Friday, December 30, 2016
Thicket and I hunted the Frugality covert this week. Surrounded by a deer fence erected by the Pa Game Commission, it had been partially clear cut 10+ years ago and this summer the rest of the trees were removed.
It has a nice amount of aspen with maple, locust, and sumac scattered through it, and also some grapevines and greenbrier.
Thicket had one point about 80 yards away. I fought my way through the saplings, but as I drew near her beeper went silent and I found her hunting furiously in circles. Although I didn't see or hear a flush I have to believe she had a grouse pointed, but it flushed as I approached her. Here she is cooling off in a mud puddle as the day warmed up.
We tried two more covers, the first one was past its prime growing back mostly in Black Birch and the second was an old logging road running along some pine and apple tree cover. Neither spot held any birds so we called it a day.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
A combination of various aches and pains and icy mountain roads have kept me out of my grouse coverts this second season. I finally ventured out last week with Thicket to two of my southern coverts. We tried the clear cut along the Heifer Lick trail but had no luck.
We then moved a couple of miles to Bennett Ridge a small covert with a mix of hawthorn and aspen. Although Thicket hunted hard we didn't find any birds here either.
Yesterday Emma and I headed north in the hope that we could find some ice free roads to reach a few of our coverts. The road leading to the Gorman covert was a thick sheet of ice, but we were able to get to the Yoder covert. A thick fog and high wind had for a rough hunt. We tried the steep ridge with its tree top cover. Emma had one empty point that got my heart pounding but the bird must have flushed before I reached her.
We hunted over the top of the ridge and dropped down onto a gas well road.
Suddenly Emma's beeper sounded off on the ridge above me. I found her pointing into a downed pine and as I approached a grouse flushed giving me an open shot. I threw both loads of 7 1/2 shot at it but it winged away unharmed. I felt the wave of disappointment as you watch a bird fly away that you should have gotten, but I also felt the pride of the fine work that Emma had done, finding the bird and holding the point until I arrived. It proved to be the only bird we found today as we returned to the truck cold, wet, tired but satisfied that although my gamebag was empty we had tried our best and this day the bird had won.