Had the pleasure of hunting with Roper up by his place in the Okanogan on Sunday. We went to one of his usual haunts and as we're walking down an old logging road he suddenly makes a hard left into the bushes, then Boom. He said he had a hunch, just felt there was a good spot for birds, well he was right. So the moral of this story is always follow your hunches. We hunted a couple more hours with no more birds to be found. On my way home I made an overnight stop in the Winthrop area and thought I'd check out the Wildlife Area in the morning before heading over the pass. Did lots of hiking and beating the bushes in some cover that looked really good. As I was heading back to the truck there was a large camping area with some real nice cover behind it, a little thick for hunting without a dog but it looked to good to pass up. Again, just a hunch. I walked in slowly and was standing there thinking "there really should be some birds here" when out of a thick clump of high brush behind me comes a grouse. I turned but was too late to get a good shot in the thick cover. I've been told that many times if one flushes there can be another right afterwards, well not remembering that at that particular moment, I wasn't ready for the second bird that came busting out of the same place. At least I was facing the right direction and got off a shot. I saw the bird flare and thought I might have got a pellet in it so I was watching carefully to see where it landed in hopes of finding it in the thick cover. Just then a third bird flushes which startled me and caused me to loose sight of the second one. After looking around a while I gave up and headed back to my truck grumbling to myself about not getting any of three birds in the same place. As I'm driving out I was spotting lots of "grouse sticks" and slowing down a lot only to be disappointed when getting close enough to clearly see what I was looking at. Then I spot what I figured was another grouse stick right on the edge of the dirt road by a large brush area. As I drive by ready to dismiss it as another mirage, it turns it's head and walks back into the brush. I pulled the truck over a few yards up the road and quietly sneak back. I see him in the cover walking towards an opening. I went up and around so that if he flushed, it wouldn't be towards the thick stuff. My plan worked and when he took off I had a clean shot. Small redemption for not getting any of the first three. All in all a good time in the woods.
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