Camp started out on a bit of a low note; BK had made plans for his father to join us for the week. It would have been not only his first grouse camp, but his first grouse hunt, and first days in the uplands. It wasn't to be. An unfortunate, and impossible to live down error in vacation planning had BK and I driving to camp while BK's father prepared his gear for the camp (our camp) which he had thought was next week. He'd mistakenly marked his calendar, and scheduled his vacation a week late. We'd sally forth without him, and I suspect next year he'll make up for his lost season. I'm planning now to spend extra time on the clay course, as I'm sure he's doing now.
Bird numbers were reported to be down, but we found that to just not be true. Sure, they weren't as thick as last year, but there was certainly no shortage of grouse. Woodcock, on the other hand, though we did find some, were much thinner. Remember those temps I told you about in the last paragraph? Well, it would seem that with out the ground freezing hard up north, the woodcock haven't any reason to travel south. And they hadn't. In the end, we averaged about one grouse flush every 20 minute, as compared to the one flush every 15 minute we experience last year. Of course, that's an average. Some coverts were hot, and others required we walk a bit further between birds. The wettest mornings seemed to be the best; one morning showing us 13 grouse before noon, and another showing us 16 grouse and 15 woodcock before noon. With camp being about so much more than just killing grouse, we seldom hunted in the afternoons, opting for 9-12/1ish days, with an occasional end of day 30-60minute hunt. In total we hunted roughly 18 hours, and I was party to 56 grouse flushes, and 24 woodcock flushes. And yes, BK and I each killed a few birds. They were delicious.
**Photos 1,2,7,8,9 by BK