Today was a day for the devout grouser. Snow this morning in the high country made traveling sketchy, if not downright treacherous, as the mountain roads were curvy, steep and with poor traction. I was, however, determined to get after Ruff and braved it in 4WD low.
There were no deer hunters in the woods and visibility was great with the snow cover so I ran Elk sans bell, Lovetts beeper only, set to eight second point-only hawk scream. A few minutes into our first covert we moved one jumpy tree bird that got out high and way ahead of Elk and me. We moved birds in some very surprising places which caught me unaware. In our second covert, three birds went out within twenty yards of my truck--the funny thing was that it was from a stonewall/treeline practically in the open save some sparse shrubs. About ten minutes later, higher in our climb, I realized that we were about to cross into posted private land ( I have never been able to enjoy hunting somewhere I am not supposed to be). I whistled Elk back but I missed that he was working just on the legal side of the fence and had paused to indicate game, looking to me in a soft pointing stance, paw up, tail moving slowly. By the time it registered it was too late--Ruff blasted out behind the thick screen of brush, the only thing raised being my heart rate.
As I climbed higher the wind seemed stronger and colder. I earned every foot of elevation, and gave a third of it back as soon as it was gained. I spent most of the hunt walking across hill faces and on the sides of my shoes to slow descent. My thumb was frozen. I crossed a windswept meadow and a hundred yards ahead observed the black ninja on point a few yards inside the sparse treeline facing downhill. I tried to get above him and around for a shot but as I slipped and slid a pair of birds busted out together low and hard, looking black in the shadow of the mountain. No shot.
Missed a high, jetting bird and continued. Wind at my back I passed through a break in a wall and as I did ruff exploded from his hide to my left and tumbled at the shot
#rgs #coveyrise #fieldsport #sportingart #ruffedgrousesociety #gspoftheday #orvis