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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.
The (not so) great grouse adventure 101117 AE 1 For the Capital City Weekly 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.

That is not a grouse, but at least it wasn't a buck since all the author had was a .22 caliber rifle. Photo by Jeff Lund.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Story last updated at 10/10/2017 - 7:57 pm

The (not so) great grouse adventure

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…

Monday

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

Tuesday

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

Wednesday

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.

Thursday

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.

Jeff Lund teaches and writes in Ketchikan.