|Cookie, a hard-working German wirehaired pointer.|
Oh yeah. Like stiff breezes from the south and temperatures into the 80s F. Most un-North Dakota, but good for drying out the corn, beans, and sunflowers for harvest, I suppose. Somehow I ended up with both sets of waterfowling gear—the heavy neoprene waders and the light unlined hip boots, the insulated parka and the lightweight jacket, etc. Plus long underwear, wool pants . . . I am notorious for over-packing, but this was ridiculous.
Ducks were not yet migrating, so we ended up jump-shooting some of the abundant sloughs. Finally the last evening we did a "proper" decoy set and killed our last three ducks (one mallard, two teal) in the final seconds of legal shooting light.
|Grouse should be eating the white buffalo berries.|
As for the sharp-tailed grouse, this past severe winter and wet spring and summer might have hurt reproduction. I had one shot at one and missed it. The funny thing was that the grouse we were seeing were flying above and into standing corn, not in the prairie grass where we had found them before.
You are not supposed to hunt standing crops without the owner's permission, so we did not. Certain dogs might have been encouraged to run down the rows, however.
But the dogs did not want to go more than about three rows in. Perhaps they find the cornfields to be disorienting and spooky.
Invisible Species of North Dakota
This was my fourth North Dakota bird hunt, and I coming to believe that the presence of Hungarian partridge is advertised in order to sell licenses to gullible out-of-staters, but that they do not actually exist.
Likewise, I have seen ungulate-type droppings and large rounded hoof prints and am informed with seeming sincerity that they are made by moose.
No doubt the shelter belts and abandoned farmsteads are swarming with them, but I always happen to be looking in another direction. Perhaps they are snoozing moosily in the sunflower fields.
But I will be happy with my duck dinners.