It has snowed pretty steadily lately – starting to get deep. That makes for an arduous hike but I couldn’t pass up the warm forecast – it was expected to be in the mid 20s today – and was actually 27 deg when I got to the field.
After an hour or so of walking grasses and trees and wood lines, I finally flushed a beautiful ruffed grouse from overhead in a tree. I only had time for a single shot before he dove behind some thick spruce trees. I missed but I thought I saw where he went so I made the biggest mistake of the day – I went in after him into some very thick woods. I did not find the grouse but I did find myself turned around. It took me nearly 30 minutes to find my way back to where I started. That detour really sapped out my remaining energy – I was ready to sit down -- but I still had a good 3 miles back to the truck. I doffed my hat and gloves and opened up my fleece sweater but I was still sweating like a pig and my legs were on fire. It was only 3 o’clock but the sun was already setting so I had no time to rest – I kept walking.
On my way back, I saw what I thought was the silhouette of a grouse on the top of a snow covered berry patch – he was maybe 75 yards away. As tired as I was, I tried to talk myself out of it – but I could not pass it up. I went in after him and I missed my first couple of shots after the flush– but folded him up with my third. It was a nice fat sharp-tail grouse.
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I managed to finish out the last mile as my legs went just about numb. I was very relieved to get my chaps and boots off and just finally sit down in the truck. I think I put in about 8 miles or so – tough workout but a good bird taken. It was a good day.
Hope all are well and looking forward to a nice Thanksgiving.