Coffee steeped in the French press while I took notice of the unusual deep purple hue of the predawn sky. The weather had kept the dogs and I indoors for weeks as negative temperatures stung the skin and snow continually accumulated. With the sunrise, clouds glowing orange like embers, and the rich aroma of fresh grounds drifting through the house warmed my desire to carry the double gun behind a bouncing setter.

The L.C. Smith (L.C.) was sitting on the couch from my failed attempt to reach the grouse coverts the day prior. Yuba was well aware and kept an eye on it, while I worked to empty my coffee mug before taking a stroll to the bedroom. I returned wearing my upland brush pants, and that was hint enough for Yuba.

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Brad Trumbo is a fish and wildlife biologist and outdoor writer in Waitsburg, Washington. For tips and tales of outdoor pursuits and conservation, visit

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