Monday, October 18, 2010
As usual I don't know which way to turn this time of year. There is plenty of good paddling left and we will be heading for a new venue, Red Rocks Lake in Iowa, next weekend. It's the middle of grouse season in an up year in the 10 year grouse cycle, and there are signs that the bucks are beginning to get interested in the opposite sex, an event that always triggers my interest in sitting up in a tree with my bow. The VOR's youngest brother, BeepBeep, is making snow like crazy at Loveland and its almost the third anniversary of No1 son and my early season downhill ski/Monday night Packer game trip to Colorado. What the hell does a guy do this time of year?
The past weekend was easy. Head up to the camp. I have my out of state small game license, a license ridiculously priced for a taxpaying Wisconsin landowner, but I haven't bought my twice as expensive non resident bow license yet. I did get that familiar laid back feeling as I crossed the Amnicon river, then the 'River of Presidents', the Brule. The closer I get to camp the more relaxed I get but I still didn't have that psyched up grouse hunting feeling that I'm used to for the first hunting trip of the year. Maybe its too much stuff going on or maybe my brain just hadn't transitioned yet. The feeling hit full force on Saturday morning however.
Saturday morning dawned with me in bed. I heard the bow hunters bustling around to get out the door before dawn but I was in that minimally conscious stage and ignored it. At the crack of 8 I was up and made more coffee in the big blue ceramic pot. This was good old mountain grown Folgers, not hazel nut flavored Sumatran dark roast whole bean blah, blah, blah. That paint thinner flavor must be one of my hunting triggers because as I stepped on to the north deck to answer natures call (see above image for the view from the deck), smelled the fall air, saw the blue sky and the forest floor covered with leaves, the pulse began to quicken. Later on a trip to the outhouse, I flushed the Outhouse Grouse, our avian mascot and the excitement ratcheted another notch. The bowhunters returned and we had our usual healthful camp breakfast of yogurt, blueberries, granola.......what, you're not buying that? OK, OK, it was actually bacon, a couple eggs over medium, and homemade toast. After breakfast Podman and I grabbed the game vests, shotguns, and the most excited member of the party, Marley the grouse hunting machine. Now we were all pumped up!
I'd like to say we limited out but we never even fired a shot. We had 8 flushes, saw 4 of them, and never even got to pull the trigger. It was still a successful hunt and I have officially mentally entered yet another Wisconsin hunting season. I sat up in a couple of my bowstands, saw lots of deer sign, and launched a few arrows to confirm that I can still shoot. KingIronwood and I made some wood, cutting down a couple dead standing oak trees that had been claimed by Oak Wilt a couple years back. The image above is not necessarily the best way to do it, but we managed to free the trusty Pouhlan and get the sauna length wood back to camp. Now bring on those big bucks!
(Thanks to the GurneyGranny for the photo of the successful grouse hunt above. Even though she laced our fried potatoes with broccoli, onions, and mushrooms Sunday morning, we still love her)