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Saturday, September 7, 2013

FOWL WEATHER - RUFFED GROUSE HUNTING

The season is here...and my most favorite!  College football, the start of bird season, the crisp morning air, and change of color in the hills.  What more could you want?

Oregon offers some of the best upland bird hunting on the west coast.  The upland species include:  blue grouse, sage-grouse, pheasants, chukar, valley and mountain quail, Hungarian partridge, wild turkey, and ruffed grouse.  Last weekend marked the opening of bird season.  One of our favorite birds to hunt, and one of the tastiest game birds to eat, is the ruffed grouse.  Also known as "bird of the edge", these elusive birds are not always easy to find.  Their habitats include edge of meadows and clear cuts, and  wooded forest areas where they can feed on berries and various seeds and grasses.  Since they are typically a challenge to find, like a fisherman, a grouse hunter is often cautious about revealing their secret locations!



Laying on the gun case, 
Kate made it clear that leaving her 
behind for this trip was not an option.

Elsie's first hunt at five months old.  
Overwhelmed with what was going on, she soon figured out after getting the first grouse, she was going to like this new lifestyle.


Kate and Elsie on the the trail in search of ruffed grouse.


Super proud of my little hunters for
getting their first grouse of the season.


A happy girl with some of the grouse we got for the day.


Although our dogs are still very, very young, both the dogs and us shared a special moment and marked the beginning of a very special bond.  Before I met my husband, I had never bird hunted.  Hunting with a bird dog is a very rewarding experience.  It's not at all about the hunt.  It's about the time and effort that you've invested into the dog; the hours of training and molding them into what they were bred to do.  It's the sweet smell of the forest and the feel of the shotgun in your hands.  It's the intense anticipation of that one second when the birds burst out of the ground at your feet.  But perhaps the most rewarding moment of all, is to see the smile on your dogs' face and the wag in their tail when they bring you the downed bird and look up at you as if to say, "Did I do it right?", "Can I do it again?"  You know then, life is good.


After you find your game birds, it is best to dress them almost immediately.  Here is an efficient (and lawful) way to dress your bird:
http://treadoutdoors.blogspot.com/2012/11/flipping-bird-how-to-clean-your-game.html 


"Now then, please take your gear, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me;"  --Genesis 27:3


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