The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

August 3, 2013

Don Steese's Outdoors Column: Beyond August

By Don Steese
For The Daily Item

If there’s a month during the year that I’d just as soon skip, it’d be August. By now I’ve had about enough of summer’s heat and humidity and I’m well aware that in less than a month I’ll be hunting.

Not sure yet if it’ll be here in Pennsylvania for doves or in Montana for huns and sharptails but the dogs and I will be chasing birds of some kind and that’s really all that matters.

For some years now I’ve been thinking about stopping in Montana for a week or two on my way to Saskatchewan, as the bird season starts on Sept. 1 in the Big Sky State, two weeks before the Saskatchewan opener. Anyhow, one of the things that always stopped me was the fact that accomodations were a bit hard to find in parts of Montana because of all the oil drilling activity.

Anyhow, I let it be known to a few aquaintances that I was thinking of chasing some Montana birds this year but was a bit leery about finding a place to stay. Well, one of the aforementioned aquaintances mentioned that he just happens to have a huge motorhome which will be parked for over a month in the midst of the best bird hunting in Montana and that I’d be welcome to stay with him, for free!

I don’t even know this fella all that well, which, come to think of it, is probably why he made the offer. If he’d known me a bit better he’d probably have had second thoughts. I guess most people would have jumped right on that but I’m kinda funny about staying with other people. I’d much rather find a little hole-in-the-wall motel and go it alone, but if that isn’t doable, I may just have to break my own rule.

I’m getting really promising reports about grouse numbers here in Pennsylvania. Not just from one person but from several, some of whom actually know of which they speak. A couple bird dog guys I know say they’re seeing them "everywhere."

Must have had a good hatch and better than average chick survival. Whatever the cause, I welcome the news.

We normally have a group of guys up from Maryland for the dove opener here in Pennsylvania. They haven’t been here for the past couple years because we just weren’t seeing enough birds to make it worth their while. Hopefully that’ll change this year.

If these guys decide to journey to the Keystone State I might well decide to forego the Montana trip. Dove hunting is as much a social event as it is an actual hunt, but it has always been a lot of fun.

The after-hunt dinners at my buddy’s place were always affairs to remember, a fitting end to a day’s gunning if ever there was one!

Maryland crabs, venison tenderloins on the grill, scallop ceviche, grilled dove breasts, scalloped oysters, homemade venison corned beef — I must stop now as I’m drooling all over my keyboard and I’ve gained five pounds just thinking about it!

At my age one should not be wishing for the time to go any faster than it already does, but August tempts me sorely!

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