Like many people, I have a calendar on my desk. Unlike my father, who always carried a personal planner and Day-Timer calendar in his pocket, my desk calendar is large enough to see the months at a glance and write important events in the blocks below specific dates. .
I keep everything from professional to personal important dates and reminders in my calendar. Old school compared to Outlook calendars on a computer filled with meeting notices and Zoom login info, yes, but it’s still my preferred method of organization.
One of the first things I do when I get a new calendar for next year is take a few minutes to write down birthdays, anniversaries, the opening day of hunting seasons, and a few reminders, like the deadline to request hunting tags. out in the west.
A new calendar date guaranteed to be circulated in red ink is the last weekend of February. For us squirrel hunters, this is the last chance of the season to go.
When the season-ending bell rings, there’s absolutely nothing you can do until it reopens in the fall. No matter how many days you’ve gone or missed, planned to go and didn’t go, waited for better weather or walked in the rain, when it’s over, it’s over.
The last weekend of February is a must for me and, fortunately, I am not alone.
There’s a group of friends who share a passion for small game, specially bred hunting dogs, .22 rifles and field shotguns pointing their trucks west to a central gathering spot. Our friend opens his house in Kentucky every year and allows our crew to descend on his property with our hunting teams full of gear and squirrel dogs.
This year, we had a chef and restaurant owner from Chicago who wanted to start hunting but had no one and no place to do it, so he came. A couple of friends came over from Nashville who were hunters but had never seen hunting dogs, let alone squirrel hunting dogs.
After a long day of hunting, we were tired as dogs, but had enough energy to cook a family meal for whoever wanted to stop by and hear about the hunt. Meals focused on Mother Nature’s bounties of such fine dining from farm to table with whitetail, elk, bison, and of course, squirrel was served.
So important to me is celebrating the hunting lifestyle with others and sharing the harvest through family meals, I have to admit that the last weekend in February is mostly about my dog.
It’s the last hunting opportunity of the season, but more importantly, the long weekend is dedicated to our dogs. We hunt twice a day, morning and evening, for at least three days. Weather permitting, most years not, we’ll hunt another morning or afternoon.
In some strange way, I have no way of proving this to be true, but I feel like my dog also has the last weekend of February marked on his mental calendar. I’m not sure if dogs can show their emotions through smiling, but I certainly witnessed a lot of happy dogs, including my own.
If I had the authority to do so, I would declare the last weekend of February every year as “Squirrel Dog Days.”