Grouse and partridge season open up this weekend along with youth waterfowl, sandhill crane, squirrel, ruffed grouse and the close of early Canada goose. Whew. But for most it’s the grouse and partridge which take center stage.
It’s brought to my mind several thoughts and memories. While upland game won’t draw out the crowds and fever the pheasant or deer opener generate they did in my mind in the 1980s.
In the 80s there was no early Canada goose season which fed the hunting fever since August 15 in North Dakota. We had the dove opener around Sept 1 and that was just an excuse to get out and rattle the shooting irons. It did help hone the swing and while in high school Pete Kvien, Mike Wimmer, Matt Kvien and I had some fun shooting and grilling dove.
But back to grouse. Those openers I remember hitting Kidder, McIntosh and Logan County with my Dad and Pott’s most of the time Jim and Brian or some trips Dad had with the Splitts, Ewins, Ireland crew.
Later years I spent the 1995 opener near Stanley and still recall a warm opener walking solo across the native grass of Mountrail County near Meyer Kinnoins ranch and as only luck would have it found myself sitting on a rock pile with another solo hunter–a pharmacist from Jamestown. The last name escape me. David….but the memory will never. Ah I just got it. David Hagen. His sister it turns out played for my wedding just three years later 😉 It was an opening day of grouse season and neither of us had yet bagged a bird, but the kindred spirit of two hunters on the prairie birthed a short conversation with each of us understanding we enjoyed the visit but were also both chomping to get back to the day.
I recall the warmth of sun, nice easy walks across short grass, alfalfa field edges. Many good memories.
While the early goose has taken away some of the attention and the thin numbers of grouse temper the expectations..the memories remain.