Thursday, October 13, 2016

Pennsylvania Limit

Pennsylvania's daily limit on grouse is two per birds.  Wisconsin's is a much more liberal five, which in my 25 years of hunting these birds has been a rare occurence.  I'd be fine if the DNR cut the daily limit to three, the limit of birds I grew up with pheasant hunting in Iowa.  Now pheasants are not grouse, but you can understand how my mind equates the two.  On days when I get three grouse, I have an ingrained reluctance to pursue that fourth and fifth bird.  The Iowa limit of three seems just fine to me.  I have gone after that fourth and fifth bird, something I did much more often as a younger grouse hunter, but not so much these days. The number of birds I shoot doesn't seem as important as when I was a zealous younger hunter.

What struck me about these two birds is the size and color difference.  I have been shooting mostly juvenile birds this season, which bodes well for upcoming seasons.  This hunt, however, I shot a huge, what I call, cinnamon bird.  It's a brown-phased bird, but has lighter cinnamon tints, particularly on the ruff. The tail band is also a much lighter brown.  An altogether beautiful bird.  I saved the fan as well as some ruff feathers.             

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Beginning to Look a Lot Like October 

With a bit of frost this morning and high temps around 50, today felt like the first day of fall.  We didn't have to worry about Fergus overheating or running out of water before we finished a loop.

We ran into a fair number of woodcock, so many that Susan decided to get out the camera.  It seemed like every time we got on a grouse there was a woodcock distraction, although I'd say woodcock are a nice distraction.

Even though it was the Wisconsin youth deer hunt weekend, we didn't run into any kids toting rifles. We did run into a couple of other hunting parties, though, out enjoying the October weather.  No one enjoyed it more than Fergus, however.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Getting the Shot

It's been pretty tough getting shots this season so far -- both with a shotgun and a camera.  Seems to be good numbers of birds in northern Wisconsin, grouse and woodcock, but I've been mostly hearing them rather than seeing them.  I did get one good look at a grouse last week that flushed simultaneously with a woodcock.  It crossed right to left in front of me in fairly open woods after it flushed out of a mix of popple and hazelnut.  I saw it so well I could see the mottled breast feathers as the bird banked in front of me.  Most of the birds, however, are disappearing into what Susan calls the Green Curtain.

Camera work is also difficult this time of year with all of the brush between the dog and the lens. Many shots seem like nothing but a green blur.  I couldn't help myself a few days ago when Jenkins locked up on a chipmunk in our front yard.  I ran in the house, grabbed the camera and snapped a few shots. Looks sort of like a classic New England shot in an old abandoned apple orchard -- but I know there's a rodent on the other end of this point.

The good news is a few leaves are starting to spin off the trees.  Things will open up out there shortly. A little frost, a little wind, and the trees will be stripped bare.