Saturday, January 18, 2014

The End of Season is Drawing Near

With one week left in the late grouse season and bitter cold weather in the forecast my grouse hunting just may be over for the year. I didn't fire a shot at a grouse this year due to several factors, the plummeting grouse numbers in my southcentral Pa coverts, my Emma who I haven't been able to provide with enough grouse contacts to let her develop into a grouse dog, and old age who is  making the ridges steeper, the leaves and loose rock slipperier, and the logs just a little higher to step across. But I don't want to sound negative for I enjoyed every moment spent afield with Emma so here are some pics of my latest wanderings.

I hunted along the side of Ragged Mountain last week through blackberry canes and downed trees hoping to find a grouse but with no success.

Thursday I tried some new cover on Sidling Hill Mountain. The first cover didn't look too promising but the second one along Ross Trail showed some promise. A couple of pics of some American Chestnut saplings, one showing sign of the blight that destroyed the mighty trees and one of some nice looking saplings too young yet to get the blight.

Some live long enough to bear nuts for a few years before the succumb to the blight.
I walked into a grouse in this cover and will be returning to wander through again.

Friday I traveled north to my Church Hill Covert. It's an old strip mine with birch, spruce and patches of aspen reclaiming the torn up landscape.

It has a steep ridge that is covered with grapevines & multiflora rose. Emma and I hunted it hard but couldn't find any birds there.

On top of the ridge is a thin clearcut grown back mostly in blackberry canes and striped maple. We made a last push through this cover as we headed back for the truck.  Just before the cover gave way to open fields Emma when on point. As I hurried toward her I saw her relocate and go on point again and guessed that it was a rabbit, for a grouse would never have sit still for that. Suddenly  I drew within gun range a grouse flushed low and away with no chance for a shot, but a smile spread across my face as I congratulated Emma on a job well done.
Back at the truck I tell Emma what a good girl she is and just how much I love her.


Ed said...

Ya got to cherish them moments!

Flyfisherman. Richard. said...

I have an Emma too, but her name is Daisy May.