My mind keeps wandering to next bird season and the places that I want to hunt. There’s one spot, where the logging road has gone to hell, that I‘m betting few people will walk in to. Along the washed out road it’s pretty good bird country, and then a loop can be made up an old tote road through open hardwoods to long abandoned fields.
A hunt through those fields and then to the east will lead into a cutting that, if hunted through, will lead back to the truck. It will make one of those all day hunts where you tuck a sandwich in your pocket, a bottle of water in the game pouch, and a snack for the dog. There’s always little trickles for the dog to drink out of up in that country.
Right now, outside the window the snow is swirling and the forecast is bleak. Those chilly mornings of last fall, when the cold bit into our fingers, are nothing compared to what’s going on now. Up in grouse country the nights have been dropping far below zero, and even the days are far too cold for the gloves I like to shoot in. Hopefully the grouse have insulating snow to burrow into and enough food to supply the calories they need.
From that same washed-out logging road it’s possible to hunt downhill around a big cutting, then follow a stream back up the valley. It would make another one of those all day hunts and cover a big chunk of wild wilderness.
Some of my daydreams get stuck in the coverts that produced so well. This past fall the bird numbers had plummeted, but a couple of places shined. One that is out in the middle of nowhere keeps drawing me back. From the pavement it’s well over a half hour drive, maybe more than that next year the way the road has been deteriorating.
It is thick cover on a steep slope, with a huge clearcut further up. I can hear the bells, even see the dogs. My pulse picks up when my mind's eye spots the dog on point. The smells, they are there too. And then the bird flushes….