Hunt Report: Eastern PA, Day 3

January 27, 2011 | By | 3 Replies More

Two knuckleheads, out in the frozen woods...Serious!

Day 3 dawned gray and cold. No big deal, about the same as day 2. Our clothes were surprisingly dry (not an ounce of moisture in that hotel room), and as we left it started to snow. We were happy about that because a fresh snow meant the ability to track grouse.

The first spot we tackled was an area we hadn’t hunted before, but which looked like a clearcut on Google Earth. Turned out it was, but wasn’t very birdy. Most of the trees were too old, and the area was too large and was missing a key ingredient: a wet area. We gave it the old college try and finished out by pushing to a river, but all we saw were snowshoe hair tracks and a brown cottontail rabbit.

We decided to end our Pennsylvania hunting trip at The Bomb Area. Several reasons for this:

> With three hunters we could cover the ground more efficiently
> We knew birds were there
> We knew no one else had been hunting it

We started off hunting in one direction and walked that way way past where Brendan and Jay had ever gone before. Although a logging road bisected the route and had those “redbud” food bushes on it, we saw no tracks. Nothing.

Eventually we swung back in the other direction and hunted toward the area where Brendan had seen the three birds on day 1. After a few hours we picked up a couple of bird tracks that seem to meander forever – we never put up a bird.

We finally found some tracks, tougher to see that day.

At that point our half day was just about over, so we decided to push out to the main road, where we parked the truck. We saw at least one more bird track (couldn’t tell if it was one or two) but still never saw a bird. Sean thought he heard one flush, maybe from a tree, but couldn’t be sure. At that point our minds and ears were playing tricks on us we wanted to hear one so bad….

Day 3 Summary

It was one of those days when the woods just felt dead. No tweeties not even any crows. As Sean pointed out, when even the crows stay home, maybe you should too!

The snow had a deeper and tougher crust on it, the trees were covered in ice, maybe the birds had snow-roosted and were just staying put unless you practically stepped on them. Who knows. It’s a very rare day that we blank on flushes. We weren’t happy about it.

The only thing that made us feel a little better was, again, it kind of felt like one of those days.

The birds were meandering around this stuff again.

Few Things Learned

Here are a few, a couple re-learned:

> When it’s going to be wet, it’s optimal to have two pairs of Gore-Tex pants, and at least 4-5 pairs of gloves.

> Even when you’re crunching though snow, grouse may not want to move unless they have to so you can still can walk up on them.

> Birds will flush from anywhere: the ground, bushes, trees.

> If you’re walking a lot, a pack with a liquids bladder can’t be beat.

> If you’re bending over to get through cover and kicking through icy snow at the same time, you can kick ice chips into your eyes. Jay learned that the hard way after he’d lost his glasses.

The rest will be in Book 2!

Coming up: New upland gear from LL Bean, and report(s) from the most Serious bird show on the planet, Pheasant Fest, this weekend, Omaha, NE (if you’re there and want to say hello, email jay at jay AT SeriousBirdHunting DOT com).

Category: 2010-11 reports, Hunt reports, LL Bean, PA, Pheasant Fest, Pheasants Forever, Ruffed Grouse, SBH

Comments (3)

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  1. Mike says:

    Thanks for a great synopsis, guys. Great way to end the PA season.

  2. Bill Fontanazza says:

    Sounds very similar grouse hunting in Wisconsin in January.
    When the woods are quiet you can’t pry the birds out with a crowbar.

  3. GW Biggs says:

    Great report of a great hunt… they’re all great hunts when we’re chasing the king of gamebirds! We used to be able to hunt grouse here in Ohio through February, but now due to declining populations, the season ends in January… I have lots of wonderful memories of hunting in the snow… when you see grouse tracks, get ready, an explosive flush can happen any time!

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