Ruffed Grouse Faceoff

As I get ready to head out to Colorado to hunt elk again this year, I try to walk about 2 - 3 miles a day.  I have some 30 acres I use which butts up to friendly neighbor woodlots and finally State forest land.  I have a normal routine, I get my camera, my headset for my phone, put my hiking boots on and set my Samsung Health app to my expected distance.  Then, and only then, will my dog Seka quit squirming and barking from any indication that we are going for aRuffed Grouse walk!

It's good exercise and as I am getting older and slower more necessary if I am going to tackle those Colorado molehills again this year.  I have noticed over the years that my miles are taking a bit longer to accomplish.  I used to cover a mile at an average of about 3.1 mph.  A couple of years ago that started dropping, 3.0, 2.9, and now I am averaging about 2.8 mph.  This getting old, getting old!

I have a number of trails that I take to break up the monotony but really any walk in the woods in any direction is okay with Seka.  I try on each trip to get a picture or two of something wild.  Often it is not more than a few wild flowers, but occasionally I get to spot turkey, deer or even bear.  I am not real picky about what pictures I take as long as I get some addition to my digital camera memory.  Sometimes it's just a picture of Seka wondering why my tongue is hanging out coming up a hill behind her.

Ruffed GrouseOn this particular hike, I was scheduled for 2 1/2 miles and I took my usual route for that distance.  As I crossed out of a section of woods and moved along the access trail for an underground gas line there was a huge rustling in the ground in front of me.  It spooked me as I tried to figure out what was happening.  As I recovered my wit's I noticed what appeared to be a big bird in distress.  I whipped up my camera and tried to capture this apparition in my camera lens, only to discover it was a Ruffed Grouse.  She was putting on quite a show!  Momentarily I was convinced that she was injured, but as she keep coming back toward me and then away from me, it was clear she was trying to lead me away from her nest.  She was quite the aggressive Grouse I will tell you.  From the pictures you can see that she was all flared out ready to do battle. 

It only took a few more seconds before Seka, who was ahead of me, to catch her scent and started closing in on the Grouse from hell.  The Grouse did a nice job of leading Seka away before taking to wing to escape.  I called Seka off and carefully moved away from wherever the Grouse's nest was.  

It was that kind of exercise that makes the exercise almost enjoyable!