Opening Day with the 22-oz Pak-Rifle

As a grouse hunter, I usually have delusions that opening day will be met with a snowy blizzard, cold temperatures, and low-elevation coveys.

It’s never, ever happened like that for me.

So when Montana’s upland game season started this week under bluebird skies and 80+ degree temperatures, I knew that I’d have to work, and yesterday was no exception.

Three thousand feet of climbing finally brought me to a covey of three ruffed grouse in thick brush that were too spooky for me to get close enough.

Then, I heard the tell-tare whisper chirping of a wary, old blue. I sat down on the trail and waited. I knew he was close, but I couldn’t find him. Then, he turned his head and I caught the movement.

I was able to fire a single shot with the 22-ounce Pak-Rifle at about 20 yards.

 

Ultralight for Meat

The remarkable thing about this hunt was that it wasn’t a hunt. I was trail running, and happened to throw the ultralight Pak-Rifle into my pack “just in case”. In fact, when I came across the first covey, I thought to myself, “oh, neat, look at the grouse.” I forgot I was even carrying the rifle.

 

And therein lies the beauty of the Pak-Rifle. For 22 ounces and change (that change being a handful of rounds), I can open up a new dimension to my fall hiking and foraging. Between the Pak-Rifle, and my Tenkara fly rod, I can have a complete hunt & fish combo for less than two pounds.

Incredible, when you think about it.

Trail Runnin’ Huntin’

I sure do like this form of hunting. I covered seven miles yesterday, trail running and hunting, is just a few hours. There is something about blitzing through the mountains in trail runners (instead of these) and wearing a hydration pack that stores the gun inside of it, that is refreshingly simple.

Crash and Burn

I took a whipper of a fall at the end of my run yesterday. Tripped over a root, went face first into the trail edge, and toppled topsy-turvy down the embankment. I didn’t even curse. Lots of “ugghhnnn” and “ooohhnngg” and “offfphtmggg”, but no cursing. I bled. Today, I ache. Tomorrow, I just may go do it all again, because the Bridgers make a better office:

Ryanbridgers