Upon leaving Craig, Montana two weeks ago, the self professed “Trout Capital of the World”, I was beat down tired from a long season behind the oars.   This was truly the finest season I’ve had since going out on my own nine years ago.  All said and done, BSA racked up almost 200 days in the books.  Paperwork is piled a mile high in our living room, but I will ignore that hay stack for a few more weeks.

Why ruin a lovely Fall with paperwork?  That would be a terrible idea.

Snowfall has come early in southwest Montana and most of the areas are reporting 150% or better for this time of the year.  Keep up the snow dances as they are working.  As for next summer, are you coming out?  You should and if you are remotely planning a trip west, then get in touch with us ASAP as 2014’s booking are coming in almost daily.

Our time in eastern Montana was a shorter hunt this year – all told we were only gone for seven days.  Five days of hunting and two travel days, which, I believe, is the perfect length for any upland hunt.  One can buy a weeks worth of food and beer and not really run the risk of rationing these items.   One can run the dog everyday and not worry too much about burn out or injury.   Most nights I crashed out early, wandering to my tent pitched between two Airstream trailers with a bird dog in tow.  The weather was perfect for camping, but waking up to coffee and breakfast inside the Airstream was pleasant indeed.

While I didn’t shoot as many birds this time around, I for sure walked further than any other bird hunting trips to date.   My new hunting boots, a pair of Schnee’s Beartooths, are fully broke in and for the life of me I can’t imagine wearing any other boots.   I like them so much, that I bought a second pair of insulated ones for late Fall hunting. With any luck, these boots will get me through my winter season of guiding in YNP for Yellowstone Alpen Guides.

Stella is just a few days shy of her third birthday and is as driven as any dog I’ve ever been around.  Right now she is looking at me from the across the room, hunkered down by the hot wood stove, with anticipation of leaving again, tomorrow or the next day, for another week long romp in the field.   She watches as the guns are oiled up.  She walks to the rig every time I pack another item.  Sometimes she just sits in the rig, waiting for it to leave.

This time we really don’t have a plan.  We might head up to the High Line, maybe hunt north of Bozeman some where……who knows.   What I do know, is that she is yearning for more time in the field and has shown more than a few moments of greatness on the last hunt.   I’m a terrible writer, so expressing what it’s like to watch the light bulb shine brightly with a young dog is in-explainable for me.  This is what these dogs are born to do.  This is why they are here.  It should be against the law not to hunt a bird dog.  I will forever incorporate bird dogs into my life, as hunting without one is pointless.