November. The kindlier months have come and gone and Ol’ Man Winter grows stronger each day, eager to rule his kingdom with his icy grip.

Little Sunny’s first rooster, which she backed Farley on.

The harvest is over, the leaves have long since bloomed with color, wilted, and trickled to the ground where they are tossed to and fro by the cold wind. What is left are skeletal tree trunks and branches, harsh lighting, and shadows.

If we’re lucky, the month may give us a few warm Indian Summer days. Such days afield with birddogs should be savored as a gift. However, the birds are much scarcer, warier, and less apt to wait around to see what predator is in pursuit. The birds seem to have even more of an advantage in November.

Yet most diehard hunters are not willing to hang up the game bag or to put away the shotgun for the year. The dog still wines eagerly in her kennell. Instead, we welcome the challenge and even chase after the more difficult species, like the Chinese dragon or the fast-flying demonic birds of the near vertical, rimrock slopes. When we and our dogs occasionally connect with a wily November ringneck, it is truly an accomplishment–a reason to celebrate.

Bishop Maxwell with Farley’s last rooster.

November is an opportunity to sit by the fire and reflect on what has been and what will be. In November’s scarcity, the bounties of the past spring, the summer, and the harvest seem almost embarrasing. We realize that we have taken things for granted. November is a time to give thanks, to count our blessings, and to pull close to us those things that matter most. November is a time to pray for better days to come.

When it came to November valley quail hunts, Farley really shined.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. danontherock says:

    You describe November perfectly. Our weather so far though has been better than October. Cool but sunshine everyday. The snow may put an end to things here for me any day. Great writing regardsDan

  2. Beautiful description and Nov. is living up to its name here in Oregon. Most big game is over, the birds have scattered and waiting for the Artic storms to push down fresh waterfowl. A pause in the season has come, thanks indeed.

  3. Andy…Always love your prose! Good post as usual

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