Saturday, December 27, 2014

More Late Season Adventures

My last several trips afield have been disappointing. Emma and I tried a new area high up on Snake Spring Mountain. It contained several of clear cuts.

And a nice scattering of pines, crabapple, hawthorn, acorn and barberry.

The seeming perfect blend of food and cover didn't help as Emma and I left the mountain without moving a single bird.
The next day Thicket and I wandered through the clear cut that borders the Back40. Although Thicket did a good job of hunting the cover we ended another hunt birdless.

Back at the truck she posed for pics.

                                                        She got bored while I tried to take a "selfie".
Yesterday in an attempt to change our luck Emma and I headed north to try some new coverts.
It worked.
We hunted a ridge that borders the Brady covert. It had been timbered with a select cut over this summer and large tree tops lay randomly with the dried leaves still clinging to the branches making for nice cover.

We had 2 wild flushes in the first 1/2 hour. Then we swung through some heavy 2nd growth cover without any luck and made another pass along the lower side of the ridge. Emma pointed a grouse in a tree top but she relocated before I could get close and the grouse flushed without a shot. A short while later she pointed again and the bird held till I got there. It proved to be a tough shot through the tree top and although I threw both barrels at it this bird too escaped unharmed. We made it back to the truck without any more contacts but I was very happy with 4 birds moved in 2 hours and Emma finally holding a point long enough for me to get a shot.
We drove about 1/2 mile to another site where they had timbered in the same fashion a couple of years ago. I hunted out a gas well road that ran along the top of a ridge while Emma worked the sides.  At a large clearing where the loggers had loaded the timber on to their trucks Emma when on point at the edge of a large brierpatch.
No self-respecting grouse would be caught in cover this open, but I've doubted my dogs too often and ended up with "egg on my face" not to walk in ready for a flush. As I kicked my way through the briers expecting a rabbit to run out a hen pheasant took to the air. Their legal game in this part of Pa and the season is in so I dropped the right hammer on The Twigg and a load of 7/8 ozs of # 8 shot proved enough to drop the bird like a stone. I'm breaking in a new pair of goatskin hunting gloves and I fumbled with the camera and missed video taping the retrieve so here's some pics of bird and gun.

The road led down into the hollow so I turned and started toward the truck through nice looking cover.

Soon after entering the cover I heard Emma's beeper sound once followed by a flush of a grouse. Half way up the hollow I heard Emma's beeper again and hurried toward her. I found her in a clearing pointing toward a tree top on her right. I changed my route and swung around a pine tree to put the bird between Emma and myself. As I moved in I saw Emma slowly turn her head to her right and freeze. I was too far along on my new route to doubleback so I pressed on through the brush and angled more Emma's direction. Suddenly a grouse flushed off to her right. I emptied both barrels at it but it flew on unscathed. Looking back if I had stayed on my original path I would have had a nice shot at the bird, but that's the way it sometimes goes when you pursue the wily grouse.
We made it back to the truck with no more bird contacts, although I did see a nice 8 point buck jump up from a tree top and trot stiff legged up the ridge stopping once to look back to see just what had interrupted his nap.
We finished up the day with 6 grouse and 1 pheasant moved in 3 hours. Emma had given me chances at birds over 3 lovely points and I had connected on one.
To my way of thinking it had been a Grand Day.

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