Our desert lease hunting camp, the Bizy 6, opens in August, and that means our hunters wander way out west to see what a few months of neglect, scorching heat and varmints have wrought on our habitat away from home.
And so it was last week.
It’s good to report this morning that camp is still there — and so is the Chihuahuan Desert. Thanks to spring rains, the desert is green and thriving. Good news for quail hunters.
The character of the desert is best seen now.
The nights are marvelous. Moonless, dark nights 45 miles from civilization reveal the Milky Way as the ancients saw it. The day’s heat fades quickly, and by midnight a light cover pulled from the foot of the bed makes sleep come easy.
The days can be brutal.
In August, conditions in the field are about as bad as they will get all year, with temperatures well into the low 100s under repeated cloudless afternoon skies.
Shimmering heat-mirages wrinkle the air, blur the horizon line and play other tricks on the eye.
So it was no big surprise when one of the hunters reported that three mule deer had come stotting — a bouncing gait — through camp not 50 feet from him. Normally, such reports would be attributed to triple-digit heat and single malt Scotch, but this was 9 o’clock in the morning and the only brew around was a perking pot of coffee rattling on the stove.