Friday, November 04, 2011

Birds so far

Figured I'd fill space until Pete or Rich contribute the write-up on the Old T trip. Here's a summary of my bird season to date. Before I went to MN, I got Brody out hunting at the FLNF for a couple hours, moved 1 grouse, and Brody pointed two woodcock (2/2). I left Spy home when I went to MN -- I figured all that travel and crate time would be a bit much for a 14 yr old dog. In MN I was able to work Brody several hours scouting coverts and guiding a few hunters. (photos: MN double rainbow, Earl's ES Otto w/ Earl's DIY tricked-out mudflaps, Brody pointing a woodcock). On the way home I was able to hunt half a day. After I packed the car, the first stop on the way home was some paper company land in MN. Tried a couple spots ("fishing") but did not move any birds over a couple hours. The temp was nice -- 50s -- but it was very windy. The final spot was also on paper company land that had been cut periodically. Lots of stands of aspen from <5 old sapling to mature. I popped a grouse that I bumped. Wing-tipped him, and fortunately Brody caught it. Little while later Brody went on point where I saw a woodcock settle in. I walked up expecting a woodcock, but instead two grouse rocketed out simultaneously, away and high. I missed two shots at one bird. In about 15 seconds Brody was on point again. This time the bird came over me high and I dropped it behind me. Over the next 1.5 hrs we moved a few grouse (pointed, bumped or bumped by me) and a couple woodcock. Killed a pointed wc. The final action was a long walk to the beeper. I swung wide, and flushed a red phase bird about 30 yards ahead of Brody, and fortunately killed it. We hunted that place about 3 hours total. Brody handled nice -- I didn't have to talk much. I ran him w/ a beeper on point only, and a bell. Seems to work nicely. Got to have the beeper -- he's hard to see and ranges well out of gun range. The grouse seemed harder to handle this year -- sneaky runners and silent escape "hop flights" well out. The age ratio of grouse from the hunt was pretty heavy to adults. The birds I killed were two adults and one youngster.

Back in NY for a week, I ran Brody almost daily on the backyard woodcock. Just training runs, no guns. (photo pointing local woodcock on a rainy day). I hunted Brody one afternoon at the nearby state forest. Moved two grouse (no points) and one woodcock (pointed, bagged).

The last week of October I was in Maine. Work trip, but I was able to get out hunting a couple hours a few of the days. Had a great time in my old home coverts outside Old Town, but for the life of me I could not connect on a grouse! (just like old times). We moved on average 4 grouse and 3 or 4 woodcock per hour; got points on about 75% of the grouse. Did well on woodcock. Later, out in the vicinity of Grand Lake Stream, the woodcock were just as abundant but the grouse were more variable (1-4 per hour). I heard later that friends in Aroostook County were averaging 10 grouse flushed per hour... Anyway, I had the pleasure of hunting over a friend's springer, which served up a grouse and a few woodcock for me.

Back again in NY, the boys and I tried to find a backyard woodcock with Brody, with intent to kill, but we came up empty. I think our local birds had skedaddled. I got Brody out again to the local state forest, and in 2 hours we moved 4 spooky grouse and 1 woodcock (see Brody's mouth, below). Now with 10 days left in the woodcock season I want to get ol' Spy out for a last chance at a last bird -- a point, maybe a photo op, hopefully feathers in the mouth.


KGT (aka Cagey) said...

awesome reports!

Anonymous said...

Path Walker, it was fun to stumble across you and Brody in the blogosphere. We enjoyed meeting you guys in the Grand Lake Stream area. Hope to run into you again in the future. Great report.

-- Bill and Zico