Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Speak, talk... noise?

In the spirit of season wrap-ups, here are some snippets of my 06-07 fall-winter seasons: In contrast to just a couple years ago, my bird season consisted of only about 10 hours of hunting (we've all heard it -- “…life as you know it will be over…”).

I was able to get out a couple times for birds while traveling in VT and CT, so Spy got into some woodcock, grouse, and ticks. The best hunting was on a warm late morning in early October in VT on a state WMA where we moved 17 woodcock and a few grouse in an hour and a half. That hunt resulted in a “this-is-this” photo of Nolan inspecting the take.

This year, for the first time since I’ve had a bird dog, I did not kill a grouse. Fortunately on the second VT outing I had a friend along who, in addition to taking a picture of my dog pointing a bird (look 3 or 4 feet to Spy’s left, it’s sitting facing away)...

...he connected on a grouse Spy pointed, which was really nice as the friend doesn’t get much chance to hunt birds… and I had missed with both barrels. And Spy got grouse feathers in his mouth, so that was good. Of course, we didn’t get the bird Spy was pointing in the photo; it didn’t matter that I was lulled to sleep during the picture taking process – I barely got a glimpse of the woodcock on departure as it stayed below the radar, among the tops of the leafy saplings.

Down in CT (where I spent too much time trying to kill a deer) I hunted Spy a couple hours on a state WMA, where we collected a few woodcock and more than a few ticks. Almost had a shot at a grouse there, which if I had connected would have been a one shot limit – it’s no longer legally possible to get a double on grouse in CT.

In Maine I got out twice for birds, and did not fire the gun. No need for a 40-bird recipe for me, Mr. Vicar – I just need to make plenty of mashed potatoes to stretch those Timberdoodles into a meal. At 9 years (last Sept) Spy is just about as spry as ever. This was a tough year for the poor dog, as he had to play second fiddle to young kids. I’m hoping Nolan will be big enough to tag along on bird hunts next year.

Lowlights: I got out once for ducks late in the season, thanks to a visiting neophyte hunter friend, but we did not have a duck to shoot at. It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to get out for sea ducks this year. However, I remain optimistic about the waterfowling -- I've been painting and repairing duck decoys when I get the odd hour or two at night, and am gearing up to put a new floor in the duck boat. I hope to have that done by spring ice-out, in time to troll for salmon.

With bird season over I took advantage of freakish snow-free woods to snipe snowshoe hares. Some of you may recall I did this last year as well (back pack bunny hunting). Nolan, almost 2.5 years, still fits in the backpack carrier and is as avid as ever to go bunny hunting. He’s learned to tuck his face against the back of my head when we push through the thick stuff to keep from getting lashed by branches. We got out a couple weekends ago just before the snow came, and I was able to plink a couple hares with the .22. Nolan was pretty enthusiastic about it, and gripped a bunny one-handed by a hind leg for the rest of the hunt (all the while, unbeknownst to me, blooding my side). Bunny season highlights so far have got to be the conversations I’ve had with Nolan, such as in the truck on the way to go bunny hunting: “Daddy, did you bring the decoys?”

And especially this one while driving to visit a friend after a bunny hunt:
NW: “Who’s gonna be there?”
PW: “His son Mikey will be there too”;
NW: “Oh. Is he a boy?” (yes) “Does he talk?” (yes);
PW: “His wife Sara will be there too”;
NW: “Oh. Is she a girl?”
PW: “When she was little she was a girl; now she’s a woman”
NW: “Oh. Does she talk?”
PW: “Yes, she talks”
NW: “Oh. Woman noise?”
I honestly don’t know where he got that!


Anonymous said...

WHAT A GREAT POST!!!! Thanks Andy, I needed that. And Nolan is a prophet.

Anonymous said...

Priceless! Thanks for the stories, Andy.

Mr. Bill