A Walk in the Woods

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Joined: 06/03/2010

A Walk in the Woods
          It’s the last week of October and there isn’t a cloud in the sky and the thermometer says 61*so it seems like a great day for a walk. I grab the 20 gauge side by side and pocket some shells while the dog, Babes, goes nuts leaping in the air and prancing excitedly at my side because she knows it means hunting. The leaves are mostly down but the woods are still a bit cluttered here and there with some tamaracks that haven’t shed their needles yet along with clusters of conifers and a few straggler oak that will hold leaves till the bitter end.
          I don’t really care if I get a bird as long as I can enjoy the walk and appreciate the beautiful day because I know there won’t be too many more like this before the snow is falling and the woods turn still and cold. The little shotgun rides easy in my hand weighing only about six pounds loaded. It handles like it was made for me and I love carrying it on a walk like this, enough gun for the job but not too much to tote around for a few hours.
          A red squirrel chatters loudly and Babes gives chase for an instant but soon casts out in front of me again sniffing for the telltale smell of grouse or woodcock although we had a hard frost a few days back so the timber doodles may be headed south already. The grouse will stay, stay here in God’s Country with me through the cold winter and hope for an early spring with little rain so their young will survive. I have weathered many such winters and seen cold springs and warm ones and I can honestly say I prefer a nice warm spring.
          As I round the corner in the old rutted trail a bird flushes out into the clear and I swing without even thinking and out of the corner of my eye I see Babes freeze as she waits for the shot and the tumble of feathers. One bird for the freezer and a satisfying walk ends my afternoon.