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Aug 5th, 2016
Thread Like Summary
Birdog, BrentD, Prof, dukxdog, FallCreekFan, Parabola, SKB, Tim Cartmell
Total Likes: 19
Original Post (Thread Starter)
by BrentD, Prof
BrentD, Prof
My hunting season will be cut short this fall (28 Nov) and my best buddy in this is 13 yrs, 2 months, and 15 days old, so we need to make the most of what will be our short season. Teal season was a bust, to say the least. Drought is to blame there, I suspect, and weather hasn't helped. So, we packed up and joined a friend and his two dogs that we hunt with every year. We managed just a few sharptails, but they were my first.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

If drought is bad in Iowa, it is horrendous in Nebraska. These Hackberries were wilted, even early in the morning. No wonder we found so few birds.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

But the Sandhills are beautiful with huge horizons.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

And some interesting wildlife. For some reason, Gus found this more interesting than all the other turtles he has seen.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Sharpies are better eating than I expected when grilled just right.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Very little hunting pressure where we were, but unusually few birds too. Hard to say whether the heat or the few birds were responsible for that.

Gus and I will miss our late winter hunts in Nebraska this year - well 2023 actually, but so it goes. With luck, I'll be back in the game for turkey season and spring rifle matches.

Gus and I had about 9 days at home before packing up and rolling out again. This time North. It was much cooler, almost perfect temperatures. But we got some light rain - nonstop for 1.5 days. That chased the ruffs up into the trees so that we didn't find quite as many as I expected, but we got into them nonetheless. Vegetation is incredibly thick as Lloyd mentioned. Many birds were heard but not seen. Still a great time, but I need another frame to continue this post, so it will have to wait on Dave.
Liked Replies
by BrentD, Prof
BrentD, Prof
It is warm, though wet so we camped, and will camp again next week, though it will be another 10 degrees cooler, but drier.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

It is a bit of an understatement to say the cover is thick. Even with orange, it is hard to see a hunting partner.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

But the colors are coming and with them, leaf drop should be pretty quick
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Gus was 13 yr, 2 mo, and 22 days for this picture, but still holding his own. None of my dogs have been this strong at his age. He is a remarkable golden.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
5 members like this
by BrentD, Prof
BrentD, Prof
For some reason, I found most of the grouse in the less grousy habitat. What constitutes textbook grouse habitat was often devoid of birds, but a few pockets held them. Mostly they were scattered in overmature or conifer stands instead of places like this.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Or this
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

They were feeding on alder cone buds and lots of greens and maple or ash seeds. But one bird had these red-to-white berries that almost look like mountain ash, but not quite, unless they were unripe berries. What color is MT Ash before they are brilliant red? Lloyd, if you see this, I would love to know what you think about these.

They were also eating something that had a small somewhat bean-shaped seed. May have been rose hip seeds, but we never saw rose hips in the crops. The seeds were always in the gizzards.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

I promised pics of the guns this time, but the new kid in camp got in the way. He's less than 12-mo old, and coming along well. He will be a good one. Pheasants will be his next objective in three weeks.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Here we go. We had three hunters, 6 guns, all doubles.
Left to right, a Henry (Scotland), Cashmore (England), and Boucher (sp?, French). Back-up guns were Greener, Osborne (English), and OShatz (Polish) respectively.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

We finished well, that's all that counts.
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Next trip may include a bit of time hunting soon-to-be-mine acres that I know hold grouse - though that is not why we are buying it.
3 members like this
by Karl Graebner
Karl Graebner
Brent,
I'm headed out next week, your photos are a great inspiration!
Karl
1 member likes this
by SKB
SKB
Looks like a great time and wonderful to see Gus out there still doing it.

I
1 member likes this
by battle
battle
Looks awesome. What state did you hunt the sharptails? Oh and the choice of guns?

Good luck the rest of the hunts!
1 member likes this
by ed good
ed good
wonderful photography...kudos to you an gus...
1 member likes this
by FallCreekFan
FallCreekFan
I’d 2nd that. How ‘bout a third frame of the guns you used?
1 member likes this
by Stanton Hillis
Stanton Hillis
Great pictures Brent.
1 member likes this
by battle
battle
I liked that Osborne.
1 member likes this
by Lloyd3
Lloyd3
Looks like a 5 bird day for you and Gus. Those red fruits in that birds crop look like rose hips to me, the paler fruits look like another dogwood variant (Redosier?). Great photography of both guns and countryside!
1 member likes this
by BrentD, Prof
BrentD, Prof
Grouse camp 2 is now in the books. Much tougher than I thought. The weather was fine, and birds were abundant. About 60% of the leaves were down and more falling every minute as hard frosts were occuring nightly. Nonetheless, i've never been so frustrated over getting a shot. For example, two of us got there in mid afternoon. We threw up tents and then went off for a brief hunt - maybe 1.5 hrs. We flushed about 12 birds, but never fired a shot. I might have seen feathers on one of them. They were uncanny about keeping out of sight. And every day there after, they only got better at it. Where they had to be visible, they ducked behind dogs more often than has ever happened before. So, very few shots were taken, few of those (2) were actually reasonably good opportunities and only one was converted. Crazy times. But we had plenty of birds to keep us happy.

We had some interesting interactions with landowners. Some were really great, one or two not so much - one was claiming hundreds of acres of national forest as his own private land. Met a really great CO (unrelated to the landowner issue), and some other great folks. There wa a woman who I'd seen before out there hunting with her fluffy white foo-foo dog of some sort and an old lab. She was darn passionate about grouse and she certainly took her share. Another guy with a pick up truck full of kids. Some had guns, some did not. My favorite had a nice alder stick gun with which he showed a ton of enthusiasm and good "muzzle" control. Tons of road hunters. More than I have ever seen.

But we got some grouse - even me. Only one was a spruce grouse - the most handsome of all the gallinaceous birds that I've ever seen.

I'll just post a bunch of photos and minimal commentary. Grouse camp 3 is set for the first week of November. That will be the end of it for me, with only 3 weeks left of pheasant hunting before shutting down for the season.

You would think, on this ridge of rock and scattered trees, grouse would be easy to shoot. Not so. No shots fired for about 8 flushes or more.
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

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Snowed the first night
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Did not deter Gus
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Hard to really show the size of this tree, but it is among the biggest Norway Pines I've ever seen
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
1 member likes this

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