Black Friday Cometh
Tomorrow is what I call Black Friday, when hunting is banned in Wisconsin, on the day before the 9-day gun deer season. That means no grouse hunting for at least ten days. If you haven't experienced the gun deer season in Wisconsin, it's a bit like a war out there as 600,000 hunters take to the woods armed with high-powered rifles. For safety reasons, our setters don't get near the woods during this hunt.
I'm pretty much a meat hunter, so I go out and try to get some venison and fill the freezer. This weekend I'm heading down to SW Wisconsin to hunt with a friend and his family in the hill country down there. I've never deer hunted south of the 45th parallel so it will be a new experience.
We had a good hunt today, the day ending with me losing Fergus on point in a large popple cutting. I was walking along thinking about something I can no longer recall when I realized Fergus's bell was silent. I started to move in the direction where I thought I had last heard him, but after a couple of minutes I still hadn't located him. (After this season, I'm breaking down and buying a beeper collar.) So I yelled for him, fairly loud, then loader, and when I really roared I heard the faint clang of his bell. I started to hustle toward where I thought I had heard it, but I still can't find him. Now I'm starting to think about wolves since we're about half a mile where a depredation had occured in September. So I beller again, and I hear the clank of the bell, this time closer. Finally I spot Fergus through the popple. He's pointing and probably wondering what took me so long. "You got the bird?" I ask, and he relocates once, then twice. I try to head the bird off because it's moving, but I can only scramble so fast through that nasty popple. I got a glimpse of the bird as it squirted out ahead of us, and I saluted it with a shot as it flew off unscathed. Whatever comes our way, though, I can rest content as it was an excellent season.
Now I better go find my rifle.