Bike Hunt: Grouse

I'm not exactly sure why, but in the past few years I've really been excited about finding way to combine my passions into multi-sport adventures. I just love the idea that using a bike to hunt or fish might give me an edge over the next guy. In reality, it probably doesn't make that big of a difference, but I still dig it. There is something ridiculously fun about doing things differently.

Recently, I invited a friend to Wyoming to come bike hunting. While Adam is a dedicated biker, he had never hunted before. I weighed our options, and decided that chasing upland birds would be one of the more approachable types of hunting for the fist time shooter. Plus it lends itself to bike hunting quite well.

We both did our homework. Adam took a hunter's safety course in his home state, purchased a used shotgun and practiced shooting at the local trap club. I spent a few hours scouring maps, calling game and fish biologists and scouting potential locations near Cody. I decided the Bighorn Mountains east of Cody had the right combination of trails and roads accessible bike bike and decent populations of blue grouse.

Adam flew in straight from Interbike 2016, Las Vegas, and was welcomed to a sizable rainstorm (by Wyoming standards at least). It rained so much, that we took all of Saturday to prep bikes, gear and see the sights around Cody. What's more Wyoming than going to the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum and seeing the world's larges collection of American firearms?

By the time we made it up to the mountains, it was clear that the rain in town was in fact feet of snow up high. Luckily, I had scouted out some lower elevation areas the week before, and we were soon riding bikes up the trail, 12 gauges in tow. Two or three miles up the trail, we parked the bikes and unloaded our firearms. I did my best trying not to get Adam's hopes up. Finding blue grouse can be quite challenging, and there was no guarantee that we would even see a bird. Luckily I was quickly proven wrong. Within minutes of getting off the bikes, a grouse flushed a few feed from the road cut we were walking along, and landed in a thick grove of trees not far from me.

I had eyes on the bird, and was able to direct Adam into position, where he harvested the first bird of his life. It was an honor to be a part of that experience. I could see the emotions Adam was experiencing. That mix of so many feelings that happens every time you take an animals life: excitement, gratitude, sorrow, elation. At least that's how I feel. Taking an animals something that is hard to prepare for. Even having done it dozens of times since I began hunting at the age of 12, I still have a hard time pulling the trigger from time to time. I think that is the way it is supposed to be.