I took the pups out for a hike/hunt yesterday afternoon to wrap up the grouse season. 35 degrees and sunny made for perfect walking conditions (as long as I stuck to the trail). As far as hunting goes, the lumpy, thick, heavy snow in the thickets made it almost impossible to get off the trail. Therefore, we didn't flush any ruffed grouse. I saw a little group of spruce grouse in the trail and tried to sneak up to take a picture, but my over-eager Labrador chased them away before I could get close enough for a good shot.
On the way back, I spotted another spruce grouse at the same place in the trail. Since we never found any ruffs and since the next bird hunt was going to be a few months away, I didn't use my camera for the shot that followed. I guess he will taste like spruce tips, but Katy (sort of) had fun retrieving him.
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Thanks for all the help and good stories this winter.