Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Squatter's Cover

A pulled muscle in my back kept me out of my coverts for several days, but feeling a little better I headed for the hugh, briery, steep Squatter's cover.
This cover has years ahead of it before it matures out of being good grouse cover.The basic for the name. The local forester told me a man had to be removed by the state police from this "house" on recently acquired state game lands.

Emma working along a small spring seep. We moved 2 grouse with no points today in about 2 hours before a cold drizzle drove us to the truck.

Looking tired, wet and torn from the briers, Emma will be raring to go tomorrow and so will I..

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My last two trips afield have been as quiet as my first. Last Friday Emma and I hunted the Oregon Rd covers. Nice looking cover void of birds.

Perhaps the work of a bored logger making a nice chair for deer season???
Their teasing us :(.

Monday we headed due south close to the Mason-Dixon line to hunt some clearcuts that had the deer fences recently removed.

Not even any tracks here.

Swung by an old cemetery that I hadn't visited for a few years. Most of the stones are fading fast with many just small markers perhaps of infants.

Nancy Collins lived a remarkably long life in these unforgiving ridges.

At first I thought fox tracks but the way they traveled over quite a number of fallen logs made me think that they may have been made by a fisher, whose numbers are growing quickly in my area. Just what the grouse need another predator.

Why a bear would be out roaming around now I don't know , but they were just hours old. That's Emma's track on the right.

Emma and I are heading out again today, hoping that Diana the hunting goddess will eventually smile upon us.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Cold Quiet Day

Emma and I entered one of my southeastern covers around 10:00 with the temp hovering at 21 degrees. Many of the clearcuts on state forest land are surrounded by an 8 foot tall fence to keep the deer out while the young saplings have a chance to grow. The fence had recently been taken down around this cut and we hunted the edge following a trail that encircled the cut with Emma hunting in the thick saplings with occasional circles through laurel thickets and downed logs scattered in the open woods. One log begged to be a backdrop for an Elin photo. About an hour later we were back at the truck without seeing or hearing any sign of a grouse.We traveled down the forest road to another more mature cut where several springs ago my nephew and I had moved 6 grouse on a training run. An old stone wall along the lower edge of the cut made a nice trail to follow.

Emma stopping in to offer encouragement before continuing her quest.

Suddenly there they were. Sign that we were not alone on this mountainside.

The tracks led up into this tangle of rock and saplings and although we hunted with renewed vigor the bird had vanished.

A snow squall swept in as we struggled back up the mountain toward the truck. Soon Elin's barrels were covered with a coating of snow and I wondered how many times in the last 97 years in her native Swedish covers she had been carried through weather just like this and I had to smile at myself for having such thoughts as my mind wandered just as my feet wandered slowly back to the warmth of the truck.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Like a thirst that couldn't be quenched I just "had to have" a top-lever Husqvarna shotgun. One day a tip from an internet "friend" steered me to Gunbroker and "Elin". She's a Model 51 Husky built in 1913 with steel barrels. The top-lever, back action hammer design makes her a joy to carry and shoot. Her barrels have already been to Mike Orlen's and been opened to .003 & .010 making her my late-season grouse gun, at least that's the reason I used to talk myself into getting her :).

The 1/2 inch hard rubber pad that brings her lop to my liking.

The Greener cross-bolt locking system.

Hattie says "you did good Dad".

The snows of the last week will keep me out of my grouse filled northern coverts so I'll be carrying her tomorrow into my southeastern coverts that I haven't hunted yet this year but hopefully will hold a grouse or two for me and Emma and Elin.