Saturday, September 29, 2012

What a Day I've Had Today!!

Greetings and salutations from the end of the last week in September.

Indian Summer all round this evening. 

Watched a moose in the harvested wheat field across the slough from my upstairs bedroom window this afternoon scoot into the rushes in a dip in the prairie.  I suspect the 'only moose permit in my lifetime' hunters were chasing this young stag earlier.  There were gunshots from the huge copse of trees around the farmstead just beyond the wheat field around 9 a.m.

I was delighted that the youngster (I could tell because his beard reached half only just below his chin) managed to survive and was wise enough not to stay on the high ground in the late afternoon sunshine. I seriously doubt if he will survive the next few weeks of 'moose season' unless his long legs carry him north across the border into Canada during the night. It's a short journey - five miles.

North Dakota's state Constitution enshrines the 'right to hunt'.  Those of us without firearms in our possession are in the tiny minority. 

The gathering of the Canada geese for their journey to South America is in full form these days.  In the late afternoon chevrons of thirty or forty geese move east and south regularly.  We gun-less ones know that not all of them will survive either.  Many a North Dakota hunter will have wild game in the freezer this winter. 

Three colorful pheasant inhabit a spot near the Danish cemetary on County road 13 as well.  In the early evening yesterday we watched them scurry from roadside into high reeds as we came past. They, too, will soon be part of the hunter's quarry.

Later, the deer will be hiding in the buttes hoping to blend into the golden stubble of durham, oats, and barley when hunters arrive to add to the wildlife steaks in the freezer.  People here in North Dakota do not need to worry about 'pink slime' in their hamburger.  They don't need to eat beef.  There's enough good protein on the hoof among the wild things to satisfy any prairie menu.

And when I am feeling somehow superior because I don't hunt or because I have no interest in hunting, I remember the gigantic Swenson's Hawk who has been feeding daily on the baby coots congregating in families of twelve or thirteen in the slough.  One makes a fine meal for this intrepid hunter.  I suppose it's more than a little unfair to judge the humans and excuse the Hawk. 

This land is so full of life that we had no idea existed when first we arrived.  I can't imagine anyone going hungry here.  It is a splendid feast for the eyes as well as for the stomach.