Hunting Cries

January 28, 2010

Hunters in the Skagit Valley

Waterfowl hunting season in the Skagit Valley ends on January 31st.  When we were driving along searching for snow geese, we were fooled by some decoys, which from a distance, looked like a flock of birds.  I’m not sure whether they fooled the snow geese.

Hunter setting out decoys

I wasn’t expecting to witness the drama of the hunt on my weekend drive to the country, but it was there in living color.  We found a huge flock of snow geese along Fir Island Road in a field that was marked as a reserve.  However, just across the road was private land, and we heard the plop, plop, plop of guns as the hunters successfully brought down several birds.  Then it was a race between the dog and an eagle to see who would reach the fallen bird first.

Eagle surveys the hunting grounds

Hunting dog and eagle race to the kill

Dog retrieves fallen goose; eagle is foiled.

 

Hunter with his snow geese

The Blind
by Timothy Murphy

 Gunners a decade dead
wing through my father’s mind
as he limps out to the blind
bundled against the wind.

 By some ancestral code
fathers and sons don’t break,
we each carry a load
of which we cannot speak.

 Here we commit our dead
to the unyielding land
where broken windmills creak
and stricken ganders cry.

 Father, the dog, and I
are learning how to die
with our feet stuck in the muck
and our eyes trained on the sky.