Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Graham Covert

Emma and I headed north to the Graham Covert on Wednesday.  It's located in a huge tract of land recently purchased by the Pa. Game Commission. Much of it is reclaimed strip mines with benches  and dirt roads leading to gas wells to hunt along, making for some easy hunting, unless Emma finds a bird on the next bench down which can result in having to slide down a near vertical bank on your butt.




 
With Emma knowing the covert she was running big as we began the hunt. I was walking along an old road "playing" with the new Tek 1.0 tracking collar noting that she was 172 yards out in front when I noticed an especially nice looking tangle of grapevines just off the road down a short steep bank. Usually I would have called Emma in and have her hunt a piece of cover that looked that good, but knowing that she was that far out I decided, on a whim, to check it out myself. This was out of character for me because some years ago I had made the decision to shot only pointed birds and had been letting birds that I had walked up fly away without trying a shot, but this piece of cover  whispered "grouse here" to me and I couldn't resist. As I slid down the bank a grouse flushed from the tangle, just as I thought it would. When my feet reached level ground I laid a thumb on the right hammer and stepped closer and suddenly another grouse erupted from the cover. Call it purely instinctive shooting or dumb luck but I pulled the hammer back as Colette the little 16 ga. Belgium hammergun leapt to my shoulder. A millisecond after pulling the front trigger the 7/8 oz. load of #8's caught up to the bird and I watched it tumble to the ground.  I stood there one part of me feeling regret for shooting a walked up grouse but another part of me feeling proud for making a fine shot.
 



I called Emma in and let her make the retrieve.
video
 
Although we hunted for several more hours these two birds were all that we could find in this lovely cover.

5 comments:

Ed said...

I'll bet you never thought she was running that far did ya. them tracker collars are good for us old hunters with bad hearing ...but they do take a little away from the hunt...to many gadgets...but I use them all the time...!
Congrats on the Ruff...!
Eating well this evening!

Greyphase said...

Thanks Ed. Your right about too many gadgets but if they let me keep hunting as I grow older I'll just have to learn to use them.

David said...

Some nice looking habitat there, reminds me of a few pieces up here. Wonderful dog work as well! Sure wish old Cedar would retrieve one here or there for the old man.

Are you keeping logs of your hours/flush by chance? If so, would love to compare notes at seasons end.

Greyphase said...

David

Have been keeping a log this year. I've mostly targeted woodcock in the first season and although most of my woodcock coverts look as though they could hold some grouse they usually don't. If the weather cooperates I'll be going after the grouse in the 2nd season so we can compare notes come Feb.

I'm blessed with a good retriever in Emma, and am hoping Thicket will become one too.

Ed said...

Took my LC for a walk Saturday
Quig was not happy that I left without him...anyway caught a grouse budding in a tree...he flushed way to soon for a decent shot....got one more flush from him then he had enough....