Cooling Off

A pretty good week of bird hunting this week, especially after the temps became more “seasonal”. It was still a bit on the “too warm for grouse hunting side”, but when you see those sad, plaintive eyes of man’s best friend and realize just how short the season is, you end up grabbing your gun and strapping on your boots anyway.

Earlier this week, I was fortunate to hunt with Mike Scarks and Lou Wood, and also, and most importantly, with Lou’s three year old setter Tessa. Tessa did a great job overall on both grouse and woodcock in our hunts together, as we moved somewhere around 12 - 15 birds in our first morning together. She has a great tempo in moving through the grouse woods, and definitely knows what she is doing, and should have many great seasons of grouse hunting ahead of her.

While Lou bagged three grouse and two woodcock and Mike took one woodcock in our time together, Tessa gave them plenty of good chances at other birds. There was plenty of lead in the air in our first day together - so much that Lou ran low on 16 gauge ammo, and had to switch over to his 12 gauge for the afternoon hunt. Mike let it fly quite a few times as well, so I can’t let him off the hook either ... Sorry Mike!

Even cooler weather is on the way for us over the week coming up, but the rain is supposed to continue. There seems to be lots of woodcock around right now, so we’ll see how this weather pattern affects them.

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If you see this when you’re looking for grouse, you’re getting hotter, because you’re in the right place. This pile of grouse guano was found on a mossy log on the edge of a regenerating clear cut, but we never did quite catch up with the bird that was responsible for this ...

Last weekend was rough for us grouse hunters with all of the rain, but this past weekend was actually worse - it was way too hot for hunting, for us and the dogs. We still had a couple of good days, but on Sunday, when the temps were at their highest, the birds were pretty hard to find. We hunted some upland coverts that morning, in the hopes that we’d be hitting them before the real heat started, but it quickly became way too warm for all of us. We moved to streamside locales later for the early afternoon, and while it was cooler, the damage had been done - a few bumped birds later, and we were done for the day. Dogs have a tough time scenting birds in warm weather, so Monty and Rudy got passes for their efforts.

Thankfully, we had a great day on Saturday, moving between 30 and 35 birds. No rhyme or reason to it - that’s why it’s hunting! We’ll hope for cooler weather soon, and it should be here by this weekend.