January 31. It’s here, arriving with little fanfare, if any at all. Dreaded by some, ignored by most, it is the last day of the upland bird season. And like the many that have come before it, I will be hunting.
I am drawn to the final day of chasing birds for reasons I can explain and a few I cannot. But, the simple fact is this is my last chance to hunt them for 7 months – 9 for pheasant and quail - and I am a bird hunter.
I am not sure what to expect, but gone are the easy birds and the hunting groups that relied on them. This is the time for small groups, experienced dogs and bird hunters ready for the challenge.
Though shot opportunities on the closing day are rarely as plentiful as they were on opening day, the chance to reminsce about hunts past and plan for hunts to come are abundant.
I have hunted solo on the finale of bird season, but I have never been alone. Bird hunting done right includes a dog or two or four. I prefer spending this day with another like-minded bird hunter and this year I am lucky enough to do so with my brother and his two pups, as well as my own.
So, here’s to the last day of bird season, a better next season, good bird dogs and the bird hunters that follow them…cheers!