The State Fair is here, Labor Day just around the corner and the “early, early goose season” has come to an end yet the temp says WHAT? 90+ degrees coupled with humidity thick enough to stick a fork into! But even with a mid-summer heat wave there’s still a hint of fall that’s unmistakable. While on the water early last Saturday morning the evidence could be seen in the small flocks of ducks winging around as the sun came up and about 9:30 family groups of geese flying on the way back to loafing areas after the morning feed. Some Sumac has already changed to a bright red and I’m anxiously waiting for cooler temps to begin getting the dogs afield to begin my annual “looking around!” But that’s no secret is it since you probably already know how much I enjoy the pre-hunt experience. It’s kinda funny too because prior to a few years ago I never even gave it a thought and if the truth be told I never put much value in it. Sure I’d walk the dogs but it was mainly to get the dogs back in better shape but now I see tremendous value in the pre-hunt outings. It must be just me because I’m almost always alone on these public lands but the experience has become a special part of each fall. Of course the amount of game seen is neat but each year the landscape changes from the one before. Last fall it was the distinct lack of water in sloughs and potholes. A couple years ago it was the ability to actually put a pattern together of where the birds tended to be both early and later. Waterfowl scouting has been essential to good waterfowlers forever but I’ve added pheasants to it also. I’ll also try to add WMA’s never hunted to the experience finding out what’s on them including over the next hill. That too helps after the opener when looking for bird-holding areas. On the larger areas it also helps to know how to get around answering questions not yet asked such as can you get from one area to another without being blocked by water or where are the boundaries. In deer country too recognizing funneled areas or out of the way spots that ole mossy rack might travel unnoticed just might lead to that trophy. But if the whole truth be told I just love being afield with the dogs for the whole experience. Sometimes we just sit on a hill side in awe of it all. I know it sounds kinda sappy but the hunting experience just engulfs me each year allowing a deeper appreciation of the experience even without the OU in hand.
As I sit here at the cabin Tess, who turned 11 this month with graying muzzle and slowing legs will hunt sparingly this fall handing the reins to Snap to carry the bulk of the hunts. Recently while stroking her Golden head I thanked her out loud for all the places we’ve been together, the unique experiences we’ve had and apologized for the lost tempers and missed birds. Snap has already created a special place that is unique too. She’s indeed a special and talented dog and I do love her but then each one before her has been special too.
Now if this damn heat would give way to cooler temps we could get at it. If you haven’t tried the pre-hunt walks give it a try and maybe I’ll see ya on the back side of Coopers or Mensons or even Worsekkas! But today we’ll simply nap in the AC looking forward to cooler days ahead. Besides there’s still fish to be caught!