Monday, September 26, 2011

Our last grouse hunt

The weather has been treacherous the last week. We hit a high of 101 degrees Saturday which eclipsed the old record by 7 degrees. It was a day that I enjoyed watching football from the couch. I had made up my mind that I would back off for a week and wait for some cooler temperatures. It was a short week of waiting. Two days to be exact. I woke up to a 40 degree morning.
I hustled the dogs into the truck which is always loaded for these type of emergency outings. There was a place I haven't been to in two years and it was calling for me and the boys to come visit. Being only about thirty miles from home and most of the miles paved I was there before dawn. I finished my coffee and the dogs and I headed down the old abandoned logging road.
I picked this spot because I knew it would be easier on Dakota who's hips are shot. He even got stuck crossing over logs twice today and waited patiently for me to come help him out. The old boy doesn't get off the trails much but he enjoys the outings just the same.
We found enough obliging grouse to have a good day and Riley actually held a few on point on the ground. Our last bird was a rough that held in the shoulder high brush as Riley pointed it.
I didn't pack the camera today and of course I had several decent opportunities. One was a calf elk. The boys were on point and as I moved in I could tell by their posture it wasn't a bird. Thinking the worst (skunk or porcupine) I whispered for them to whoa and crept in. On the other side of the brush was this calf elk that was as interested in us as we were of it. The calf (probably born in June) was alone and by the way it acted I'm sure we were the first dogs and human this elk had encountered.
The other good sighting was two hen turkeys with somewhere around  15 young ones. They were very small for this time of the year, about half the hen size.
I even heard a Tom gobble three different times, which is the first time I've ever heard one in the fall.
It was a great last grouse hunt for the year and it was especially nice to get Dakota out. It was 40 degrees when we started and 60 degrees when we got back to the truck two and a half hours later. 60 degrees is warm for the dogs when there is no clouds in the sky. They were starting to seek out shade trees.
The temps are back on the rise through the chukar opener in five days. It's supposed to be in the upper 80's on Saturday and then drop to the upper 70's on Sunday which will be when you find Riley and I up on the hill chasing our favorite bird.


Pete said...

Great photo; looks like a good time to me. I've never hunted grouse but one of these days... Good luck w/the chuks. Our season starts 2 weeks from this Sat. Really looking forward to it. If predictions are even close to being right, it should be a great season. Maybe next season I'll visit your neck of the woods for a few days.

larry szurgot said...

This is only my second year hunting grouse. I've shot a few incidentals while chukar hunting. It's kind of a fill in until the chukar season starts. If you do get this way, make sure you look me up.