In the early-morning silence of a Sunday morning, the slow drip of the coffee seemed loud. My fuzzy, pre-coffee brain tried to make sense of the computer screen. $240? For a license? In my home state? That doesn’t seem right. It seems pricey. In fact, it seems ridiculous. It’s been a long time since I’ve lived anywhere else. I’m a house-owning, tax-paying resident, by god.
I page through the menus, check my profile, check my login, then realize the truck is idling, the dogs are loaded and the coffee is done. And I’m late.
I type in the help number, close the computer and hit dial as I walk out the door. To my surprise and relief, a kind lady named Sharon picks up the phone and I’m buoyed with confidence. After a few minutes and a lot of typing, she tentatively tells me there is some kind of error in the system and that she can’t help me. I’ll have to go to headquarters, which won’t be open for another couple of days. Or, I can buy a non-resident license. $240. I ponder this figure for a moment. The coffee is working and I now clearly understand that this is much more than the cost of a regular license. I also understand that it’s some kind of glitch, probably related to my recently renewed driver’s license. My buddy pulls into the parking lot. I thank Sharon and tell her I’ll go to the office in a couple of days.
“Hey buddy, ready to chase some birds?”
“I can’t hunt today because I can’t get a license, but let’s go run the dogs.”
“Yep, all good, let’s roll.”
On the drive out, I convince myself that it will be fun, useful even. I have my camera and my dogs. It’ll be a good chance to focus on the basics. Like off-season training, only during the season.
And then later, she’s pointing. The tip of her tail white against the black sage, which in turn is black against the white snow. My buddy walks in, shotgun held at the ready. In the second before the covey goes up, I damn sure would have paid $240 to be walking in with him.
It would have been a bargain.