Friday, November 19, 2010

Never Lost....Sometimes Confused

After several days with Emma still bumping grouse I decided to take Hattie and hunt my northern most covers, mostly ageing strip mines. The first cover produced 5 grouse with Hattie pointing 2. The first point was in a small tangle of grapevine. Although I approached "ready for the bird" he had his escape route well planned and stayed low to the ground and was over a small rise before I could shoot. The other grouse she found was in some mature pines. I saw her slowly creeping forward, a sign to me that the grouse was running. I was walking along a gaswell road and Hattie was working parallel to the road so I hasten my step in the hopes that the bird may just flush across the road. Seconds later I saw but never heard the bird crossing the road. The little Leige double leapt to my shoulder and I fired two shots as the bird disappeared into the pines on the other side of the road. We searched thoroughly but my shots had missed their mark and that bird was safe for another day.
We then moved to another cover consisting of several stripmine benches and gaswell roads running parallel with each other. Nice looking cover of aspen and pine but we found nothing. At the end of the cover I swung around and started back to the truck keeping a gaswell road to my right with (I thought) another one still above me on my left. By now a fog had moved in and it was misting a light rain. The cover turned nasty with lots of fallen pines and open patches of thick blackberry briers. In this cover I heard 3 grouse flush in front of us with no points. At this point in the story I should mention that I had bought a Bushnell BackTrack before season and had used it several times to find my was back to the truck. It's a simple device to use and it had proved to be reliable. The problem on this hunt was that I had neglected to set it at the truck so it wasn't going to lead me back to the truck, which was no big deal (I thought) because of the gaswell roads all leading back to the road that I was parked on. As I waded through the briers and downed trees I kept angling to my left to hit the gaswell road that I thought should be just above me. I struggled on now knowing that I had "misplaced" that gaswell road. I still felt I was moving in the right direction to come out on the road that I had parked on so I kept moving in that direction. Finally I came out on a paved road with orange pylons sitting down the middle of it. Then I realized that I had missed the dirt road that I was parked on and had come out on the road that I had turned off of to get to the cover. So Hattie and I had about a 1/2 mile walk back to the truck. When I had crossed the gaswell road it had been the last one and I had wander basically in the right direction but not directly back to the truck. The lesson here is of course to always set the BackTrack before leaving the truck no matter how simple the cover is. Now this cover has a name "The Lost Benches" cover.

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