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Showing posts with the label ruffed grouse

Annual Report 2016

I'll start this post with a scene to warm the holiday season.  A summer pond reflection from near Cooke City, Montana.  Only the mosquitos are missing.
The year started and ended frosty.   Sub zero temperatures in January and December bookended the year.  Other than minor inconvenience, the cold weather was short lived and offered a brief respite from fishing.
I've grown to prefer fishing midges.  Often, they're a most reliable hatch.  And, mid-winter, the only game if one desires casting to rising trout.  Thankfully, February and March were both nice and offered several pleasant days and opportunities for squinting at the waters surface. Midges continued to fish well into May.
In spite of declining visual acuity, fishing with twenty-two's became routine.  I comfortably ventured into the use of 7X and now view 6X as a luxury.  Five X is nearly suitable for dredging up halibut.

Lucy, the matriarch of the sofa claiming dog clan made it beyond sixteen.  She left behind …

A Christmas Stroll

Today, Christmas day,  dawned quite cold.  We wanted to get out, the dogs did too.  We waited for it to warm and got going by mid-morning. 
I've done little since last summer, and wondered how the old bod would hold up on the trail. When we got to the Bear Canyon trailhead, it was still a little chilly.  I strapped on the snowshoes, Jo elected to take her chances and went without. Fortunately, most of the trail had been packed by folks on skis. 
Here's how it went……..

It turned into one beautiful bright day, eventually warming to the upper twenties.  We covered about four miles.  It felt good to get out and walk.  What a nice Christmas day.

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.

Birds?  Yes. The first couple flushed wild, then the dog settled in.  A point. Flush. Shot. Retrieve. One in the bag.  The first ruff of the year.  A mix of buff and…

To Autumn

Seasons change with little regard to the calendar.  What should have been the official first day of autumn disguised itself as just another summer day.  Sometimes the seasons are just tardy.  Summer managed to hang on for a few more weeks.  Midweek, autumn noted that it was October after all and enough was enough.  Finally realizing the error in its ways it was ushered in by a north wind accompanied by snow and cold.

It doesn't seem right to walk the grouse woods on dusty trails with sweat running off ones brow.  This at ten in the morning.  Better yet the day be cool, the woods damp.  Better for walking, and hunting.

While the changing of the season is welcomed, its abruptness is startling.  One day its shirtsleeves, the next its fleece, a windbreaker, gloves and a hat.  Just for spite the day has enough bite to leave one wishing for even more clothing.  So it was yesterday.

We went for an afternoon walk with one of the dogs. I had hopes that the sun would eventually shine and w…