On a short hike across the north-facing slope below Sunset Peak in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains of western Montana the other day I came across a total of ten of these medium sized grouse whose species inhabits all of Canada and just the northernmost parts of the United States. Had I been a predator that day, I would have been well fed because they behave as their nickname implies, rather foolishly, letting me get within a few feet of them before they flew, depending to an amazing degree just on their camouflage alone. They weigh about a pound to a pound and a half and I have found them to be delicious.
High in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains across the river, autumn has just painted the ridge tops with long brush strokes as the western larch have changed out of their green summer jackets and donned bright coats of gold, and an old trail up toward Sacajawea Peak has been calling my name, telling me it’s time for another visit. The section of trail where this photo was taken in June of 2007 has been discontinued, but I think of it often and still know where it is. I would like to think that the wild hunter in the photo is still around; if he is, he’s a very old dog!