It was a early wake up call this past Saturday morning, in hopes of catching up with a couple Sage Grouse. I sprang from my slumber just a little before 4 a.m. and proceeded to get some coffee infused asap! Jet gave me one of those looks that said, "hey do you mind, some of us are still trying to sleep"? I gave her a belly rub and told her we're goin' hunting today! Let's go girl. And with that said, she too sprang to her feet. I threw some kibble in her bowl and some cereal in mine. Then we loaded the truck and headed for Fredrick's Butte and an old lake bed a few miles E. of there. We were on the road by 4:30 a.m. and arrived at our destination just a smidge past 6 a.m.
There were a couple rigs already there and I think they were actually bow hunters deer hunting. As the sun began to brighten the eastern horizon I was getting my vest on and grabbing some water for us. It wasn't more than 200 yards from the truck when the first pair of Sage Grouse flushed at about 80 yards away. Geeze, much to far for a shot. Wow, I was a bit concerned that we may not get many shots if the birds are this wary. Jet was a long ways away from them too. We walked for about an hour before the next Grouse flushed and I fired a shot and knowing as I squeezed the trigger, it was gonna be a reach at best. Yep, nothing dropped. No feathers, bird or anything other than my wad.
It is quite difficult trying to see where these birds land. They get up just high enough to clear the tops of the sagebrush and have very rapid wing beats followed by gliding with set wings. They blend in very well to their habitat and unless you can get your binoculars on'em chances are you won't see where they land. It will be in the general vicinity that you go to in hopes of flushing them again. We took a water break back at the truck for about 15 minutes, then got going for round 2. We never did flush anymore Sage Grouse yet we saw found several areas where they had been recently. They leave a very distinctive "cheeto" look alike dropping. Right down to the color and size. Jet got excited and worked her little heart out trying to find them, she just knew they're had to be one "not so smart" bird left behind. After 4 plus hours of walking and hunting ,Jjet and I were fairly tired. We headed for the truck and called it a day. The sun was getting high in the sky and Jet was wore out. We drank some water then headed for home.
We had a good time and I didn't want to get either of us anymore sore or tired than we already were. Jet slept for the drive home and continued to do so for the following day, before she actually got her spring back in her step. Took me a few days to get over my soreness as well. The season is short and I doubt I will have the time to give it another try. Yet I will definately put in for tags again next year, in hopes of closing the distance.
Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt