My old man recently bagged a bull moose in Newfoundland.
The success comes after empty-handed hunts for caribou in Alaska and elk in Idaho in 2014 and 2015, respectively, so you might say he was due. Though I don't know he had to go all the way to Newfoundland when 8-foot tall bull moose are just roaming through picnics in Duluth.
Nevertheless, Dad (aka Bob) went and bagged. Good for him.
This news makes me hearken back and reminisce upon hunts in which I actually participated in with my father, like years of grouse openers at Goodrich, the youth hunts of 2007 and when Dad submerged himself in icy water to retrieve a shotgun I let slip loose when I stepped on thin ice.
I think of my glorious youth deer hunt when Dad chased a muley buck right almost on top of me lying in the shade of a juniper on a badlands hill.
"What are ya doin'?!" Bob yelled incredulously for the tri-county area to hear.
Clearly I wasn't as alert as he the morning he led my sister to "take" two Canada geese coming in low over a slough bottom. The shot was easy, the aim apparently excellent.
Across the silent morning air of the slough, I and my mother hear Bob's anxious calls for readiness as my sister shoulders her shotgun and fires on her father's command of "Shoot! Shoot!"
BANG. No bird.
"Oh, why'd ya shoot?!" Bob yells incredulously, the quarry escaped.
I suppose we don't have the surety of aim and swift skills of a man who announces a plan to walk a mile into a PLOTS area, shoot at three grouse, bag two and continue three miles over the hill after the lone survivor, only to be nowhere in sight when Mom rolls up in the truck.
An hour later, Bob returns with his three birds, aghast at how we "shoulda been with me" as Mom mumbles that "the plan always changes."
So it does for the man who defies a 6-foot high field of weeds to reach the bald knob of a hill where his quarry most assuredly lies.
At least his trusty bird dog is there every step of his way times four. God bless Dash for his excellent quartering and swift retrieves.
And his pleasant ways. That dog barks twice a week.
Admittedly, I haven't stomped my way through a frozen slough bottom chasing pheasants or laid in wait under cover of sunrise for ducks to swoop in as much as I should have in recent years. I blame school and work. Judge if you will.
Nevertheless, the old man continues on his way through miles-long, sweltering September walkabouts for grouse, frigid forced marches for rooster pheasants and the occasional 5:30 a.m. alarm for ducks.
From tending to bird dogs injured on cacti to extolling his bug-out bag to driving back roads until they peter out in a field, Dad excels in his hunting crafts.
He always gets his bird while his son lets a flock of wood ducks get up "right out from under us, kid!"
Oops. Sorry, Dad.