The Shotgun Blog
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Another Fall Spent Bird Hunting In Alberta
Finally, I taste of summer has hit Alberta. Just in time for winter. However, the timing of this Indian Summer has been just the thing for outdoor enthusiasts and bird hunters like me in particular. With the weather in check, Knox headed East a couple of weeks, back to the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, in search of sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge.
Our first morning out was promising. We ran into a covey of partridge right away, followed by a fairly large gang of sharp-tails just down the road. Birds were acquired and smiles were abundant. Thereafter, the birds were a little more spotty, but we still managed to find our share. Great luck considering that landowners we came across told us that the hatch was affected by a cold, wet June, so they hadn't seen many birds around. While it was far from a banner year in terms of bird numbers, we ran into enough to fill our days and our bags and to give us sufficient reason to drink good wine at sunset, while cleaning our birds.
In addition to the amazing cover, there was water in every slough and pot-hole we came across. Grass was green and tall as I said before, which should make for a barnburner bird year next year if we have a mild winter.
Anyway, get out in the sticks and chase some birds this year. Your efforts will be rewarded. Make sure to bring a sufficient supply of bird-cleaning wine, a bunch of Skoal bandits (I prefer Mint) and a few ice cold Miller Genuine Drafts so that you can use one to wash down your lunch hour sausage and pepper sandwich (one of Knox's old pals roasts his own peppers and they are first rate).
Oh, the wine - 2005 Cabernet Franc from Wing Canyon in Napa Valley and 2003 Jaffurs Syrah. Both were dynamite and were suitable rewards for some hard-walking across the bald prairie.
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