Sunday, January 29, 2012

Last Day Wanderings

My mind wandered from one covert to another as I tried to decide where to spend the last day of the season. Although I was leaning toward several coverts which had produced birds for me earlier in the year I finally decided on my McKee's Gap South covert. I hadn't hunted there yet this year and although it is growing out of the thick stem density that grouse thrive in this covert holds alot of good memories for years past. Because of the solid performance she had given my this year Copper got the nod today.There's still some thick cover on the steep mountainside, mostly greenbrier tangles. As Copper worked the cover above the log road I was walking on a grouse flushed just below and behind me making me flinch and jerk around to watch it's black banded red fantail disappear down the mountainside. I had to smile to myself that after years of hunting these incredible birds I still had that involuntary reaction to their sudden thunderous flush.

Later Copper locked into a solid point along the log road. She held as I walked in with heart pounding, but it proved to be any empty point.

Copper and I taking a break, with us both remembering that we're not as young as we once were.

Not as good of a picture as I had hoped for, but here's a spring bubbling out of the mountain side.

and the stream it gave life to.

As always I kept my eye open for the unusual. I spotted this old bone lying on a stump.

A closer look revealed the animal gnawing on it as they seeked the minerals it held.

Our hunt ended without any more grouse contacts, but it was still good to know that this grand cover still held at least one grouse and no doubt a few more to hopefully breed on for next season.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hook's Mountain Hunt

Took Copper for a hunt on Hook's Mountain. I haven't hunted this cover for 3 or 4 years. This pics may not look it but it's a steep climb up the skidder road to the top. As I started up the grade two grouse flushed wild off to my left and headed up the hollow. I took it as a good sign and made the walk up a little easier.

Half way up with the top in sight.

Copper was just happy to be out and about.

On top the cover is a mix of black birch and treetops. Not my thickest cover but it always seems to hold some birds.

Copper hunted her heart out but we couldn't find the two birds that had flown up the hollow at the start of the hunt.

Elin the back-action hammergun. Her small rounded action makes her a joy to carry in the coverts.

Hercules club or the Devils walking stick are but two of many names for this small thorny tree. It's common in many of my coverts and a very good reason to wear gloves. It's black berrys that ripen in the fall are favorites of the bear that roam these mountains.

As I wander I'm always looking for the little things that go unnoticed by many hunters.

So ended the hunt. Although we didn't to pull any hammers back today it was still nice to walk an old covert, like seeing an old friend again.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Catchin' Up

Went on a couple of hunts last week. On Thurs. Emma and I hunted some cover near Lake Raystown. With a skiff of snow on the ground Emma was ready to roll. Sadly this cover proved to be barren of grouse.We then headed north to hunt some new coverts. Thick in laurel and saplings. The cover looked nice but we again drew a blank.

A quick snow squall put a coating of snow on Elins tubes.

A distant porky was all we spotted this day.

After spending Fri. resting my back and knee, Copper and I headed southeast to my coverts close the Mason-Dixon line. A huge clearcut that the game commission had enclosed in deer-proof fence was now taken down and I planned to hunt the edge of this thick cover.

Copper continued to shine this season with two points but in cover like this all I could do was listen and hear the grouse flush as I fought my way through cover like this to get to her.

This cover consisted of some lung-bursting ridges. Here's Copper racing up to the cover on top.

In this predominately dry cover, a drink of water sure hit the spot.