Upon returning to Montana from a trip to MN, where ruffed grouse and woodcock were on the menu, I added a couple of days to hunt pheasants once I crossed the border. Needless to say, shooting a big October rooster seemed like child's play, after fighting to get shots at crafty ruffs and diminutive woodcock in the North Woods.
Eventually I had to return to my email, voicemail and old school mail.
However, as I was nearing my home in central Montana, it dawned on me that the sage grouse season was about to close November 1st. Since I hadn't hunted sage grouse in a couple of years or so and I was in the midst of prime sage grouse country, I pulled over. The dogs were 7 days into a fairly intense road trip, but when their dog box opened, they still showed the same excitement they did a week earlier.
I grabbed just enough water for the dogs with about an hour hunt in mind. I headed for a large sage flat on public land where I had seen birds a few years ago. It was a case of deja vu, as the dogs became birdy on the same knob, pointing the same flock of sage grouse, which flushed in the same direction as years before. Obviously the birds were a newer generation, but everything else was a repeat. I only shot one big male sage grouse, not needing to shoot another majestic, native bird that is struggling in some parts. I headed back to the truck, but not before the dogs also found two coveys of Huns, which added to my mixed bag of birds very nicely, putting an exclamation point on my 2011 upland odyssey.