In Northeast Texas, where Blackland Prairie gives way to the Red River breaks, steep-banked creeks cut fine, broad hardwood bottoms.
|After a brutal summer, fall rains reassured us that life might go on.|
Early afternoon, in shirtsleeve weather, I cast Cate east along a certain creek in Lamar County. I didn't expect much in the way of game then. There were no pleasant surprises the first couple hours, but no shortage of pleasure. Were I a more efficient hunter, I'd have saved our energy for the last two hours of the day, when squirrels and other diurnal wild things stir before denning.
|Someone shake a vine. Cate says there's a squirrel up there.|
Late afternoon, things picked up a bit.
Why do dogs always prefer the far side of the creek, especially when you aren't wearing hip boots?
|An unexpected gift: A woodcock hen.|
|Gumbo or burgoo? We added a few more squirrels before dark.|
Just after sundown, with barely enough light, I cleaned the day's bounty on the tailgate. For a few minutes, I knew only a snoring dog, tired back, bloody hands, the feel of feathers and fur, the smell of life and death, cedar and a cooling creek bottom. We humans are simple creatures, but we have long memories.