Short days, cold Gun barrells and numb fingers…….Shooting season is here…..

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It happens sometime in August. You go out one morning and the steady beat of Summer has given way to the restlessness of Autumn. It is an almost imperceptible change. Those of us that have lived and grown up in the countryside feel it. We can almost taste it. Suddenly we are sent tumbling back to childhood , where happy afternoons were spent roaming the hedges for blackberries and picking apples from the orchard in Brickfield. In recent years, however, this change marks the approach of something different for me and my dogs…..

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Time is approaching. The giddy excitement of looking forward to darker evenings and shorter days. Standing on the lakeshore or walking a riverbank as the first fingers of sunlight reach across the sky in midwinter. Sitting in a boat as an angry northeast wind pounds your back with sleet and hail or  standing in woodland, alone, with only your faithful dog for company shivering as much in anticipation as from the cold while you both wait for the sound of a hunting horn and the pheasant drive to start. Walking through miles and miles of heavy plough, fingers numb on the barrel of the gun, breath hanging in the air as you pull tired heavy legs from the thick brown clay. All the time just waiting, watching and listening…Time slows down. There is nothing else to think about. It’s just you, your dog and nature.

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Then it happens. Just a flutter of wings in undergrowth, the call of a drake as he rises from the rushes or the simple change in the body language of your dog. All tiny clues but because you have learned to watch and wait and be patient, you and your dog have become good at this game….and sometimes, maybe just maybe you’ll get lucky.

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Happy hunting everyone!

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