Yesterday was another fishable day over in New York. The Batten Kill was running a little high, but it was a doable deal:
That's the good news. The bad news is that after I got all wadered up and took a few steps and casts into the river, I realized that I just wasn't into the swing of it (all puns intended, as usual). Hmmm, what to do?
Earlier in the morning, I had been emailing with a "forum friend", artist Bill Elliott, who I met through the Nova Scotia salmon fishing forum (http://www.nsflyguy.ca/) about ruffed grouse.
It's been two seasons since I stepped foot into a grouse covert due to those oft-mentioned pesky surgeries. It was mid-morning, mid-40's temp and I was pretty handy to about 8,000 acres of New York State public land (those of you that don't know New York...it has an awesome amount of public hunting land for a state of its size and human population). So, street shoes, legs in horrible shape and all, I decided to go for a walk up into the woods, in search of a grouse.
I started up following a little brook, all very grousey:
The sun was out. I liked the way it lit up the water droplets hanging from the multiflora rose:
No grouse yet, but up on top of the ridge, the view was pretty darn good, big dairy farm in the distance (and still in grouse cover):
Hmmmm, I'm not the only one that's been up here looking for grouse:
When I was doing graduate research on ruffed grouse on public lands, I used to quantify (to myself, not the university) grouse coverts by what I called the "shot shell quotient". The better the covert, the more shells littering the ground. I picked up buckets full of them over the years. Still do. Do you pick up yours?
Ah, finally, a grouse! OK, what's left of one:
Hard life that, being a grouse. Everybody wants to eat you. Including me. Grouse sauteed in white wine, mushrooms and scallions. Yum.
But, legs starting to let me know they haven't gone walking for more than a year, time to head back down. Followed another little brook back down. These brooks all end up in the Batten Kill.
It was a fine walk. Far too long since I've enjoyed the smells and sights of a grouse woods. I'll be back; maybe tuned up for a longer stay.