one holiday rolled into the next. the snows came and reveled secrets all around. they also tucked the birds in tight and often my vest was heavy with success. then the snows melted and then froze and then every crunching step was like a warning siren. when we did find birds, i would miss. most days the only thing we carried home were the corn cobs i pick up for the squirrel feeder. i had changed chokes when the birds started to flush further and further out. it was a mistake and after a switch back things came into focus again.
i don't ski and i don't like to shovel either, but i do look forward to snow storms for hunting birds. some mornings after a fresh dusting discloses all the comings and going we rarely get to see, tracking mice through corn fields with my kids is just as fun as anything else i can think of.
my dog has hunted hard each and every day. it's our 3rd year together and we still bicker over the little things. we spent more days plodding through fields then ever before and he's the one who took the brunt of it. he's blown pads on his feet, racked up a list of cuts that never got a chance to fully heal, got a face full of cactus, somehow managed to get a bruised and infected rib... and when that snow builds up on him and he's running around with chest balls, he won't even look me in the eye. he's the best hunting buddy i've ever had.
walking miles for birds has worked it's way into my being but there are times when it's better to sit and let them come to you. so we did from time to time and i spent those days with a guy who can sweet talk them into a bad situation like no other. it's fun to watch and duck poppers taste pretty good.
i know it's too early to act like winter is gone but as the temps reached into the 40's, the alarm was set for 3 am. tailwaters are as good a place as any to spend the day when winter eases it's grip. my first trout of the new year was healthy rainbow who eat a pheasant tail spun the night before from one of many regal tails gathered under the cold, dark skies of this season.
i'm not sure what this year will hold for us but i do know that one day rolls into the next, one year into another and the only thing worth doing is trying to fill them up with things that matter.