Spring is a pretty exciting time for me, as it is for all graziers. The grass bursts forth and my days are filled with watching new mothers and frolicking calves. Summer is pretty fun too, as the pastures are covered in good feed and the cattle grow fat. But even with all that glory, fall is probably my favorite time of year. Cattle drift off to market, the ranches get “put to bed” for the winter, and the afternoons take on that wonderful yellowish light that photographers love. Oh, and hunting season begins. Each fall I head out to the high country, looking for birds, the ones the bird books call “upland game.” The “game” here is that my buddies and I trudge up impossibly steep high-desert mountains, seeking creatures that are remarkably more suited to the country than we are. Chukar partridge run quickly up 80 degree slopes, then fly downhill at speeds approaching sixty miles per hour. Our only equalizing force is the dogs: fine Pointers with insanely tuned noses and bred-in instinct, the dogs’ job is to find birds, pin them down and wait patiently for the humans to show up. The dogs often cover 10 or 20 miles each day in rough country, while the humans scramble around trying to keep up. This is a ridiculous sport.