One of the things I'm doing differently is taking a new friend, and grouse hunting newbie, out grouse hunting. Last year I met KK shooting skeet at the club. we started talking hunting, and while I am quite particular about who I will take out to the woods, KK checked all the right boxes, so we started planning his education.We decided that the best way for him to learn about the grouse woods was to get him looking for grouse cover. So we met early one morning last week and drove 2 hours out to the western part of the state to scout. I already had done some long range recon, and had sat down with KK and explained how I use technology to pre-scout, and what I look for. All we needed to do was make some boot tracks in the potential cover to see if it was what we were looking for. It certainly was what we were looking for. Scouting in the early spring, before everything turns green, allowed us to see the cover in very much the same way it will look in the fall. Many of the preferred food sources had not grown back, but there was just enough green starting to break through that we know the grouse will be in there in due course. I tried to make the scouting trip as educational as I could for KK so he'd have an idea of what to look for in the future. We has a very successful scouting trip. I had marked 5 potential areas to check, and all 5 proved to be worthy of visit in the fall. In addition, due to an un-passable road, and subsequent detour, we added a 6th spot to the list.
Another change to this season, which could potentially be the cause of my early onset of grouse season induced mania could be a planned trip to Down East Maine. I have been wanting to make a return to Maine but just never made it happen. I'd been talking to BK about us spending a week Down East, and we'd tentatively planned to go, but hadn't actually put it on the calendar. Well, it's happening this year, and we booked a week in October that generally corresponds with the woodcock migration. I'm really looking forward to the vast amount of flat cover Down East offers. I doubt this will amount to a leg cramp free grouse hunting vacation, but it'll certainly be less painful than the leg cramps brought on in hilly Coos county.
I should add, I've recently been sucked down a worm hole called "reloading". A while back I was given a 20 gauge shotshell reloading press. It's been a great new hobby/obsession. I shoot a lot of clay targets, going through in the neighborhood of 1- 1 1/2 cases of ammo each week. Reloading makes sense.It also allows me to load premium ammo. Regular readers will know that I am a huge proponent of shooting ammo that uses a fibre wad. Spreading plastic wads across the landscape is littering. Fibre wads biodegrade, quickly absorbed back into the landscape. Reloading not only allows me to load fibre wads, it allows me to tailor my ammo to my needs. Currently I am loading, in preparation for the season, 2 different loads; a 2 1/2" 3/4 oz load of #7 1/2's, and a 2 3/4" 7/8 oz load of nickel plated #7's. I'm not entirely sure of what I'll use the 2 1/2" shells for, but I think the 2 3/4" #7's will be the perfect grouse load. For the few times that I am grouse hunting near wetter areas where I my also jump a duck or two (don't laugh, it's happened) I will be loading some bismuth, too.
Reloaded to my exact specifications
There is also a new gun on order, which should be in my hands as early tomorrow. A promotion at work, and securing a new contract put me in a good place, and finding a really, really good deal on a gun I'd been lusting after for a few years meant it was time to spend some money. But I can't really tell you all about it, now. You'll just have to wait.