Saturday, October 15, 2016

Season's opening #phenology

Today was the opening of Minnesota's pheasant hunting season. The weather in Montevideo, location of this year's Governor's Pheasant Opener, has the temperature about 60 F with a chance of occasional rain this morning. I'm not much of a pheasant hunter, never have been. My preferences run to grouse and waterfowl. I've hunted duck openers that were this warm and felt stupid sitting in a blind, sweating. Everyone knows that duck hunting involves wind and rain and snow and other weather to move the birds. Not this kind of "bluebird" weather. In fact, the few times I have hunted pheasants, I've liked a bit of snow on the ground.

rooster pheasant in snow
rooster pheasant in snow
Photo by J. Harrington

For the record, it's also way too warm to enjoy busting brush for ruffed grouse, unless you're trying for heat stroke. I've done it (hunted grouse in warm weather, not had a heat stroke) and swore each time to never do it again. I wonder if or when climate change will cause the Department of Natural Resources to consider changing season opening dates. I seem to recall warm weather has already had some effect on ice fishing seasons although I don't recall the details. I'm as ardent about ice fishing as I am about pheasant hunting and suburban developments that wipe out habitat.

The Golden Years

All I do these drawn-out days
is sit in my kitchen at Pheasant Ridge
where there are no pheasants to be seen
and last time I looked, no ridge.

I could drive over to Quail Falls
and spend the day there playing bridge,
but the lack of a falls and the absence of quail
would only remind me of Pheasant Ridge.

I know a widow at Fox Run
and another with a condo at Smokey Ledge.
One of them smokes, and neither can run,
so I’ll stick to the pledge I made to Midge.

Who frightened the fox and bulldozed the ledge?
I ask in my kitchen at Pheasant Ridge.

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Please be kind to each other while you can.