Tall Timber Lodge

Bird dogs as a conservation tool

Bode retrieves our first grouse of today
Most hunters reading this blog might already use bird dogs to help them in their pursuit of upland birds. Not only is using a dog esthetically pleasing (i.e. the classic bird dog scene, where a faithful canine companion is coursing back and forth, in search of game in front of you), but taking upland game birds with a dog that you have trained over several years is immensely rewarding. Nevermind the countless numbers of birds that you'll find with a good dog working the cover thorougly, compared to the lone hunter on foot without a dog, or a group of hunters without a dog.

Another important point worth noting is how
dogs help us recover birds that would undoubtedly be lost if not for their noses, thus bringing me to the conclusion that a well trained bird dog serves as a conservation tool, helping us recover wounded game that would be lost without their exemplary canine olfactory powers.

I had just such an occurrence today, as I winged a fast flying grouse that hurtled down the trail in front of me. It went down with the shot, but then I saw it scampering back in to the woods on my right. When Bode came in to search for it, he also seemingly lost its track and we searched aimlessly for fifteen minutes or so.

We wouldn't have recovered this grouse without Bode's great nose!
I was resigned to a lost bird, which is beyond excruciating for me, but then Bode bounded in to the cover on our left, and lo and behold … came happily out of the cover with the grouse in his mouth. He pranced, proud as a peacock, for a few minutes with that grouse in his mouth, circling me, and I praised him wholeheartedly. Apparently the grouse had run across the trail while we were in on the other side.

I never would have found that bird on my own, there is no doubt about that, and Bode made a lousy situation a great one with his fantastic nose.

Think of all of the grouse and woodcock that are needlessly lost without the help of a good bird dog!
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NH Grouse Hunting Update: 10/2

Monty, with a grouse that he pointed and then retrieved from thick cover
The grouse and woodcock hunting seasons are underway here in northern New Hampshire and Vermont, and we've had a great start to our season. In two and a half days of hunting, we have moved/disturbed the daily habits of about 35 grouse and 35 woodcock - pretty solid numbers, especially considering that we haven't seen any flights of woodcock yet (they usually start coming through in a couple more weeks).

Thursday, as has already been documented, was a good day, as we moved 9 grouse and 22 woodcock in Vermont. We followed that with a morning session on Friday of 10 grouse and 1 woodcock, 2 of which were taken by my client.
An example of great dog work: Polly (l) honors Monty (c) as Randy moves in from the right
Randy's 5-year old GSP had worked so well on Thursday that we decided to run Polly together with my 6-year old Monty, and they preformed like they had been working together for years. They covered ground thoroughly, without being competitive and we even had a couple of points that were honored by the other dog - great to see, and I wished that Randy lived closer. They were quite a team.

Saturday was the opener in New Hampshire, and I went out once again with Mike and Sue and their nearly 3-year old setter Blue. Blue roamed the grouse woods like a true veteran, as she displayed patience in working the cover and pointed many of the 28 birds
(16 grouse, 12 woodcock) that we contacted yesterday. While Blue performed beautifully, the birds gave Mike and Sue limited chances - the woods are still mighty thick, and the birds seem to escape behind vegetation almost instantly.

Mike and Sue, proud of their Blue
The highlight of yesterday was when Blue went on a staunch point … and then four grouse broke loose. Mike made a nice shot on the fleeing grouse to our right, while the other three birds headed toward the road, where Sue was waiting. She dropped one of them and put the fear of God in another. That was Sue's first grouse taken on the wing, which was really great to see, and after watching Blue work yesterday, there will probably be quite a few more in Sue and Mike's future.

We have had excellent dog work these first three days, not only by Monty but from my clients' dogs as well. Hopefully this trend continues, and Bode and Rudy should see some work this week as well. More updates to come.

Guiding Update: I have the
following dates available - 10/4, 10/5, 10/22, 10/31, 11/1, 11/2, 11/3
Send me a message if you want to get out in the woods!
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