I returned from my grand adventure yesterday. The birds brought to hand were disappointing, but the experience was outstanding. I set out with a goal to collect a bag limit of Sage Grouse, Ptarmigan and Blue Grouse in a single day hunt. Logistically, this is obviously a tremendous challenge as these birds exist in wildly different habitat. But, that's what makes it exciting, not unlike trying for a salt water grand slam of Tarpon, Bone Fish and Permit. Over the past several years, my quest has proven to be a fools errand, but it keeps me energetic and gives me a goal to shoot for (no pun intended).
As I do every year, I started my quest with Sage Grouse. I do this for a couple of reasons. One, hunting Sage Grouse in Colorado is extremely challenging based on current population levels. This also sets an immediate tone as to whether or not I'll ultimately be successful in tracking down three species of birds in a single day. Two, this year the Sage Grouse season was limited to just two days in most huntable GMU's in Colorado, another reflection of how low population levels throughout the state have become.
The idiot (my GSP pup) and I started things off right. We arrived at the hunting grounds a day in advance with perfect conditions on the horizon for the next morning. I took a brief look around in the evening and came to the conclusion that it had been a very dry year in my hunting area, which told me the birds would concentrate around a specific patch of sage flat that circled the only measurable water source in this particular vast expanse. Everything was going perfectly according to plan and I was optimistic we would get things rolling quickly.
|The idiot on high alert|