Monday, September 3, 2012

Back In The Birds

The boat next to the garage suddenly became a decoration and any additional home projects are officially on hold until 2013.  As the calendar read September 1st this past Saturday, the dogs were the happiest, I was a close second, as we opened the upland bird season at 9,500 feet looking for blue grouse.
When I arrived at the trailhead, I wasn't the first hunter to arrive, but I was the first bird hunter.  The other pickups and horse trailers, all belonged to bow hunters in search of bugling elk.  I didn't mind sharing the woods with them, as I would be hiking above all of them, occasionally above tree line.  Other than the constant hazy skies from distant forest fires, it was a perfect day.  My shooting wasn't perfect either, in all honesty, but it was good enough.  The dogs didn't need much a refresher, but since they are both middle-aged in dog years (8 and 5 years old), they shouldn't need one. Beyond the birds, the shooting, I took a lot of satisfaction in the little things; just seeing the dogs jump at the sight of my double, seeing them honor each other, walking on ground that rarely sees another hunter.
As expected, the birds had a good hatch, according to my relatively small sample size.  One brood of blues numbered eight birds, which makes for a lot of noise when they start flushing out of a dog's point.  The birds' crops all showed a healthy diet of greens, berries and grasshoppers. The one males were where they should be, hanging out near timberline, with stunted trees and awesome views. The young birds were much lower, having spent the first few months of their lives in lush, more forgiving habitat.
After two days of chasing blue grouse up high, I spent Monday on the prairie, looking for Huns. They too, appear to have had a good spring hatch, following a mild winter.  But, right now, I will limit my time chasing sharptail and Huns for later. The mountain grouse window is small one and right now it is wide open.

1 comment:

  1. Wish I would have shared your kind of success. I'm trying to persevere through trying to learn new habitat in a new area of the country.