Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The woods are burning.

So here in Eastern Washington we don't get Tornado's, Tsunami's, Big Earthquakes, Bad Flooding or Hurricanes.    We get forests fires and big ones. Over the past couple days there have been over 100 in Eastern Washington.  Including the one just over the ridge from my house.

From where I work in Brewster, Wa I could see three plumes of smoke. On from where I live, one from Gold creek and one from the town of Grand Coulee.

It all started because we had zero rain in the month of August and early September. Then one night a big thunder storm came over. I must say the lightning show was amazing. I opened all the shades at the back of my house and watched it as I went to sleep.

Gold Creek Fire
Now the valley I live in is filled with smoke depending on how the wind is blowing. I am scared that the fire will come over the ridge and into the valley where I live. Worst of all some of my hunting areas are being burned up.  The road to all my grouse hunting areas is closed.  I just hope that it is underbrush burning and not the whole forest, only time will tell. The areas that I hunt that are not burning are filler with thick smoke. I am unsure how it will affect the deer in that area. I guess when hunting season comes, the deer will either be there or they wont.

At least my duck hunting areas are not burning.

The fire by my house is last estimated to around 1000 acres and the one near Grand Coulee is around 30,000 acres. These numbers are what I think I remember hearing on the radio.

I also just want to thank all the local, state and federal fire fighters working hard to put these fires out. I have some close friends fighting them and I know how much time they are away from their families.     

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2012 grouse hunting first three nights.

The view from where we grouse hunt.
So here in Washington State September 1st is opening grouse hunting and the start to my crazy busy hunting seasons.

This year the 1st, 2nd and 3rd I had to work till 5 and drive 40 minutes home before I could go hunting.  I told my wife that she needed to have herself and Maddy ready to go when I got home so all I had to do was change clothes get in the jeep and go hunting.

Of course when I got home everything was good to go and we went hunting.  We got up to where we go hunting and there was a log across the road. So since we did not have the chain saw with us we parked and walked the rest of the way.

Remi started getting birdy and I sent her up onto the hillside. Remi flushed a grouse which we heard but did not see. My wife went up the hill to see if she could find it in a tree. Remi went up with my wife and Lily and I continued to walk down the road. Lily then got birdy and led me to a wide spot in road and a grouse flushed from behind a log. I shot the grouse and hit it and it continued to fall about 100 yards over the steep hillside.  The dogs and I walked down there and we were unable ti find the bird after about 15 minutes of searching, which did not make me very happy. I hate wounding a bird and not recovering it.

The rest of the night we saw 7 birds and were not able to get a shot at any of them. 

On night two of course I had to work again and of course when I got home things were ready to go hunting. As we pulled out of the driveway  the jeep had a strong pull to the right and i knew right away something was wrong. I got out and of course my luck we had a flat tire. After changing the tire we got back on our way a bit late. I did not see one grouse the whole night.

Day three while sitting at work all I could think about was "I DON'T HAVE A GROUSE YET!"  Then of course there is my 10 year old nephew with a picture on Facebook holding two grouse. This was just not going to do. Then I get a phone call from my wife saying "UMMM A bunch of fire trucks just went speeding up the creek." So i called and got some info..... Just great a 1 acre fire burning about 4 miles up the road from my house. (PEOPLE!!!!!! When an area has not had rain in over a month and 90+ degree temps you do not need to have a camp fire.) So for the rest of the day I was worried that there would be a major fire event at my house.

As I got off of work I could hear on the radio that some of the fire trucks were clearing the scene, which means they had it under control.

I got home and things weren't as ready as normal but nothing I couldn't handle.  I helped get my daughter ready to go and loaded up the chain saw for the tree in the road. We left the house and I felt good about my chances. We get to the good area and the log I mentioned earlier had a freaking grouse under it. I got out and got it just as it ran off the trail. Then another one flushed and went into a tree and a third flushed and sailed over the hillside. The one that went into the tree was just right for my wife to shoot.  She was out with her gun ready and POW limbs and sticks fell from the tree minus a grouse. I tasked my wife uhh can I shoot it now? She said no and then lost sight of it while I was watching it the whole time. It is amazing how time slows down when you think a grouse is going to leave a tree when you are watching it. Finally my wife sees it again and POW............. And the grouse flies down the to the canyon. This is not normal for my wife, I don't think I have ever seen her miss one in a tree. But i do know that my wife will be very upset at herself over this so I need to try and stay calm. So I tell her no worries there will be more. Which I am sure doesn't help her frustration.

So I cut the tree out of the trail and get going. A few corners later i see another grouse run across the road and then fly into a tree. Of course I load my gun get ready and let my wife take a crack at it. As my wife was getting her gun loaded I could see Remi and hard point over the hillside. As my wife shoots and gets the one in the tree and second one flies from about 2 feet in front of Remi into the same tree as I get ready to shoot it I hear "PLEASE , let me shoot it." So I lower my gun and let my wife shoot the second one which she does like a pro. We don't see anything for the rest of the night but it is ok because the weight has lifted.