Monday, September 16, 2013

Operation Get the Wife a Limit

On day two of grouse hunting here in north central Washington my one goal was to get my wife a limit of grouse. I was not going to shoot any grouse until my wife had her limit. This time I got a few hours of sleep the night before and again I woke everyone up to get going at first light. I rode the lucky gate and we headed to what we call "The Lower Road."

We get to the top of one hill but before we drop into the next drainage we have to go through another gate which is old, heavy and not fun to move at all. As I was going to get out to open it my wife tells me she will get it. As she drags it open like a pro I give her a smile as I drive through. After a couple moments of waiting for her on the other side I look in my mirror to see her moving the old heavy gate about an inch at a time and with a very flustered look on her face. I get out to HELP her and she quickly returns to her seat with a 'hurry and get this gate closed so we can go hunting' look.

A short time later I see the first grouse in the grass along the road. It flushes into a tree and my wife gets out to shoot it. She shoots a 7 1/2 12 gauge low base shell. So I like her to get a bit closer than she was when she pulled up for the shot. When she pulled the trigger feathers floated down out of the tree and the bird set its wings for the bottom on the valley. There are three choices to choose from in this situation.

A. Positive feed back. "Hey don't worry, at least you got feathers, we will see more."
B. Silence. "..............................................sniff, sniff........................................."
C. Poking fun. "Hey Annie Oakley did you have your eyes closed?"

I tend to start with A and after getting the just shut up look move to B. And if we ever do get some grouse I might be brave enough to move to C.

So this time I give her some positive feedback. As we are looking for more grouse after a few minutes I realize she is not that pleased with herself so I move to silence.

A few corners later I spot the next grouse. My wife gets out and drops it. and I revert back to some positive feedback.

When we finished the lower road my wife had three birds. So I put my big boy pants on and went in for some Poking Fun. "Well I did my job, I showed you 4 birds." with a smile and after an "yeah, yeah" from the wife, I knew she was feeling a lot better now that she had three birds in the bag.

I again decided to take the big loop around, with the idea of stopping in one creek bed where we have had good luck with ruffed grouse in past years. I pull the Jeep over and my wife asks me what I am doing. I told her I was going to go find some grouse. We both get out of the vehicle and load our guns. I went straight in to the thick and nasty stuff and my wife stayed out on the road. ( sometimes I like having someone out of the thick stuff so they can see where the grouse flush to.) Meanwhile our two Wirehaired Pointing griffons start working the creek bed.

5 minutes into the walk the bushes explode with flight. I yell to my wife "Get in here". Her response is "I am busy helping Maddy go Potty". I knew what that meant. BANG, BANG, BANG. My wife yells to me "How many are there!?" I told her - well I just shot three. The dogs start coming out of the brush with birds in the mouth like worker bees bringing pollen back to the hive. They drop the birds at my feet and go back for more. When all the downed birds are back they go back to searching for live birds.  I see Remi get birdy and about 10 feet above her a grouse was sitting in a tree. I again yelled for my wife to get in to the bushes. She yells back and says she is on her way. She gets back to me, shoots the grouse, and I tell her I will get the bird and she can work the 70 yards back to the Jeep and kids. I retrieve her 4th and final bird of her limit. Remi flushes up another bird and I see the general area it went to. I have to crawl under some of the thick brush to get to it. I drop it with one shot and with 8 birds our day is done.

So peration get the wife her limit is complete. We sit on the side of the road and feather all of our birds. Maddy dances and plays in the falling feathers as part of a perfect grouse hunting morning.

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