It seems weird to say tromping over every square inch of two full sections of prairie can be relaxing, but after several weeks of dealing with a crazy workload at the day job, the five or six miles of hiking through walk-in areas on a pheasant hunt was exactly that. It was nice to be far away from phones, email, and other urgent needs for a few hours on Sunday morning.
Better yet, I got to be out there with my dog and a good friend. As a bonus, Mike brought his dog, too. Cricket and Ginger formed an instant friendship, and they seemed to work out a natural division of labor. Ginger’s just a pup, with plenty of energy, so she spent the day racing back and forth in front of us, while Cricket conserved her energy and her 10-year-old legs by staying a little closer to us, investigating any smells either of the dogs picked up in great detail.
Mike and I trailed along behind the dogs, hoping one or the other of the furry beasts would flush a pheasant, and we passed the time solving the world’s problems, talking trucks, and sharing photography tips.
We didn’t see any pheasants all morning, but we found a great-horned owl sitting on an old snag in a line of Russian olives, watched a herd of about 50 antelope, and enjoyed what could have been the last pleasant day of fall.
It all reminded me why I hunt, and why I don’t hunt by myself much anymore. I enjoy eating wild game, I love the excitement when a critter pops up within range, and I like just being outside. But when you can share that experience with good friends, or better yet with a good human friend and a couple of Man’s Best Friends, there isn’t a lot that can beat it.
I hope Mike and Ginger can make it out to hunt with us again. Maybe we’ll get a bird next time, but if we don’t, I won’t mind much.