Yesterday the Sage grouse season opened - many people believe for the last time, but with all the money the federal and state government have poured into this bird, I doubt it. My intent was to play "shoot and release," as I intended not to kill one, but to take pictures of them and get a story for my new job as columnist for the East Idaho News.
I was on the desert long before daylight and my first pictures were of the snow-dusted Teton Peaks in the early morning light. I flushed Sage grouse and Sharp-tailed grouse that were roosting on the dirt roads I travelled.
I met and interviewed hunters that I met along the dirty and rocky roads. This is a hunter that I met a year ago and interviewed him. He was successful in bagging his one bird for the day. We flushed about 100 grouse on the hillside behind him.
I saw hundreds of birds and this large cock posed for me. They are not as handsome now as they were last spring when they were on their leks trying to impress the ladies.
When I got to the check station on the way home I was asked by the Fish and Game officers if I had been successful and I replied that I had and showed them the pictures of the birds I had taken. Since we do not enjoy the taste of Sage grouse, I did not harvest one.
It was just a great way to spend a morning in the wilds of Idaho.
You can read my stories at: EastIdahoNews.com. The name of the column will be "Living the Wild Life" found in the Outdoors section