Admittedly, it was more difficult getting excited for bird hunting this fall after two months of drought and one of the hottest summers on record. In fact, some of the private lands usually open to hunting on September 1st, were closed due to fired danger. The skies across Montana have been smoke-filled for months, severely limited air quality and visibility.
But, we packed up the dogs, hooked up the camper and headed to the hills. We were up at 'em early each day, trying to beat the heat. Once we were up in the high country and the dogs were making game, there was no other place to be on earth. Good dog work, great food in camp and fair shooting, made for some another great opener. It appears the blue grouse had a good hatch as we saw some large broods each day. Like a good dessert, one little taste is never enough. Once the dogs are rested up, it is time to get back to the mountains, looking for blues amidst the smoke.