Western Hunting Journal, Premiere Issue whj001_premiere - Page 90

TRAIL’S END The Big Finish I E. Donnall Thomas Jr. 88 didn’t need a thermometer to tell me it was cold. Stars twinkled busily through the rarified air overhead, and my boots don’t make dry snow squeak beneath them un- less the temperature has fallen below zero. By the time we reached the spring-fed slough, condensation from my breath had left my beard caked in ice beneath my woolen ski mask, and Rosy’s frozen whiskers formed a silver ring around her muzzle in the early morning light. Lori, my wife and regular hunting companion, had grown quiet, which is her stoical way of letting me know she’s freezing. The time was early January and we were at Montana’s Central Flyway finish line, ready to go out in style. WESTERN HUNTING JOURNAL Most good stories share a sim- ple structure: a beginning, a middle, and an end. The same can be said of good waterfowl seasons. The anticipation of opening day infuses the begin- ning with a life of its own. Ex- citement and glorious autumn weather can make up for a lot of birds that have yet to arrive from the north. By the middle of the season, the dogs are on their game and whatever rust- iness your shooting suffered from earlier should be resolved. Continued on page 87