Cover Hunting

So, we aren’t running dogs because of the nesting birds, but that doesn’t mean we’re not looking for them.  As most of you surely know grouse cover is transitory.  There is window in our neck of the woods between the time when the cover is coming back from being cut to the point where it is too mature to be a productive place to find birds.  Covers that were just getting good 20 years ago are well past their prime.  The only solution is to keep looking for new covers.  Today it was supposed to be 75 and the lawn wasn’t going to be dry enough to mow until late afternoon, so I called Tony and suggested we go for a drive to check out some spots that Tommy had told me about and another that I had seen on Google Earth that looked promising.  We drove into the first spot and walked up into the cover.  Tony was about to tel he thought this cover wouldn’t work when a grouse started drumming.  We kept walking and then heard another and then at least one more.  We’ll come back in the summer and run a dog or two and then we’ll probably hunt it a few times this fall.  With a new cover like this it might take us a year or two to figure how to hunt and where the sweet spot.  Our current best covers took us about three years to figure out.  So now we had three grouse in the count and headed to another spot.  Along the was we saw a pretty good size bear on the side of the road.  At the next spot Tony went one way and I went another.  We met up down the road from the truck and were discussing what we’d seen when Tony pointed to the side of the road and I saw something move out of the corner of my eye.  It was a grouse heading over the roadside bank into the cover.  She didn’t flush so we walked over to where she’d been.  I looked down and there was her nest.  There were 9 eggs in the nest.  Six were in the center of the nest touching each other and the other three were spread out near the nest.  I took a picture with my phone but it didn’t come out. We’re going to check on her periodically to find out when the eggs hatch.  After that we checked out another spot then head home.  Along the way Tony spotted a small bull moose just of the side of the road.  I tried to get another phone picture but he ran into the woods before I had a chance to take it.  A little further along there was another grouse on the road.  I finally got a picture of that.  So, for the day it was 5 grouse, 9 grouse eggs, a bear, and a moose.  Next time I’ll be sure to take the real camera!!!

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