Farley was top notch, as always. It’s such a pleasure to watch him work. His instincts and drive in the field are legendary. You’ve never seen a bird dog so courageous and big hearted. When I get to hunt behind him and watch him do the thing he was born to do, it’s thrilling and my heart swells with pride. He covered ground until his feet were in tatters and ribbons and the wind was blowing in the wrong direction. The land was big and broad, dusted with sagebrush and flanked with rims of volcanic rock. It was all choked up with Hungarian partridge coveys, a dash of quail here and there as well as chukar where the air meets the edges of the canyons. It was brilliant to be out in it, bracing against a sharp, hard wind, skating across frozen water and side stepping mafic rubble.
When the cold weather comes, the mule deer gather here for a season of light grazing, antler shedding and dozing in their ungulate nests in the shelter of the side hills. We watched them bound across the flats in clusters, disappear around the edges of canyon walls, leap up from their beds when we caught them unawares — always those telescopic ears wavering in our direction and collecting the minutia delicata of our boots crushing jagged snow crystals between sage and soles. The deer, they move in tempo rubato but our pace was slow and steady, leaving space for Farley to work in broad arcs through the sage.