I don't bird hunt so I can never really be totally sure when people say that they are going bird hunting. Does that mean partridge? grouse? aren't they the same thing? In this case, I wanted partridge.
Staci and I decided to try out luck partridge hunting this fall. We loaded the shotguns up, our outdoor gear and drove into the empty dirt roads of the Maine woods. The fog had not lifted from the valley but the sun was making the foliage glow on the sides of the mountains.
It could not have been a more perfect October morning. The colors were radiant and there was just a small breeze. We left the main dirt roads and headed down skidder trails to look for birds that might be hanging out close to the road.
Moose season was starting the following week so we kept our eyes and ears out for moose while we drove and walked down the paths. After not hearing or seeing any birds down one stretch, I backed my car back on to the main dirt road. I didn't even have time to put the car in park or drive before a partridge flew in front of the windshield. Staci and I looked at each other and re-parked the car and started walking to see if we could find the bird. No luck.
We drove and stopped and listened. Drove more and kept an eye out for birds along the roadway. It was an almost perfect fall day and the colors and scenery and company made up for the lack of birds that we were seeing.
Finally, we turned a corner and saw a partridge in the road, strutting his stuff. I came to a stop as quickly and slowly as I could while Staci got out and in position to take a shot. The bird was nervous and jumped a few times as he crossed the road, angling away from us. Before Staci could get a good shot off, the bird flew.
There were a few expletives and laughs before we headed back down the road. We stopped to eat lunch in a small clearing and enjoyed the warm sun and cool breeze. We went home empty handed but the experience and fun of trying a new hunt is always worth the time and effort.