When Game Birds Were Plentiful
By David E. Metcalf
The colorful bird flew fast and low, directly toward me. “This will be an easy shot,” I thought. In a situation like this, sometimes I was right and sometimes not, but as a teenager in southwestern Idaho in the late 1970s, I came home from school in the fall with bird hunting on my mind. Homework versus hunting was an easy choice, although I tried to do well at both.
In the rural areas of the Treasure Valley, the advent of autumn brings the pleasant smells and dustiness from the harvesting of crops, such as onions, potatoes, sugar beets, field corn, grapes, apples, and other fruit. The ground crops, the vineyards and orchards, and the weedy patches in and around the fields all provide food, nesting, and cover for many types of birds, including popular game birds such as the mourning dove, quail, and ring-necked pheasant.
The cool fall mornings and evenings make it enjoyable to be outdoors during autumn in this part of the world, amid leaves on maple and cottonwood trees turning to shades of gold, red, orange and yellow, and the distinctive smells of vineyards, fruit trees, field crops, and other vegetation.