Ways to Stave off the Depression

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I know I have had much more time in the woods grouse hunting than most and I really shouldn’t have anything to complain about, but I am going out of my mind not hunting. I miss the life I get to live while at NWBC. I’m sure even if I lived closer to grouse-producing cover and public land, here, I wouldn’t feel so much this way. But in my current situation, it seems to take hours from the time I decide I can go hunting, to gathering eveything, loading up dogs, and driving forever (it seems) to even get to an area that might hold birds. In the area of the north where I get to stay in the fall, I can be in that situation in under 20 minutes. So, I am spoiled, I guess you might say. I am never as exhausted as I am there, but I would give just about anything to live that everyday. Maybe I would get sick of it and complain about something else someday, but I don’t think so. Just let me see if that’s the case, right?

I am addicted to grouse hunting, although I certainly wouldn’t mind hunting wild quail, sharpies, huns, or chukar, either so I suppose it would be more correct to say that I am addicted to hunting wild upland birds over Llewellin Setters. We have a week of Grouse season left in PA, and I hope I can get out at least a few times this week. I have to get out. This is one of my favorite seasons (yes, winter, snowy and cold and I love it–don’t hate me) and I am wasting away (actually double my size, not wasting away at all), sitting at this desk when every ounce of me is screaming to get out, get to the woods, look for some ‘ruffs, watch the Llews do their amazing work and slam on a jaw-dropping (mine) point. It gives me goose-bumps. Every single time, it gives me goose bumps. I love the game. I guess more than anything I love to see the dogs doing what they were born to do. I can’t teach that–no one can. It is just “in” this amazing and beautiful breed of dog.

And, yes, I could go to my favorite preserve and run the dogs on planted birds. I will be doing that over the next few months. But, it just isn’t the same (to me) as hunting wild birds.

So I am sitting here surrounded by several of my Llewellins and a blazing fire in the wood stove trying to work and trying not to go insane, trying not to slip into withdrawl and depression (I know, sounds pretty pathetic, doesn’t it?). My mind wonders to days spent in the north woods or even last week in the PA woods and I have that beautiful picture in my mind of Nashua or Ike or Jenna on point in the green briars with the other dogs honoring. Wow. goose bumps.

I realize I have to snap out of it and work. Concentrate. Get my work done. It’s my job and without it the doggies won’t eat. Without my job, there will be no NWBC come fall. Just snap out of it! Television absolutely is the most boring, infuriating, and ridiculous waste of everything (I really don’t watch it (except for 2 shows), just listen to it in order to drown-out noise from barking, snoring, my husband’s conversations with his trapping buddies or mother, or what the rest of the people in this house are wasting their time watching) and just fuels the fury to get out to the peacefulness of the woods, the dog’s bell, the wind whipping through the mountain hollows, trees creaking, a few geese flying (where are they flying now anyway?) overhead… ahhh…. please take me there. please. I can’t take all the garbage I am surrounded by! I’ve listened to every interesting podcast (I love podcasts) on homesteading, gardening, hunting, some politics and news, and natural wellness (of which there are not that many, actually). I am making my way through tons of audio-books though and that is nice, except there aren’t many titles on audio that actually interest me. I am listening to (and reading) the Bible daily, which I had not been doing and really, really missed. I wish all the bird dog fiction, training, and genetic books were on audio. I would get to “read” so many more books that way. I am currently listening to Jack London’s White Fang and am enjoying it tremendously listening to it with interest and some sadness.

What can we do to stave off the depression of not hunting with our Llews when the season is out, weather is too bad, we can’t get to the preserve, or we have to work? I don’t know, I haven’t a clue. I am asking you. Please help me out, here.

I can day dream, plan for fall, talk to bird dog people all day long and it helps, but it isn’t a cure for this all-consuming obsession. Just get a grip and push it to the back and keep on keeping on is all I know. Tell the Llews that are going insane and looking at me begging with those beautiful brown eyes that we’ll get out as soon as possible.

In a few weeks, the house will begin to fill with the noises of new Llewellin setter puppies and I will be too busy for several months to think of much else. That will certainly help (me and Shay, but not the other dogs!). Spring will come and daylight more plentiful, meaning more time to slip outdoors and to the woods with the dogs at least until grouse breeding and nesting season. Then some additional time in the woods when it’s all clear and hopefully it isn’t too hot. Then, we’ll be forced indoors because is will be too hot (for the likes of me). At that time, all the details of the fall trips can be finalized and we can start counting down the days until we are back in the north woods (actually I’ve already started the countdown–see it there in the right-hand side-bar?) or that other training trip out west in August… Ahhh… my idea of Heaven on Earth.

Okay, that did help a little. At least now I feel more panic about getting my work done for tomorrow morning!  Thanks for listening. Let me know how other obsessed upland bird hunters make it through, okay? Maybe we should start a support group? We can call it Upland Bird Hunters Anonymous (UBHA), or just Bird Hunters Anonymous (BHA). I can do the web site for it. What do you think? I don’t know, maybe giving into it and whining about it is just pathetic and makes it even worse. Best keep things underwrap and just toughen up, eh?