Grouse Season Is Open!
Grouse season in the Adirondacks is off to a good start. On Saturday (9/22) I flushed a total of six birds in 7 hours. This is not a bad statistic relative to my other hunts and is all the more pleasing since I was hunting by myself without a dog. The day started off warm and very windy. The wind made for tough hunting due to the noise of leaves blowing and trees creaking. I frequently had to stop and wait for the stronger gusts to subside before walking on. I flushed the first bird around 9:30 and was able to take a shot. Sadly, a tree got in the way and absorbed most of my pattern. I followed up on it but did not flush it again. I flushed two more birds in quick succession around 10:15. The first flew high, fast and far. I made a modest attempt to find it but with the wind as strong as it was I concluded my chances were minimal. The next bird stayed low to the ground and only flew a short distance. I carefully stalked up on the last spot I saw it and after some patient scanning I spotted it walking slowly away. A single blast of 16 gauge #6s from the full choke barrel anchored him clean.
The afternoon hunt was not nearly as windy but a gentle, steady rain made things slightly less pleasant. I flushed one bird in an area I hunted in the morning but it was some distance off and I never saw it. I tried a different location that had proved fruitful in the past but no such luck this time. Moving on I flushed a pair from a swampy depression on a hill top but didn’t manage to get a shot off at either.
Sunday morning was pleasant weather-wise with little wind and air temperatures in the 50s. It made for comfortable hunting but I did not see or hear a single grouse. No matter, there is still plenty of time left!