Monday, September 5, 2016

Early moisture

The upland season has finally arrived. Grouse season opened 7 days ago and with the cooler weather Jake and I made a trip out three days ago. The temperature gauge read 50 degrees when we got to our hunting location and I was actually hunting with a long sleeve shirt. Jake was excited to see me with a shotgun in hand and we were off for some grouse. It didn't take long before I realized how bad of shape I was in. I blamed it on the smoke from the fires and the dust I was kicking up off the trails. I had to stop quite often to catch my breath. It wasn't much better for Jake. He drank 2 quarts of water in the first 45 minutes on the hill.

You probably remember me talking about all the grouse I was seeing on an earlier post. Well, I was hunting that same spot but Jake didn't even act like he scented a bird for the first hour. We had seen probably twenty grouse in this area in August but now couldn't even find a grouse feather. At the end of our 3 hour hunt, Jake had bumped three birds which I never saw to distinguish whether they were rough or blues. As we drove home I questioned my grouse forecast for 2016. Did Conner and I really see that many birds?

The next day Jake and I stayed home, licking our wounds even though it was supposed to be even a little cooler. I checked my notes to make sure my memory served me right and I decided that even though I'm in terrible shape my memory still was okay. That evening a rain storm came through and being a little stubborn I decided on a return trip to the same area today.

When Jake and I reached our hunting destination we were pleased to see that although the ground wasn't soaked the dust was knocked down and there were even a few puddles in places. It was 2 degrees cooler than our last trip and Jake was ready to cover some ground. About 15 minutes into the hunt, Jake was on point 52 yards away. I plowed through the brush until I could see him and snapped a quick picture of his first point of the 2016-2017 season.
There were at least 3 birds flushing but I could only see 1 flying through the thick brush. With a quick snap shot I somehow hit the bird and saw it flutter down. I yelled dead bird to Jake and he was on the search. My thought's of a crippled bird were soon confirmed when I could here wings flapping in the brush and Jake running through the same brush. Ten minutes of  calling dead bird and encouraging fetch finally found Jake bringing the blue to me.
I was excited to finally have our first bird in the bag. What some moisture will do for a hunting trip this time of the year is amazing. Jake and I hunted the same area as we had two days before and the rest of our hunting trip was fantastic. The grouse were in the thicker stuff and many of Jake's points went by without me seeing the birds but hearing the flush. After 2 1/2 hours on the hill we had our birds and headed back to the truck.

Although I did see two ruff grouse, we had to settle for blues on the dinner table this trip. This trip is a great reason to never write off a hunting spot. Had I not of seen so many birds here earlier this year I would have figured the grouse numbers down in this area this year, but the right conditions proved different. Also, it's amazing how much better in shape you feel when there is lot's of action. I hardly remember my lungs burning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jake looks happy with that bird in his mouth.Hes been waiting for a long time.Have fun you two.
Alan,May's and the Setter