Moving forward. Going backwards, uphill, and slowly descending.
Last hunt of 2020 for us was yesterday, I followed Bob around the chukar hills just like the old days. Camera in hand. No shotgun. Winter is my favorite time to be out there. It’s quiet.
Following tracks of ghosts of deer, elk, and birds. Detective work. Bob whispers to me, “I think they were just here.” I look down to examine the prints in the snow. Tiny dog tracks are heading upwards, the lone elk is going downhill. We keep going up.
We continue to follow Peat. He’s pointing 185 yards away. We look up to see if we can see him, snowflakes are gently falling to earth and into our face. We climb the steep ladder to get to him. He’s focused, patient, and won’t even look towards our direction but knows we’re finally there. His job is almost done.
The covey busts, Bob shoots, Peat retrieves. Beautiful dog work. Magical. We continue this sequence a few more times finding new coveys and relocating old ones. The dense fog started to come up from below and the snow fell more heavily. We were dressed for the elements but the ground was getting slippery so we decided to head back to the pickup. Bob tells me, “Be careful on the downhill.” We headed down the same ridge we came up and our footprints, Peat’s, and the elk’s had vanished underneath a fresh dusting of snow.