A Ruff Day
We usually wait 'til October to chase ruffed grouse. It gives them a chance to grow some, feather out too. They're a bit wilier, having endured a month of hunting. A few less leaves on the brush increases the chances of seeing, rather than just hearing the wingbeat of fleeing birds.
We slipped out one mid-week day. The weatherman said that a storm was a coming (indeed it did). It was a gray, flat light day. Cool and damp, the previous nights rain clung to the brush. It made for a nice comfortable day for a walk in the mountains. I toted a camera, looking for that one quintessential, elusive image that captures the essence of ruffed grouse hunting.
So, up the muddy trail we went. A few deer tracks. Moose tracks too. Along the way, a wandering bear had torn apart some rotten logs while grubbing for a meal.
Another point. Wife zigs, the bird zags and flushes on the wrong side of a tree. Smart. They know how to use cover.
This day there would be more points. More flushes. Days like this are rare. Another bird comes to hand, then another.
No matter. We're all wet and tired, colder too. Clouds thicken and drop, obscuring the mountain tops. Tomorrow….winter. Then, hopefully, Indian summer will return and we'll have another chance for a ruff day.