The first stop on my upland extravaganza was actually on the water. My father in law Jon and I fished the "Little J" at the Spruce Creek junction. We hit the water on a cold snap so the window for hooking a big one was small. We did have a few hours in which the fish were sucking the dry's with ease.
It was a great day to be on the water.
After my short stay in central PA I headed north to Buffalo. But on the way I stopped for my first taste of the upland fever. I met my brother and a friend just outside Bradford, PA for a quick grouse hunt. After a few minutes of busting brush I quickly missed a grouse with both barrels. It was almost too easy of a shot.....don't we always miss these "gimme shots."
It was good to get out and chase some Ruffed Grouse again. It's been a few years and this just got me started.
This sign caught me by surprise.....I thought I was back in CO and not in PA!
My Dad, brother and I hunted for the elusive NY State DEC Released Pheasant. It was under wet skies that we hit the fields of WNY. Three wet springers were able to help us scratch done 1 Snipe and 1 Pheasant.
Three wet springers.
Day four brought much better weather. It was a autumn day to remember! The same trio as the day before headed to the Southern Tier to hit some state land in which some pheasants were released the week before.
After a slow start to a cold day things warmed up quickly....both the weather and the birds. After a few flushes my brother finally connected on a hen (legal take in this area). With only bird in bag we headed to a new area in which we surprisingly flushed a timberdoodle! I cleanly missed with both barrels! After marking that bird I walked over to seek out a reflush. To my surprise a giant rooster flushed as I fumbled to shoulder the gun two shoots rang with no avail. as the rosster dawned upward and over to my brother's location in which he brought down with a quick shot. Right after that I finnaly connected with a hen.
The next bird was one of the strangest happenings I have ever had in the upland field: Mia was working scent on an edge of pine tree stand and after she casted out towards the field a rooster flushed from behind me. As the bird reached the sky above me I brought it down with one shot. And wouldn't you know it the bird landed in my arms!!! No lie! Just ask my brother who witnessed it from only 50 yards away!!!
After the fifth bird was in hand we decided to call it a hunt. We figured we would leave one short of our limit for next time!
Here are a few pictures from the day's hunt:
Mollie and Dad taking a seat!
This was the bird that fell into my arms, it was a gaint! I'd say a least 4 llbs!!
Friday moring brought us to our cabin for some more rough shooting. The cabin is actually a hunting club that my Dad and his neighborhood friends started in 1960. Most of the time this cabin is used as deer camp with a few other adventures thrown in for good measure. The woods surrounding this cabin will always hold a special place in my thoughts. It's were I took my first deer and ruffed grouse. These same woods is were I followed my Dad and brother as a youngster. Most of that time I was dogging branches that they tried to part way for me but only ended up snapping back in my face. For as long as I remember we made that trek to the "farm" every autumn weekend to hunt whatever was in season. There were times we arrived home with limits of ducks, grouse, pheasants, a turkey and sometimes even an arrowed deer! A true mixed bag!!
After we settled the cabin we headed out back for whatever game lay in wait. The first stop was a few stands of popplers and aspens for woodcock. No sooner did we step into the cover we had our first flush! For the next half hour my brother and I chased a few woodcock around. In the end we bagged 3 birds.
We then moved on to some grouse coverts. The cover was thicker than I remebered but the dogs worked hard to push 8 grouse. Only one bird offered a shot so my brother obliged.
Saturday was the Duck opener and the day was for the ducks...rain and more rain. We went out back to jump some woodducks from the beaver ponds. We only put up 3 woodies and they snuck out the back door. So that was it for ducks.
We then made our way in the rain to a friends property for pheasants. We ended up taking 3 birds and could have easily filled our limits but the rain was taking all the fun away.
Did I mention it rained! Sorry no pictures.
Sunday was the ast day to hunt before I had to head back to reality. It was great final hunt...woodcock! We went to friends property that was one of the best woodcock coverts I have ever seen in WNY. It think we hit it too late or just on an off migration day. We did scratch down 1 of the 6 flushes.
My Homeward Bound Trip was over but not soon be forgotton. Here are a few remaining pictures.
Til next time!
PS: there are some wierd things going on with my spell check so I aplogize about any mistakes and such