Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Got the Blues

The last few grouse trips I took on the blues, so today I decided to try some rough grouse territory. Karl, the ramrod of Upland Idaho, keeps telling me how fun they are to hunt. So, Riley and I took a drive to find a good looking rough grouse area. We happened to find an Access Yes property that seemed to fit our needs.

It wasn't long before Riley was in the deep brush and not moving. As I tried to move in, I could hear birds taking off but was not able to see them. I would then hear Riley moving through the brush again. So I assumed he was pointing the birds that flushed. This happened at least a dozen times within the first hour of hunting. Finally, I heard a bird flush and could tell it didn't fly far. As I moved around to the opposite side of the brush I found Riley looking up in a tree. Sure enough there was a rough looking down at us. Not wanting to take a bird this way I threw a stick at it and it flushed down the draw.

This scenario happened several times over the next three hours. I finally decided that if I could get a shot at a rough as it flushed from the heavy underbrush and I THOUGHT Riley was on point that was the only way I was going to get a rough. I shot the next three roughs that exploded from the thickets and a little later plastered a tree with 7 1/2 shot as the grouse used it for flight cover.

After about three hours of this I decided to move to more familiar terrain in which I could see farther than 20 yards. With my shirt torn and a few new scratches on my face I hunted the sage area next to the timber on my way back to the truck. I was rewarded with a flush of three blues. I picked out one and dropped it. Riley was quick to retrieve the bird. Whether he pointed the birds before the flush or not I'll never know. At this point I was just figuring that hunting grouse was different rules than hunting chukars and huns in the open country.

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