Well my friends, last Wednesday was time for a grand experiment, one that has been brewing for awhile. I have pondered how to fly fish and bird hunt both, carrying what I need for both on my person while traveling light and not being inconvenienced by toting my "extras". In other words, both hands free to either shoot or fish during the appropriate opportunities.
I typically wear a highly modified waist bag that started out as a Primos Small Game Bag. I stitched it to a padded support belt with small zippered side pockets, one from a high end internal frame pack that someone else wore out. Recent mods include a double buckle neoprene pouch added to the top of the lid for the purpose of carrying the canon M3 camera and the short tube my TFO 2wt 4 piece fly rod rides in. A sleeve was added for an ultralight tripod that was also modified for the purpose of traveling light and quick. I seldom wear a full vest since this bag does the job without trapping sweat or tugging on my shoulders.
At any rate, I managed to comfortably carry the few flies required, two spools of tippet material, my polarized glasses, fly rod, fly reel, hook file, camera, tripod, slip on gun sling, a bottle of water, a sandwich, and a Cliff bar...plus two blue grouse, with ease. My pants pockets handled ammo duties. Only carrying one bottle meant that I would refill at certain mountain springs where water emerged from the granite. Try buying that at the local supermarket!
It is at this point that I must apologize...I used the ATI .410 in order to travel a little lighter. Next time, it will be the Lefever 16 for sure. The grouse were shockingly uncooperative for blue grouse beyond the wilderness boundary. It's not like they receive much pressure beyond mine, if any. This was like hunting late season pheasants in heavy timber.
The grouse were scattered near edges right at timberline, wear the wortleberries had ripened. The numbers were not too shabby. I will be back in a day or two for sure...with more gun. The .410 was a bit inadequate for many shots, either due to range or foliage. Of course, half of my shots mowed bark anyway. Hours of hiking in the smoke haze (the west is suffering from 137 wildfires right now) yielded two hard earned birds. Oh well, wilderness hunting isn't supposed to be easy anyway.
Wilderness fishing however is, and the brookies did not disappoint. The hike down into the lake is a wee bit precarious, but absolutely inspiring. An hour or so of tricking trout was enough as I desired to hunt my way back to the Samurai in daylight. A bear was prowling fairly close to where I parked (they usually are) and I preferred not to deal with running him off in the dark. The blacks generally give no problems, but still...
The return hike only produced one grouse that I never had a clear shot at. However I did walk in on a herd of elk and notified a friend who has an archery tag as to their whereabouts. Not bad for an afternoon of sweating and wheezing (that forest fire thing again).
Coming soon...golden trout and blue grouse. Life is good out west.
Last edited by WyoChukar on Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:18 pm; edited 1 time in total _________________ Only catch snowflakes on your tongue AFTER the birds fly south for the winter...
Photos from the angling side of the equation:
_________________ Only catch snowflakes on your tongue AFTER the birds fly south for the winter...
Joined: 24 Jun 2013
Location: canandaigua - western n.y. (formerly deerhunter)
WYO - as with most things here in NY , we are close to blast and cast , but not quite . The Cohocton river is less than a mile from the old farm - blue ribbon . The old farm in the heart of ruff country . However , the trout season ends just as the bird season starts . Really nice southern tier country , but does not hold a candle to those pics of yours !!
Joined: 12 Aug 2007
Location: Northern Illinois
Thanks for the photo tour and it looks like all had a good time. Tough to beat that part of the country. Sure hope you folks get some rain. Nice looking brookie and along with Ruffed Grouse just about my favorite foods. Like the pup, truck and other toys.
Can you eat Blue Grouse? I know Spruce Grouse are pretty much not edible because of their spruce needle diet and they are protected, at least in Michigan. I believe Blue Grouse also use pine needles as part of their diet.
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