After a slow start the 2016 bird season improved slightly, if only because we finally received some much needed rain and the woods returned to something near normal.
The usually abundant streams that dried up in August again had water in them. And the late arriving cooler temperatures helped both the dogs and hunters stay comfortable.
Finding grouse remained difficult, but woodcock were easier. We never found a bumper flight, but the numbers were average. Luck has a lot to do with hitting a memorable flights of woodcock. There was that day in the National Forrest a few years ago where we flushed more woodcock in a hour than we do some seasons. I am sure it will happen again, but not this year as the shooting season has closed and there are ten inches of snow on the ground.
Even well into November a few grouse could be found hanging around apple trees that still had fruit. Usually by then the fruit is gone and so have the grouse, but in spite of the drought there was a bumper crop of small apples. Hunting the clear cuts took lots of walking between birds. Deer hunting in late November with several inches of snow on the ground I have yet to see a grouse track of flush a bird.
During fifteen years of keeping records, this was the slowest year yet. Let’s hope for better numbers next year.