I wanted to get back up to Havre one last time before winter to hunt with Brett and his dogs again, but schedules and weather were making it look like it wouldn't happen. When Brett called and told me his young stud Nash was sick and would need surgery the weekend we had planned to hunt, it seemed a wash. Brett and Lisa didn't need the distraction and added burden of me being up there while one of their two dogs was recovering from surgery.
But I underestimated my friend, again. Brett said Nash would be staying at the vet over the weekend, and that since it would be no "burden," I should still come. I got my ass off the couch, threw my gear and the dog in the truck, and hit the road.
We both had deer tags to fill, and Brett also had a cow elk tag for the Bear Paws, so he lined us up to hunt big critters on some block management Saturday, and little flying critters on some other block management Sunday. Having a buddy who is an insanely passionate hunter up in the sportsman's paradise that is the Hi-Line is not a bad deal at all.
We hunted gorgeous rolling ponderosa high-country on Saturday in nice weather, although it was a little warm and we dealt with a brutal, lean-in-to-it wind all day. We were in mule deer most of the day, including the decent buck that I farmed no more than ten minutes in to our day. Don't get Brett started.
Should've taken him, because it was the best opportunity I had all day. With no signs of the bigger things on Brett's list, and only does to be found after lunch, a little muley spike became freezer filler in the afternoon. It was an easy drag and we were headed home by sunset to eat homemade stroganoff (thanks Lisa!) and watch football.
For our Sunday ditch parrot pursuit, Brett took me to a piece of property in a creek bottom that I had not hunted before. It was the thickest, nastiest, Eastern-grouse-coveriest, birdy-looking cover you could imagine, and gotdam was it holding some pheasants. I bet we put 50 birds up that day, though many flew from thick cover to thicker cover with no shot. Still no excuse for some of my always inexcusable misses, although we did manage to knock a few down...it'd be a safe bet to assume some of Brett's lead was in all of them. A great hunt nonetheless, with plenty of action in gorgeous country in the company of some of my favorite people and dogs...who can argue?
That deer will be at the processor tomorrow morning, minus the tenderloins and backstraps, which I think will be joining us for Thanksgiving on the Grande Ronde along with some of those roosters. Oh, how I love the fall.