Final day in the field

Hunting the final day of the upland game season can be as traditional for some hunters as getting out opening day. North Dakota’s upland game season came to a close Sunday, Jan. 6. I was among those in the field, saying farewell to another hunting season and hoping winter deals a fair hand to our state’s wildlife in the months ahead.

As final days of the hunting season go, it really wasn’t much of an effort. We made a couple of walks through snow-covered terrain where a few pheasant tracks were visible. The dogs didn’t know it was the final day and plunged on through deep snow with their usual enthusiasm. I still haven’t told them the season is over.

Getting into the field on the final day, even if birds were scarce where we were, was a good feeling. The day was reasonably pleasant for January and there’s nothing like stretching the legs on a walk outdoors in North Dakota – carrying a favorite shotgun and watching the dogs in front. It is one of the wonderful benefits of living in this state.

This issue has gone to the dogs, or rather, is dedicated to hunting dogs. Again this past hunting season I asked readers to submit photographs of their dogs in the field, doing what dogs love to do – hunt. Once again, readers responded with a terrific assortment of photographs. I’ll be sharing many of them with you in this edition of “Adventures” and the next.

No matter what the breed or the skill level, it is always apparent that owners love their dogs and fully appreciate what they do. That’s the way it should be. To be sure, some dogs are better hunters than others. No matter, all are treasured hunting companions who willingly give unlimited joy to their owners.

Like their owners, hunting dogs are already waiting for the next season to begin. Here though, captured in photographs, are some of the memories of the hunting season past that will help shorten the time in anticipation of next fall’s opener.