Excepting mothers whose kids are back to school, I don’t know of anyone more appreciative of September than hunters addicted to gun dogs. Allowing, then, that you have an English setter or a Labrador retriever, or both, tell me you’re not invigorated by the sight of sumacs and swamp maples tinting scarlet and I’ll tell you I’m not energized by the smells of acorns and apples ripening and the first touches of frost.
Granted, September offers productive fishing when lakes and ponds “turn over.” Trouble is, focusing on hook sizes isn’t easy when the first month ending in ber-rrr has you thinking about shot sizes. Not to mention concentrating on casting when weedy shorelines are bleaching blond or when a flock of wood ducks flushes from an oak-rimmed cove. The way I see it, September is somewhat of a taskmaster that prods the likes of you and me to make ready for hunting season. Now’s the time for repainting decoys, repairing blinds and conditioning dogs that have lived like kings since last hunting season. And if you want to make Grouse or Gunner feel real important, fetch him a collar with a brass tag bearing his name and your name, address and phone number.
Furthermore, September is prime time for asking landowners for permission to hunt. That show of respect often results in a tip about an obscure cover that’s “worth a look” or a beaver flowage where ducks preen like they own the place. All things considered, it’s likely that sometime this month our trails will cross in a sport shop or gun shop or while purchasing federal duck stamps at the post office. If by chance, though, we don’t meet before Sept. 16, I may see you then at the Downeast Chapter of Ducks Unlimited dinner-auction in Bangor, where the verbal gunning is always spirited, to say the least.
Clearly, September is signaling that summer has ended and the dog days of autumn are beginning.