Training and hunting on the flat tops in CO today. The guys were hunting in a snow storm with 16″ already on the ground. Alan and Scott got bonus points from Todd by giving this day their all. Alan flew up from GA and Scott drove over from Denver to work with Todd and the dogs. The ride up the mountain and back was pretty bad and very slow going. More snow to fall tonight! What will tomorrow bring for the guys?
Believe it or not, places like Grouse Creek and Ptarmigan Lake aren’t always as productive as their names imply. Additionally “They’re everywhere” and “I always see them up there” are officially my two least favorite phrases spoken by non-hunters.
Though it’s never a bad idea to prey on local knowledge in hopes of finding a honey hole, the fact is, most non-hunters have no idea where to find game. Yes, they may stumble upon a grouse or two here and there on their morning hike, or spot a few resident greenheads dabbling around in the cattle dugout they always drive by on their way to work, but rarely do they ACTUALLY know where to find what you’re looking for, i.e. the massive coveys that shake the earth when they erupt or the oxbow lakes that hold enough ducks to black out the sky.
After hiking around ten thousand vertical feet this past week, I feel I have finally learned this lesson. While local knowledge can sometimes be helpful, there’s nothing that puts birds in the bag like boot-leather and good ole fashion location scouting.
Here are some photos from this week:
(Allie with her first Blue grouse)
(A nice days limit of blues)
(Allie in what the locals promised was Ptarmigan Country)
(Allie and I in a place we heard the Ptarmigan “littered the ground” – no such luck)
(Allie is a lot more excited to run down this 3,000 ft avalanche shoot than I am)
(Allie in the frozen tundra that actually holds birds)
(More of above)
(At the cost of an e-collar remote, half a box of shells, and Allie’s pads, we finally found some!)
Though we wasted a lot of time chasing “tips” from non-hunters, at least we got to do it in the high country. Sure beats the sage plains!
Today was a another fun day chasing birds in the mountains. For those of you that know Todd when he see’s a place that looks like it has birds he is going. Well, this dirt road we took soon turned into big wet puddles with big rocks all over the place. He finally decided to stop and just take dogs out to see if there were any birds. After a few runs with different dogs, Todd said we had better get out of there because clouds were rolling in. We made our way down the same bad road and soon the snow started to fly. Todd said good thing we decided to get out. It was going to be a 2 hour ride back out to camp.
During our drive down we came across the sheep herders and owner of all those sheep. We had a really nice chat and moved along. This was a different batch from the other day, I believe the owner said there were 1000 sheep in this herd.
The storm clouds were following us all the way out, but I had to stop to take photos at the Deep Creek overlook before we left the park. We didn’t hit anymore snow but did get rain down at the bottom.
We arrived this morning at the flat tops to start our hunting. We were at 10,000 feet most of the day.
Todd coming back with Dibbs, Rennie and Dudley. The boys are heeling so nice.
Todd coming back with DJ and Kate at heel.
This is what I was doing while Todd was working Kate and DJ.
Lunch time with the puppies! Where did you have lunch today? I bet our lunch was a lot more fun than yours.
Kermit having some fun with Todd during lunch.
The view from my chair at lunch time.
At the end of the day we came across a herd of sheep that were moving their way down the mountain. Following them were at least 3 working dogs that we could see. As I moved closer to the sheep to take photos the working dogs moved closer to me. They stayed near the sheep but had a eye on me and Todd the whole time. This was really awesome! A great way to end the day…