I can’t say the start of the season has been anything fantastic or epic – other than the weather, which has been for the most part ideal. The trouble with great weather is I can’t use it as an excuse for poor hunting on my part. And though I’ve only been out a few times in cover that is close but heavily used, at least I can say I’ve brought home enough game to share a good meal with Dad.
Despite the increased pressure, I can almost always find some birds to shoot at. That’s only because my dogs get out where most don’t to find birds. Yet this season, so far, has been pretty slow in terms of flush rates, but I haven’t yet hunted anywhere but off that forest road and I know there are no secret places there. So when the hunting turns into hiking I can’t help but recall all the grouse and woodcock I’ve taken from the coverts along that one forest road. There was a time when my shooting could stand up with anyone and my setters seemed to find birds where there were none. Maybe it’s the outdoorsman’s memory that seems to paint the past a little brighter than perhaps it really was, but I’d give a lot to hunt over Cully, Molly, or Mayday once again.
23 Sept. '12