When you find partridge in suitable habitat, there is no reason to leave birds to find birds. After Saturday’s outing I did an extensive Google Earth search and lo and behold I have been on the other entrance road before last December. It was great looking habitat even though our short hike there produced no flushes. Today I made it a goal to explore this piece and I’m sure glad I did.
The first thing we walked down the road until we came to the spot I shot the last grouse Saturday. This small peninsula sticking out into the swamp called me. Belle and I went in, a partridge came out wild. No shot.
From here we backtracked and walked down every road that intersected this old thruway. Down one of the roads Google Earth showed a large opening. From the opening were multiple finger roads so this was the log yard they used. It held two more grouse. Only heard not seen. Boy has it grown up nice!
On the way Belle got birdy and jumped into the bushes. A very small dove came flushing out. It could fly about three feet off the ground but that was it. Belle caught it and brought it to me. I’m thinking West Nile disease. We left it alive on the tote road
On our return trip from the log yard I saw it still in the road. It flushed up three feet and landed back in the woods. Belle didn’t see or smell it this time. From here we walked back to the truck.
This is where I parked today. I had all intentions of walking this grown up road when we got back. Glad I did. There were two grouse on the right about as far down as you can see.
I’m here to tell you to always pay attention when you are following a flushing dog. As I walked through small pockets of this yellow spiked plant on the trail it was like shaking baby powder in the woods. I needed to know what it was later so I took my phone out to take a picture. That is when it all went wrong. A partridge got up and I stumbled and fumbled trying to get my gun up. I shot way behind it with the phone still in my hand.
Through a friend of mine I found out this is called Lycopodium (Club Moss). I knew it as ground pine. These are the spikes they grow to release their spores. The powder was used as a flash point since it is so fine, very dense for it’s size and has a very high fat content. I have another date later this year with the Club Moss Grouse!
Map my Tracks said our first hunt of the day was 5.48 miles and took 3 hours and 35 minutes. All flat land. We moved seven partridge. Three I saw, fired at two and walked out with an empty game bag. Best southern Maine hunt I’ve ever had and didn’t kill a thing.
We tried a couple easy coverts with no luck. I lost access to a 78 acre farm with probably 70 of those acres being old logging. When I requested permission to hunt this year the owner said he sold it. I asked for the new landowners name. The former owner said he sent him an email and if he chose to have me hunt he had my contact info.
No email. So for our last hunt of the day we had to drive by one of my best woodcock spots at the farm. We headed down to Gillie’s 300 acres at the end of the road. A place I had permission to hunt in the past. Something wasn’t right. The rocks blocking the road were gone, the ditch was filled in and the road upgraded. Halfway down to the old home site dreaded Posted signs started appearing. Someone fixed the road through the brook. At the top of the hill I found out what. A popup camper, a bulldozer and a skidder. WTF? Not to mention posted signs. My last hunt of the day didn’t go as planned. But we still did 2.2 miles in 59 minutes and moved one unseen partridge. To add insult to injury as I passed the farm a partridge came out on the road. Stood for a minute laughing at me and then flushed back into the woods.
At the bottom of the hill at the first brook crossing a truck was coming the other way. I pulled over and signaled for them to continue. As we greeted each other I asked where he was going. He said….The Farm! I told him I knew the former landowner and asked about the email. Said he received it had even talked to the former owner but that it wasn’t discussed.
So naturally at this face to face I asked permission to hunt. Hallelujah! Permission granted.
Let’s see now Mr. Grouse who gets the last laugh.
Southern Maine is BACK!