Thursday, October 15, 2020

The outdoor commitment

 This might be a little bit of a different post for me but the past 7 1/2 months have been very different for me so here goes.

Maybe it's my age or maybe it was because of my accident, but I've watched the news channels more this year than ever before. Because I couldn't get out the first thing I did every morning was turn on the tube and see what new was going on in politics. Gunsmoke was on the other channel so I'd take a break once in a while to see whether I'd seen that episode or not but I always seemed back to the news. It's a good thing I didn't have one of those tools that tell you blood pressure because, like everyone else no matter what side they're on, I might have blown the mercury out of the top.

After a while I spent some time in my side by side letting the dogs run but that didn't last long before I was back in my lounge chair seeing what I had missed. It wouldn't be long before I heard something that inflamed me and I was wondering what ever happened to treating each other with respect. That is obviously a word that has gone by the way side. Covid 19 took over the sports world so there was no other contest to watch and like most people I know I was becoming consumed by it.

Although I made a few trips out in September, they were short and limited to certain terrains. I would go check these areas out with the dogs but spent more time in the truck driving to and from the hunting areas and listening to guess what, yes the news channel. By the time I got home I had forgotten those short hours of watching the dogs. Thank God football finally came around and at least my evenings and weekends are somewhat back to normal.

Then my back operation finally came and my post op visit two weeks later. They said things are looking good but don't hike or hunt for another month. I knew that was not likely and yesterday morning I woke up and turned on the tube to you know what. Five minutes into it I declared this was B.S. I loaded up the dogs, vest and shot gun and headed for the hills. This time I put some of my favorite tunes on and it seemed like we were where we wanted to be in no time at all.

I had planned on hunting the tops and not losing much elevation. We just needed to be out in the outdoors hearing nothing but nature. It started out a little hectic since I let the boys out without putting the collars on yet. Jake was still waiting but Grady had already found a covey of chukar and was having a ball making sure each and every bird left the ground for another county. There was no stopping him until every bird was gone and than he reluctantly came to me. Funny how the collar refreshes their memory even when you don't push the button. So, off we go and Grady is mach 10 right now. There is not going to be a stone unturned until he finds more birds. This is Jake's eighth hunting season and he knows how to cover more ground with his nose and not his legs. I have no idea what Grady is seeing because he is out of sight most of the time but I keep walking the game trail in pursuit even though my back hurts a little. Being where I am is worth the pain.

As I top the next ridge my Alpha tells me Grady is on point. Sure enough, I see him across the draw pointing a red fox about 50 yards from him. I can only carry so much right now so I had left my camera in the truck. What a bummer because as I sat down on the hill to observe, I watched what I thought were some chukars hopping on the rocks below the fox and thought it would have made a great video. Grady held the point well for a couple of minutes (I now didn't know which he was pointing) and when I got up and headed across the hill the fox took off and so did the chukars. That would've been enough excitement for me but I realized Jake was on point below me and although I didn't want to lose elevation I was obligated to go to him. It was slow going but worth the walk.

Grady came sprinting past me and almost fell trying to stop and honor the point. Knowing I can't twist much yet I tried to position myself for a straight away shot. Of course that didn't happen and the birds flew off without a shot fired. All but that one straggler who obliged me with a straight away shot and a dropped bird for Jake to retrieve. Losing elevation I searched for the next trail to lead me back to the vehicle. I soon found one and walked it as the dogs covered the mountainside above and below me. I was aware of nothing except my dogs and the mountain. I made several stops along the way to rest my back and enjoy the scenery and realized how much I have missed in the past months.

We had a few more productive points on the way back to the truck and I managed a few more birds but was happy to be back in the seat of the truck for the drive home with the boys. We got home and there was a college football game to watch and make it through the rest of the day.

Then we got up this morning. Without thinking I turned the T.V. on to the news channel. Same old B.S. only a little more nasty. About ten minutes of it and I asked the dogs if they wanted to go hunting. That was a dumb question and we were soon heading to the mountains. I chose a place that wasn't quite as accommodating as yesterday and we did more elevation gain than I probably should have but the boys had a ball and produced some nice points I couldn't get to and one that produced a good shot and a retrieve. At one point my back started cramping so I took a break on a rock outcropping. As the dogs and I sat there sunning ourselves two bucks came over the ridge below us and strolled along the hill side for several hundred yards before they disappeared. One was a magnificent big buck. He was heavy, wide and tall. A buck anyone would be proud to hang on the wall. I whispered to the boys that there's the guy everyone is looking for.

Once again I was glad to be back to the truck and a soft seat. Now at home we are just waiting for the football game to start. No news.

My point is obvious. I like everyone else have gotten so tuned in on the virus, politics and other B.S. that I forgot about the greatness of being outdoors. The last two days put me back to where I want to be, enjoying life. The outdoors is where I belong. Sure these times are hard, but we don't need to quit living. For me and probably most of you, being outdoors puts most of these other things on the back burner. We are lucky to have canine partners that enjoy the outdoors as much as us. They never say no. So make a commitment to take your pups outdoors as much as possible and let others worry about the worlds problems. It's sure working for me.