While autumn in many places marks the end of a busy summer and a transition to the winter, fall in the west means busy mountain ranges, busy rivers, and intense flights of migratory birds. Hunters begin to hit the mountain slopes in full camo in the archery season, and the bright orange jackets of rifle season eventually take over. Anglers flock to the big rivers for the intense hatches of mayflies and October caddis. Later, in mid October, hunters in camo, with Labradors or Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, maybe even Springer Spaniels, will throw duck decoys out onto a river or pond, and create the calls of a hen mallard, while hiding on the bank, shotgun at the ready. Hunters will produce enormous flocks of goose decoys in fields of corn stubble or cut alfalfa, hiding in lay out blinds or ditches, using silhouettes, shells, or intricately carved full body goose decoys to lure in giant Canadian Honkers. Another important aspect of the fall is intense color. The greens of spring and summer give way to the yellowing leaves and grasses of fall and the colors combine with dramatic complexity.
The trees of fall are the obvious choice of dramatic color. A person only has to drive the banks of a western river with the bright yellow leaves of Cottonwood trees, offset by the bright, clear water of the river, to realize just how special of a time of year fall is. Also, in areas of the west that have dense stands of Aspen trees, the cloud of intense yellow that these trees present is inspiring. In the fall another landscape color that can cause serious drama is white. When the first snows cover the peaks of the mountains; the views of the mountains are juxtaposed with the greens and yellows of the valleys.
Some game animals of the west also exhibit intense color. Mallard drakes, for instance, have come out of their drab molt of summer, and the green feathers about its head are bright and intense. Brown Trout seem to absorb the yellow leaves that fall into the river and their scales turn bright yellow to gold in full spawning colors.