Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A tank of gas and a cup of coffee strong

Jack the Dog


I stole the title of our blog this week fromThe Band Of Heathens great song "Unsleeping Eye".  It certainly is approprate. Susan and I have driven over six thousand miles in the last two weeks. We left Little Rock, pointed the FJ north, and hauled  a full crursier and empty dog trailor to Adair, Oklahoma, where we picked up three more of our dogs that were being trained at Woods Kennel. After two nights on the road, we stopped at Oahe Kennel near Bismark. Tom Ness-the spaniel guru-did his magic on  short notice with a tune up on a couple of Boykins.  We made a short hunt north of Bismark that afternoon and lit out for "The Big Open" on Thursday morning.  I-94 is a great road to drive on if you are used to driving on I-40.  No trucks!  Friday morning brought rain for the second year in a row  in a land that rarely gets rain. All roads were a ribbon of goo.  All our choices of where to hunt were wet and limited. We spent most of the day at a car wash.  Our once new dog trailer no longer looked new.  Saturday morning was the opening day of pheasant season in Montana and our normal hunting spot south of the Hi Line (US Highway 2) was closed due to the severe flooding and devastating winter in Northeastern Montana.  I witnessed the carnage in almost fifty deer and antelope carcasses. We had to go to Plan B, which meant leaving the Missouri River bottom lands and hunting on the Rez north of Highway 2. The first hunt of the day started with Buckwheat the Boykin and he didn't find anything but a lot of cockleburs. Next out was Peirre, William's Boykin, and a Tom Ness student.  He did great. Limit was one third done! Bobby was next and he made three great points on roosters. I shot one. Jack The Dog, Anna's world class setter, was out next. In a Field and Stream setting that will stick with me for a long time, Jack pinned two roosters next to a delapidated grain bin in the middle of an amber sea of prairie. It was really cool! That night the boys from the resevation made their nightly deer hunt a little to close to our cabin. Rifle bullets in the middle of the night really close to us tend to skiz me out abit. After a sleepless night, we had a short hunt chasing chickens(Sharptail grouse) and decided to see a different part of Montana.  As we drove down a lonesome highway, miles from any human population, we noticed three hunters coming out from a hunt. As it turned out they were friends of ours from the Arkansas Delta. It is a really big, small world!  We spent the next three days chasing chickens, gray partridge and a occasional sage grouse or pheasant.  At first we thought we must be looking for the extinct Heath Hen.  Birds were very hard to find or in our case impossible  .Finally the mystery began to unravel and the prairie began to yield it's bounty of birds. To us, only the bobwhite is comparable to chasing native american prairie gamebirds.This was our first time to hunt and stay in Central Montana and it was great to have a little bit of luxury. Birds here had paid the ultimate price for a tough winter and a really wet spring. In a setting that stunning, with snowy mountains in the western distance and an endless horizon in the east, it doesn't take too many bird to make a favorble impression. George Harrison said 'All things must pass" and our time in Montana had. Our next stop was Crested Butte, Colorado, to close up our house for the winter. I couldn't stay away from the local rivers and really enjoyed some fine fall fishing surrounded by snowcapped mountains and golden aspen and cottonwood trees. We enjoyed our trip and our summer. We hope to share many more with you.

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