Thanksgiving Grouse??

Thanksgiving morning found myself, Rudy and Monty in pursuit of our feathered friends prior to the afternoon’s bonanza of eating, with Greta sitting it out and letting the “boys” do the work. While it was very cold when we started (15 degrees), there was some sun, very little snow on the ground, and no wind, making it actually pretty enjoyable out there, especially once the circulation returned to my fingers (it took an hour for that to happen). I thought there were enough shells in my vest before starting, but this turned out not to be the case!

We started contacting tight sitting grouse almost immediately, the first of which must have flushed no more than ten feet from me - no, I wasn’t quite ready yet, so he still flies today. The second bird however, made the crucial mistake of flying in to my shot pattern, and a few moments later Monty had his second retrieve of a grouse. He seems to be a natural at it, so I’ll keep trying to hold up my end of the bargain on this. We plodded on after a photo opportunity, but the frozen woods were tremendously noisy, resulting in a distantly flushing grouse a few moments later.

As it slowly warmed up yesterday morning, we began hitting areas where the sun had penetrated to soften the woods a bit, but we always headed in to areas where there were large and small conifers. In short, we moved five more grouse in areas just like this, with me frequently letting fly a volley of shot.
Once again, I don’t shoot grouse, I merely shoot in their direction. Needless to say, the shell pouch was getting lighter by the minute! The dogs worked well, and were frequently birdy, but it was probably too cold and still for the great scenting conditions we have when they’re locked up all the time.

By the end of the morning, the unlikely had happened - no more shells. As would be the case, on the walk back to the truck we pushed three more birds, the last of which flew a couple of feet over my head, right down the trail. Oh well, at least we know where they are ...