Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Never Too Early To Plan

Fall is not in the air. But, for some reason my mind is wandering to September already.  Four months away, for Pete's sake.  Today during lunch, I spent 50 minutes of my 60 minute break (the beauty of living three minutes from the office, in a small town), taking inventory of my 20 and 28 ammo.  Mundane stuff, like combining open boxes, organizing on shelves by shot size, and trying to decide if I am going to shoot my 20 less, which depends on how much I hunt pheasants this fall. Do I carry my 28 more often in the steep chukar hills this season? Did I fare better with 6 or 7 1/2 shot..........back to work, lunch is over.

I did steal some company time, day-dreaming on what trips to take this autumn and when.  A Minnesota setter-man, fellow Norsk and willing fast-walker, has committed to hunting more out west this fall and our plan is to take more video.  Photos are great, journals are essential, but quality video is becoming increasingly easier to produce. The plan today isn't to try and sell this to folks or to make prime-time reality TV, but you never know.  If people enjoy watching the Kardashians go shopping or arguing over espresso, then the viewing public may also enjoy watching us search through the truck for toilet paper substitutes or cleaning woodcock in the headlights at dusk.

So far, the only concrete events we have booked are:

An early September blue grouse hunt.  Maybe even camping up high while doing it. Roasting a grouse or two over a fire.  Only concerns are carrying enough liquid for two days of dog water and whether or not there will be any fire restrictions this fall.

Sharptail near the Canadian border, mid-September. The days will begin to cool and the grain should mostly be harvested and in the bin.  Matt will have a setter pup to get into some birds and young sharptail are a great training tool. Probably only second to Timberdoodles.

Grouse and woodcock in Minnesota.  Even if the ruffs' cycle is toward the bottom, there are still enough birds around to make the trip worthwhile.  Staying at my Dad's grouse camp is rustic, cheap and is smack dab in the middle of all public land.  No knocking on doors for permission or racing other hunters to a spot each morning.  This will occur mid-October, give or take, depending on woodcock flights and leaves dropping.

A late-season pheasant hunt. Really late.  In the snow.  The hunters have vacated eastern Montana and the Dakotas. Shots are fewer and farther, but each bird is more rewarding.

Chukars in Idaho/Oregon.  This is a December or January event, when upland hunting is winding down in Montana. I am looking forward to chasing those crafty buggers more than anything this fall.  Hopefully, my old setter girls can handle it one more season, too.

There will be many other last-minute adventures too. If the sage grouse season is open this fall (stay tuned), I might take a walk in the Big Open, not caring if I shoot a big bird, but just to say I hunted them.

There will be plenty of Hun hunts around central Montana too. Those will occur in fairly random, barren tracts of land, that don't get a lot of attention.  Stubble fields, range land, and short grass prairie will all be in play.  Plenty of acres to cover.

The odds are also in favor of a mini-Montana road trip as well. Four or so days, toting the camper around the back roads of Montana, will find me hunting new coverts only, never knowing if I am going to come across a stray rooster, sharptail, Huns and possibly, all of the above.  The hunting is often only half of the fun. The other is immersing oneself in local cafes, taverns, bake sales, and whatever appears to be the hub of rural activity.

Now about that wedding in October that I was invited to...not sure I can make it.