I hunt Lewis, Rowan, and Greenup. I use to hunt Mason and Bracken Co's but I have lost most of those places to hunt due to new people owning them now.
I finally got on the board today, killed my first bird of the Kentucky season. Kind of a bittersweet experience.
Dunn and I hunted a holler of my childhood, one I hunted without a dog as a teenager. It was logged about 6-8 years ago, and I've been meaning to give it a whirl for a while. It's hard to get to, no roads, no ATV trails, pretty much forgotten. We spent about 3-4 hours in it, and found some really good cover. It'll be good for a few more years.
The dogs did great. Dunn's young dog went on point, and my young dog was honoring from about 20 yards in front. The bird started walking out, and I could tell his dog was watching the bird, and when it flushed it flew down the creek and gave me an easy fly-by shot. I wasn't sure I'd get to take a bird this season, but this was a golden opportunity. The ounce and an eighth of handloaded #6's folded the bird and it hit the mud bank with a thump. When they make that sound, you know they're down for good.
It was lying in the branch water, and the dogs ran right over it a couple of times before my young dog finally found it and picked it up. She carried it across the branch and brought it to me. We petted her up well, her first retrieve and all.
I had to shoot the bird for the dogs' sake, but I still kind of feel bad about it. They're so scarce around here it seems not right, somehow, to kill the thing that I love so much.
Well it looks like my grouse hunting for the year is over. I tore my ACL with my fall last week. I talked with my hunting partner and he is still going to hunt my dog along with my son. My son hasn't grouse hunted since he was 14 and I didn't think he would ever go again. He thought I was nuts chasing after these birds up and down the mountains in eky. Now I just hope that there will be some birds in the places I'm sending him too.