If one knows anything about North Park, it would be that we are known for our seasons. Its muddy springs, its short but beloved summers, its beautiful autumn, and, of course, its long-lasting winters. However, we are not limited to these four seasons. North Park is famous for its hay crop during hay season, the trophy wild game harvested during hunting season, the craziness through any sport season, and unlike many, we know the struggles of mud season.
My favorite season, is a season within a season, within a season. Fall in North Park can be pretty hectic between school, volleyball, and FFA. However, Fall is my preferred season of the typical four in this place I am fortunate enough to call home. The changing of the leaves is breath taking and the brisk air is refreshing, but the best part about fall is hunting season. In the fall, hunters from around the nation resort to North Park for its abundant wildlife. Its uncommon if there is vacancy at any of the motels and if eight out of the ten people you see aren’t wearing camouflage. Thankfully, these hunters usually aren’t on the quest for what I am on a quest for! My favorite season is Grouse Season.
My first grouse hunting experience was September 1st, 2006, the fall after I received my hunter’s education. I did not live in Walden at this time, but because I had family that lived here, I visited quite often. As an eight year old, the first hunting trip that I got to carry the rifle was a big ordeal. I remember cruising the mountain side with my dad looking for “sticks that moved” out the window. After shooting my limit of Blue Grouse that day, I was instantly addicted! The next year, my grandparents tagged along but this time we were on the search for Sage Grouse. While sage grouse are easier to spot, they are harder to find. I have gone sage grouse hunting every year since 2006, making it ten successful years of bird hunting. As I got older It became even more fun.
My first car was a 1970s International Scout, the perfect vehicle for a teenage grouse hunter. With .22 rifles in the back seat, my dog, Goose, in the middle and my little sister, Allie, in the passenger seat my world was perfect. We were grouse kill’n machines! However, my mom found it to be a bad excuse to not have to do our chores and my volleyball coach benched me for leaving practice early on opening day. To me, it was more than just the harvest. It was the time I got to spend with my family – my parents, my sister, my aunt, my cousins, close friends, and most importantly my dog. It was the meal my mom prepared after each harvest. Whether it be my mom’s homemade Sage Grouse Noodle Soup or Blue Grouse strips it always called for a delicious, well-earned meal.
I think every North Parker has a favorite season. What’s yours?