The most effective way for me to be unsuccessful at something new is to exclaim to someone, or in my head, “I’ll write about it.” I can’t say, “I’m going to go grouse hunting this week and write about it.” That will ensure there will be no grouse. Of course, that’s exactly what I’m doing: a daily journal of grouse hunting starting today (Monday).
Adding to the risk is that grouse are not a big-ticket item that alone create riveting, or at least tolerable, copy. Deer hunting is interesting. A bear hunt certainly qualifies as an adventure. Not grouse. You take a .22 with you in case you see a grouse while deer hunting. You don’t look specifically for them. At least that’s what I thought until August, when I shot my first one and had it for lunch. Delicious. So, this potential disaster is a while in the making. Here goes…
Operation After School Grouse is a go. I went to work, then was in the woods by around 4:30 p.m. I am totally putting myself at a disadvantage being out for only a little over an hour but that’s sort of the point. A little casual hunting success to prove what type of Alaskan I am, one that takes advantages of little slices of sunlight after work, not just a weekend warrior. I didn’t see any grouse, but I did see plenty of bear sign, which reminded me I was on their turf with only a .22 in my hand. Honestly, I wasn’t afraid of a bear, I was more afraid of seeing a nice buck.
Total Grouse : 0
This is totally grouse habitat. There’s a noise. Has to be a grouse…nope. Squirrel. I’m hunting terrain that’s similar to where I found the two I took in August, but that was on a different island. I was sure today was going to be the spot. I really don’t have many other ideas, so do I go back to places I haven’t found them because they should be there? Or is that a waste? Things are not looking good, especially since Friday I’ll be helping out at Dribbler’s League try outs for third through fifth graders and won’t be able to hunt.
Total Grouse: 0
Went up a really long old logging road cut off from the road system. It’s nearly overgrown with alders losing their leaves in the ugly, unceremonious way they do. I looked down the slopes adjacent the roads and once again, no grouse. I drew on a few birds and squirrels that I tried to turn into grouse, but couldn’t. This adventure has all the feeling now, of one of those “hunting isn’t really the point” columns that I write when I don’t shoot anything. I’d prefer not to write one of those. The Monday optimism that drove me to start a grouse tally sounds silly.
The weather has turned and I have other work to do so I can’t continue my Ahabian pursuit of a bird. I suppose it’s a good thing that it’s not so easy to get a grouse, otherwise the population would likely be in trouble. Of course, that makes me wonder if the reason I’m not seeing any is there isn’t a healthy population. Maybe I’ll blame that. It couldn’t possibly be that I don’t know what I’m doing or that three days after work isn’t enough time to give an accurate account of the grouse hunting program.