Patience needed for hunting elusive game bird

Nov. 23, 2013 @ 11:01 PM

At first it was hard to come up with something to write about in this week’s column, especially since I haven’t been fishing in a couple of weeks.

Then I remembered this.

Last Friday, I got to go on an unplanned grouse hunt in the mountains along the Tennessee border with Winston-Salem guide, Josh Swaim.

While we didn’t kill any grouse, we did flush eight, and even had two good shots at one that flew straight away from us down the open path we were on.

Josh missed both shots and I didn’t have a shot as the bird was on the other side of him. Josh is an expert hunter, but missed the perfect shot with both barrels.

We’ll never know whether I could have hit the bird, but I told Josh that I wished I’d had a slingshot.

Grouse hunting is more about the hunt than the kill with hunters sometimes going through dozens of flushes without dropping a bird.

The birds are fast as lightning while running and flying through thick cover.

You can read more about this in an article I wrote for the January edition of N.C. Sportsman.

I will just say that grouse hunters lose a lot of weight, both from the exercise needed to find birds, and from the lack of food since they hardly ever kill anything.

A successful day of grouse hunting is when you flush six to eight in a day of hunting and see one for more than a second.

Despite flushing dozens of birds, we didn’t drop one in three days of hunting while completing this article, but I will get one yet. They say that the meat is delicious.

Susan and I are excited about this Thanksgiving. Not only will we get to spend a day with family eating a bird that was a lot easier to bring home than a grouse, but we also plan to spend a few days camping in the remoteness of the South Core Banks at Cape Lookout.

Oh, I cannot wait, just Susan and me on a long, sandy beach with no one around but the fish and seagulls, eating leftover turkey and drinking good coffee made in the same percolator we bought when we were 18-years-old.

Hopefully it won’t be too cold and the fish will be biting. Either way, we’ll have fun, as the truck camper has a good heater, a TV and there will be plenty of leftovers.

Townsville angler Tyler Purcell and his partner, Dom Beretta, from Clarksville, Va. brought in almost 15 pounds to win the Kerr Lake Bass Masters open-team tournament last weekend.

They reported that overall fishing was slow. Their fish came on crankbaits and shaky head worms with one big bass that weighed 5.44 pounds.

Kerr Lake fishing report – Stripers are likely to be in 15 feet of water down near Nutbush Bridge and will take a jumbo shiner hanging off the side of the boat.

Upcoming area tournaments – No tournaments on Kerr that I can find until an ABA out of Island Creek on Dec. 7.

Next week’s report – More on preparations for the coast trip and a big bird report from Susan’s kitchen.

Tip of the week — This Christmas, consider giving gifts created by local craftsman or items sold by companies that make them in the U.S. That way, those same people will have some money to buy your products.