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Out of Bounds

Steady March Toward Summer

It may seem counterintuitive, but spring is more of an indoor season for me

By Rob Breeding

March isn’t my thing. The weather is poor. The fishing sporadic, at least at northern latitudes. Hunting season seems a long way off.

It’s not completely out for the month, but to go I’ll need to tag along with someone in possession of a deke spread and a proper retriever for a spring snow goose hunt. It’s the wild west out there this time of year as wildlife officials attempt to control exploding snow populations by eliminating every hunting regulation known to humankind. Electronic calls are allowed. There are no limits. Auto and pump shotguns are unplugged. 

Epic flights of snows are a pleasant distraction here in the States, but they are destroying their summer range in the Arctic.

Anyway, I’m afraid I’ll be laughed out of the blind as my only 12 gauge is an over/under. During the spring snow season, sporting two-shot shotguns aren’t considered environmentally friendly.

I probably need to borrow a firearm anyway. I don’t think the dogs will let me leave them behind if I try exiting the house carrying a shotgun.

They would be rather useless on a goose hunt. Setters can’t sit still, in a blind or otherwise, unless they’re allowed to climb up on the furniture first.

You’ll never mistake one for a Lab or Chessie when there’s birds on the ground. I’ve convinced them retrieving is important, at least to me, so they give it a decent effort. But you have to work pretty hard keeping them on task. They’re prone to peeling off to go find more birds.

I’ve never eaten snow goose, and the bird’s culinary reputation isn’t on par with the almost-as-prolific Canada goose, but I’m not too troubled by that. I’d confit the legs, pastrami the breasts, then boil the carcass for ramen stock. It’s hard to go wrong when you keep it simple like that.

More so than winter — when I am more distracted by bird hunting opportunities in southwestern states — spring is the time for fly tying. Scud season is fast approaching and, fortunately, scuds are an easy pattern I’m competent enough to tie.

It may seem counterintuitive, but spring is more of an indoor season for me. I’m a college basketball fan so, well, March Madness. 

These days I’m and even bigger European football fan, and spring is crunch time for the leagues overseas, which play a season that begins in August and runs through May. 

Liverpool is my squad and the Merseysiders have a dang fine team right now. As I write this, the top three goals scorers and the top three assist leaders in the English Premier League, arguably the toughest league in all of sport, have the liver bird logo on their shirts.

I don’t want to fret too much about my decidedly modern, first-world problems, however. It feels a little narcissistic as soccer is also a reminder that our imperfect world feels like it is coming apart at the seams right now. That hot Liverpool Football Club is in contention for the European Champions League title as well, and up until a few days ago the title match was to be played in St. Petersburg, Russia, in May. 

Not anymore. The match site was moved to Paris last week.

I don’t know what Europe will look like by the time this column hits the streets, but I have been reminded in the last few days that we’ve lived in a unique world since 1945, a unique world because some part of Europe wasn’t at war. There haven’t been many similar 80-year periods in European history. 

I’m terribly sad for the needless loss of life in what is obviously a senseless, unnecessary war. If I’m bored with the outdoor options before me now, well then, I just need to get over myself.

Rob Breeding’s website is www.mthookandbullet.com.

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