Monday, September 18, 2017

MORE DUSKY (BLUE) GROUSE HUNTING

Chief, working it.

We had a shift in the weather last week and had a day of heavy rain and a 20 degree temperature drop. I welcome it, it finally feels like fall. I was worried that we would get too much rain or snow in my favorite hunting spots which would cause the birds to migrate higher into the thick pines. However when I was able to get out last weekend I was glad to see the birds were sticking to the mountain valleys where I like to hunt them.

It had rained most of the day before so I slept in a little to let things settle a little before I started hunting. I arrived at my spot about 8:30 am. The sun was just about to peer over the mountain and start drying things out. I was very happy I remembered to bring my upland chaps. They saved the day as I was wading through sopping wet knee to thigh-high grass and brush most of the morning. I would of been soaked from the wast down without them. When conditions call for them they are worth their weight in gold.

We started the morning working down into a wide valley with young aspens on the right and thick berry bushes and oak brush to the left. We went right and within 10 minutes Chief kicked some birds out from above me. One landed just ahead of where we were heading and we were able to get it up again and I scratched it down. I noticed my shell didn’t eject from my old Franchi AL48 and realized I hadn’t done my pre-hunt cleaning that this old gun requires. I was hoping it was just the cold temperatures causing the misfeed. 

Soon after Hazel pointed a single and I promptly missed with my first shot and again my gun didn’t eject the spent shell.  “Oh well”, it looks like I’m packing a single shot for the day. 

The day went like that most of the morning. The action was consistent and the shooting was consistently poor. I did mange to limit out and the dogs did awesome. It was an even split. Hazel found 2 and Chief found 2. Hazel retrieved them all in splendid fashion. Chief doesn’t like picking up the blue grouse. Too many feathers for his liking. He will bring them part way until he can’t stand it any more then drops it. Hazel is happy to clean up after him though.

Hazel busting Chief's point. To her credit Chief stole her point first. :)

It was a good day and I was able to figure out the issue with my gun so it’s all good. Looking forward to trying out some new spots and seeing if the birds did as well there as the spots we've been. It's a good time to be a grouse hunter in Utah.

Hazel doing the heavy lifting.



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

UTAH GROUSE HUNT 2017 CONTINUES

Shawn with his limit of Dusky Grouse

I've been out a couple times this season and have really enjoyed getting after these birds and watching the dogs work. My shooting has been terrible and I've muffed a couple really nice opportunities. No worries it's early in the season and were just out having fun and working ourselves back into hunting shape. 

Again, Bird populations look good in the areas we've been. We've seen several family groups each time we go out. Fortunately for the birds we haven't been able to do much damage to them.

Chief my Llewellin had some great points last weekend and Hazel the Pudelpointer did great for a nearly 10 year old dog. I was a little slow and my shooting was less than par but that will improve.
I've been using my 28 gauge side x side and the shots have been longer than I'd usually like. But,
I have missed a few gimmes. All in all its been good and I'm looking forward to getting out again.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

OPENING WEEKEND / UTAH GROUSE HUNT 2017

My first bird of the 2017 fall season.

The 2017 early upland hunting season is here. Although I feel it is too early in the year and too hot, sticky and bug filled with the current summer weather to be out in the mountains chasing grouse. I I must say I thoroughly enjoyed getting out and doing what I love most. It was exciting packing up the truck, charging the collars, deciding what gun to take and the expectation of walking into a familiar cover with hopeful thoughts of getting into some birds.

To me grouse hunting is the most care-free of all the hunts. I’m not expecting much from myself,
the dogs, the weather or the birds so I usually end up pretty happy with whatever happens. That’s probably a good thing because the shooting, the dog work and the my ability to hike for very long in the hot weather wasn’t very awesome. There is plenty of room for improvement.

My brother and I got up early to beat the heat and went to one of our favorite spots. It prooved to be productive and the grouse numbers in that area look good. We saw quite a few birds, however, the conditions were rather poor. We had 80+ degree tempetures by 9:30 am and there was practically little to no breeze all morning. The vegetation is still growing and blooming. That coupled with the heat is a lot to ask for a dog. to find birds in those conditions can be tough. However for the first time out without a whole lot of off season work I feel they did pretty good.  I’m hoping a cold front will rumble through our state and cool things down and get fall started. With my dogs, cooler weather helps qutie a bit.



Shawn with the first bird of the day.

I can’t wait to get out again. I’m already plotting and coniving ways to get out of work and get my self back up into these mountains. My dogs are the happiest and most content I’ve seen them in months. Funny, I think I am to.