Rarely Have I Had More Enthusiasm For The Season Ahead

I feel like a kid at the approach of Christmas – I know how many boxes are under the tree and how big they are, but I won’t know what’s in them until I rip off the wrapping.

I’ve opened one box, and it has been very rewarding; I’ve been out several times for the first portion of the split dove season which ends in two more days and I’ve had my share of good hunts in the mountains as well as the desert.  I’ve had one dove dinner with dove giblet and mushroom gravy and plan to have more.

There will a break in the bird hunting now which gives time and motivation with regard to some of the other boxes.  Next up for me will be the beginning of the waterfowl season and the members of our club have put more work into it than I can remember in the past, much of it dealing with deferred maintenance.  We’ll all go down one more time for some touch-up work and to clear the channel that brings the water to fill our ponds for the many wading birds and ducks that will visit in the months ahead.

The biggest box involves an early November trip to southwest North Dakota where we have laid the groundwork by renting a great little cabin for a week and have begun reaching out for hunting access information on public as well as private properties where we might find a rooster or two.  We visited the same general area a year ago, along with a great stop in northeast Montana and enjoyed a terrific trip.  Best of all for me is that for the first time, our son Ryan is going to be able to join us on this trip which will be my fifth foraty into the midwest in search of pheasants and I’m hoping it will become an annual tradition for as long as we are able to do so. 

By the time that trip is done and we have returned to California, the late portion of the split dove season and the beginning of pheasant season will be underway and overlaid upon the waterfowl and quail seasons, making for some pretty eclectic hunting adventures. 

I never get tired of the weekend trips to Imperial Valley that include early morning duck hunts followed by some ditch walking for pheasants and the occasional concentration of doves.  There is a good chance that a buddy from the east and another from the northwest will be joining us and I look forward to the merriment that accompanies our time together, not to mention the great food and strong spirits.

The most interesting gift, and one that I believe will deliver dividends for many seasons ahead comes in the form of Jack, an energetic black and white springer pup who is six months old and ready to embark on his first hunting season.  I will have to remember to take things slowly with the still growing youngster who will hunt alongside Gus, his five year old liver and white “brother.”

I’m convinced this will be a season of many gifts, some that are apparent, some that are developing, some that I’ve not envioned – and I can’t wait to open them.


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