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Showing posts with the label sharp-tailed grouse

All Together Now....

Mid-October on the prairie. Clouds and sky make a perfect backdrop.
This year, the birds, like steelhead, were scarce, but not nonexistent.
Here, the girls take a break.  Note the attentiveness (of the dogs). 
No food bribery involved.

Wild Ones

Anyone who takes up bird hunting believing that it's easier and more productive that hunting big game must be supremely mistaken.  Let me tell you, there might have been a time, many decades ago when that was the case. Here in Montana, big game has always been king. Birds? Well, they were an after thought for most folks.  Almost no one hunted them deliberately. Nowadays, there are quite a few avid bird hunters, both in staters and out.  Many have great dogs and hunt hard.  As for the birds, any that survive the opening day "baptism by fire"  dummy up quickly.  After a few weeks of pressure they get wild as hell.  Just getting within gun range is a major accomplishment.
Take for example our recent sojourn for sharp-tailed grouse.  We spent two days covering a lot of country on foot, trying to locate birds and get within shooting range.  When we eventually found some, they invariably flushed a hundred or more yards  out.  Often, they flushed nowhere near the dogs.  Whethe…

Sharptail Country

September heralds the beginning the best time of the year for the hunter and fisherman.  It is also the beginning of the serious road trip season.  Last week Jo and I loaded up the truck along with her three Brittany pups (aka the Twisted Sisters - Addie, Emma and Maggie).  With trailer in tow, we embarked on a road trip in search of birds on the Montana prairie.

Every trip is an adventure, the results never assured.  Many questions.  Anticipation.

Will there be birds?  Snakes?  How will the dogs do?  The shooter?  Will I get any decent photos?

The first day as Jeff Foxworthy would say was pandelerium.  It seems that it takes a day for the dogs, shooter and photographer to get the kinks out.  By the second day we were better coordinated.  The birds were smarter too.  

Conditions dictated that we be out at dawn.  It was hot and dry with temperatures pushing ninety degrees.  Hydration is always an issue.  Three dogs drink a lot of water, as do two humans.  Fortunately we saw no snakes…