I see him disappear as he drops off the cut bank and into the river, purely intending to cool off. By “river” I’m referring to the South Fork of the Snake, currently running at 12,000 cubic feet per second.
The uninterrupted force of the river is cranking along the undercut bank where he went in. There is a tangled strainer of logs and debris just downstream, reaching out like a wicked, gnarled hand dragging long fingernails across the galloping surface of the torrent.
I sprint. He’s clawing at the bank without purchase, and then I see him starting to get sucked under and swept. His eyes go wide as dinner plates as the reality of his predicament dawns on him. Somehow sinks through that knuckle-headed pointer cranium of his. It’s a look I’ve never seen on his face, and my own probably didn’t look much different.
I dive to the edge of the bank, grab a fistful of collar and pluck him from the current with little time to spare. Fall on my ass.
I think about what would have happened if I hadn’t been right there, and able to respond so quickly. What if I was still back in the cottonwoods, looking for morels, as I had been just minutes before? He’d be gone. Pinned below the undercut, or swept into the strainer. I’d have lost my bird dog.
On terra firma again, he shakes the water off and tears off back into the forest, following the onslaught of spoor that rules his better judgement. Living as he always does – entirely in the moment. I give up on the morels and decide to call it a day. Too dry anyway.
Do you think she’ll remember this the next time she comes across a porcupine?
Of course not.
He was fully immersed in his second favorite thing to do in this world – chasing a tennis ball.
Without warning, he abandoned his second favorite thing to do in this world, which could only mean one thing. He hooked a hard left and headed toward the houses, nose to the ground, inhaling scent at a full run.
From a distance, it was obvious he was on point.
A standoff had ensued. The fowl held its ground briefly, before making a fatal mistake.
As the yardbird turned and ran, the shorthair was on it in seconds, shaking the life out of it.
We’ve been politely invited to help our neighbor build a new fence.
A serving of homegrown footage courtesy of our buddy, Brian Huskey. Pour a couple fingers of brown liquor, kick back and enjoy a little off-season succor. Er, chukar, that is…
The BHA 2013 Rendezvous will be held in Boise, ID – March 22nd to the 24th.
It will be another great weekend rich in how-to and DIY backcountry hunting and fishing seminars, information on advocating for your favorite piece of backcountry, excellent food, exciting auction and raffle items, and of course, time to visit with other members.
Jason Hairston of KUIU
Jason Hairston, the former NFL linebacker turned revolutionary gear manufacturer (co-founder of Sitka Gear and more recently founder of KUIU) will be this year’s Keynote Speaker.
BHA works hard to protect the backcountry integrity of our public lands and our hunting and fishing opportunities. Please show your support, and attend if you can!
For a full schedule of events, click here.
To register, click here.
Please note that the registration deadline is March 4th.
While I’m normally a pretty accepting, unflappable person, there are two things I really can’t stand;
People who are intolerant of dog breeds other than their own,
Over the crunch of dry grass underfoot there is a distant, creepy moan.
Like Keith Richards dropping in over Ronnie Wood’s steady strum, the cry floats above the sound of the wind rolling through the gentle folds of CRP.
My mind races through the possibilities…a lost moose calf down in one of the dense cover drainages? Mating cats? The ghost of a jilted lover, screaming from the tumbledown remnants of the farmhouse over the rise? I try to keep track of the dog as he works the currents, and for a while the distraction abates.
There can be an expansive, desolate melancholy to big empty places like this, so different than the claustrophobic disquiet of being alone in thick, dark woods, though it can be none the less unsettling. The dog and I continue to work the field, but something still feels odd. And then the caterwauling returns, so far-flung and ethereal, carried on sporadic wisps of gust, that I’m second-guessing whether I’m imagining it.
The rusty windmill in the distance continues to slowly spin, keening out its unearthly wail. The dog goes on point, but there is nothing there.
I was out with the dog in shirtsleeves just a few days ago. Now he looks at me with a pathetic mixture of loathing and remorse when I try to coax him into the kennel in the back of the truck. He tries to squeeze into the cab as I throw my gun and vest in, and learns that “denial” ain’t just a river in Egypt.
“Buck up kid, you’ll be lying on a fluffy bed next to the stove again as soon as you find me a couple birds.”
His head cocks at the word, “birds.”
He jumps into the back and curls up in the kennel. He’s not exactly happy about it, but he’s at least realized this temporary suffering has a purpose.
Good thing for all of us to keep in touch with, I guess.
It isn’t personal, but there are those places you keep to yourself, maybe even from your closest hunting buddies. Pocket stashes.
In part, you don’t share these because they’re an ‘ace in the hole,’ or at least you tell yourself that. Those places that are a little more out of the way, a little more under the radar, not on the usual list of spots you hit with friends. Even better if they offer a place to park out of sight. Maybe they’re even of questionable legality, and a low-key approach is best. But you didn’t hear that from me.
Of course, sometimes the irony here is that some of your co-conspirators have these same stashes. You can go along for several seasons, thinking you’re the only one that bothers with that particular marginal field or covert. And then one day you get there and find your buddies’ truck already parked. Of course, the appropriate response in this case is to leave a beer on the tailgate and move on to the next.
The other reason for having a few pocket stashes on your list is because these can be spots that are only big enough for one person and one dog. Limited spots that you might be able to cover in 20 minutes. But, this can be very productive. And some days you link these little pocket stashes together into one glorious, full day with just you and one dog.
All good hunting requires creativity.