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Small game opener in New York got rained out. On Sunday it stopped raining. Alice and I went to Stewart State Forest before sunrise and waited for first light at the edge of a meadow. 6700 acres. 670 hunters and dogs. We walked for hours with Dandy eager to retrieve. Nothing, zipola, nada. Not one hunter we spoke with reported even SEEING a pheasant or a rabbit. ”State ain’t stocking birds this year. It’s the budget.”

We 4×4′d through turning maple and oak woodlands. We stalked the edges of glistening meadows and withering corn fields. We skirted marshes and ponds. No small game. Occasionally a chipmunk. A few does, irritated by our Sunday intrusion, sashayed off like cats, their tails high. The odd duck flared off in pre-season confidence.

We have so far driven 800 miles since the New Jersey opening on September 25th. We have supported gas stations, diners and tackle shops. Our new hunting clothes hang limp on us like the flags of defeated armies. The dog is nightly on match.com looking for a new owner that can hunt – she and the cat jeer openly at us. So far this season I have fired only one shot – I missed a squirrel. I avoid the neighbors as if they were creditors – they will ask me how the hunting is going and wonder about my promises of game.

Ah Nature! It is glorious when you watch the sun rise in a forest. It is a great gift and I should feel satisfied. But couldn’t we shoot just one bird? Next week we go grouse hunting in Margaretville, New York but the birds already know we are coming. The DNR reports the highest grouse flush rates in the State in the Western Catskills. Little do they know that grouse have planned a field trip for the days we plan to hunt. Every day I rise up hopeful and the dog leaps to her feet. “Hope, charlatan though she may be, lures us along a pretty road to the end.” I have been up all night again. The sun will rise in two hours. I am a glutton for punishment but those fields, wet with dew are calling me.
 

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Freedom Zealot
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33,733 Posts
See !! Even getting skunked can make for fond memories !!
 

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Premium Member
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1,490 Posts
sounds like you have my sort of luck. So far this season in Upstate NY, 1 grouse, 1 turkey.
 
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