Posted on: March 9, 2022 Posted by: Petsynse Comments: 0

Like many folks, I keep a calendar on my desk. Unlike my father, who always kept a Day-Timer personal planner and calendar in his pocket, my desk calendar is large enough to see months at a glance and to write important events in the blocks under the specific dates.

I keep everything from professional to personal important dates and reminders on my calendar.

It’s old-school compared to Outlook calendars on a computer filled with meeting notices and Zoom login information, yes, but it’s still my preferred method of organization.

One of the first things I do when I receive a new calendar for the upcoming year is take a few minutes to write in birthdays, anniversaries, the opening days of hunting seasons and a few reminders, such as the deadline to apply for hunting tags out west.

One new calendar date guaranteed to be circled in red ink is the last weekend in February.

For us squirrel hunters, this is the last chance of the season to go.

When the bell rings ending the season, there is absolutely nothing you can do until it opens again in the fall.

No matter how many days you went or missed, planned to go and didn’t, waited for better weather, or walked in the rain … when it’s over, it’s over. The last weekend in February is a must-go date for me and, thankfully, I’m not alone.

There are a group of friends who share the passion for small-game-hunting, purpose-bred hunting dogs, .22 rifles and field-grade shotguns that point their trucks west toward a central location to gather to meet.

Our friend opens his home in Kentucky every year and allows our crew to descend upon his property with our hunting rigs full of gear and squirrel dogs.

This year, we had a chef and restaurant owner from Chicago who wanted to start hunting but didn’t have anyplace to do so, so he came down.

We had a couple of buddies drive in 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 just like the dogs, but we had enough energy to cook a family-style meal for whoever wanted to stop in and hear about the hunting.

The meals were centered around Mother Nature’s bounties of such fine field-to-table meals featuring whitetail, elk, bison and, of course, squirrel was served.

As important as it is to me to celebrate the hunting lifestyle with others and to share the harvest through family meals, I must admit that the last weekend of February is mostly about my dog.

It’s the last chance to hunt for 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.

If the weather allows — most years it doesn’t — we will hunt another morning or evening.

In some strange way, and I have no way of proving this to be true, but I sense my dog has the last weekend in February circled on his mental calendar as well. I am not sure if dogs can show their emotions through smiling, but I certainly witnessed a bunch of happy dogs — mine included. If I had the authority to do so, I would declare the last weekend in February every year as “Squirrel Dog Days.”