity to begin blogging for the folks at Quail Forever. I love all upland gamebirds, but some I love just a little more equally than others and the bobwhite quail I love above all others. So last week at Pheasant Fest when Bob and Anthony from PF hit me up about doing some freelance work for the organization, I didn't even hesitate. Still working out the details, so I'll let you know more as we get it rolling. I'd certainly appreciate the traffic...
And third, I'm extremely honored and excited (see a theme here?) to be asked to contribute to the Mouthful of Feathers blog. What can you say about the guys at MOF? Simply the best bird hunting prose out there, print, web or otherwise. Period. It's where I go for my inspiration.
And of course I'll keep plugging away at this little blog, purely for my own amusement. At least until I get that fine books/fine guns/fine tackle/fine spirits shop opened. So far I've got one book, one shotgun, one old reel and a half-empty bottle of scotch.
It's a start...
Posted by Chad Love at 1:18 PM