I went out yesterday (Sept. 1st) after work to an area I hadn't been to before. It really looked like great grouse country but we didn't see a thing.
There was plenty of cover, snow berries, rose hips, huckle berries, etc, so I know there was plenty of feed for them, and a water source in the draw we hunted, but... we never saw a thing. Uli was being kinda slow and sluggish, and I thought for sure he was just being lazy, but after this morning I think he was just too hot and that was slowing him down.
So, this morning we went out to a place that we went riding our four wheelers on Wednesday after work. On the way out that evening we saw five ruffed grouse all in one spot together so I figured I'd give it a try up there and hope that I wouldn't run into a bunch of people riding their four wheelers since it's Labor Day weekend.
I got to the trailhead and there was a truck and camp trailer there - I thought "Oh great." but no one was stirring about and their four wheeler was still parked there, so we unloaded and headed up. It was nice and cool, about 45 degrees, and the creek provided plenty of fresh water for Uli whenever he wanted it. He was full of energy - nothing like the night before.
He stopped once on the trail and locked up hard with a beautiful point. Man he looked awesome! I was so excited that I forgot to take the camera out and snap a shot. Crap! No bird that time, just a false point, but it sure was pretty.
We eventually came to a spot where I didn't want to wade the creek and so we stayed next to the mountain side and worked our way through the brush. The first bird Uli went past, I'm guessing it was coming down the hill and so he didn't cross it's scent and didn't see it either, but his movement spooked the bird enough for me to see him and so I took him.
Here is Uli packing him (after some encouragement):
Here he is sitting with the bird down in front of him:
After some more hiking I decided to head back down. We had started at about 8:30 and we had gotten the first bird about 9:45, it was then about 10:30 when we started back down the mountain.
On the way back I noticed him getting really birdie and was watching him follow some scent and thats when we got the second bird. About five minutes after that three four-wheelers came up the trail, and about five minutes after that an older guy came up on one as well, with a bow slung across his back. He had been up there looking for elk but hadn't been successful. Nice guy. We talked for 15 or 20 minutes and then headed out.
Here's another of Uli and I back at the house:
Had a good time. Not too bad for the second day of the season.
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