21 October 2012
25/10/12 Filed in: 2012 Bird Hunting
After a few days off, it was time to get back at it with Monty and long time client Mike Scarks today. Conditions were sunny, low 30s to start this morning, but topping out at about 60 early this afternoon. Scenting conditions were particularly good this morning, and Monty did a nice job of making some great points on both grouse and woodcock. His most impressive point was a 4-5 minute special, where he held his point beautifully until Mike and I could get to him - alas, that one got away. The next woodcock didn’t get away, however, and Mike made a nice shot on that one.
Today we were in two of the better woodcock holding covers that we’ve hunted over the last several years. We only moved five woodcock in probably 3 hours in these areas, which was surprising. We saw lots of chalk in one of the areas, but not many birds, perhaps signalling that the birds had already moved on. There was another good frost last night, so maybe the woodcock “got out of Dodge.” These are upland covers, so if you specifically target woodcock, you might want to hunt the low lying stream beds more over the next week or so. Bad weather’s coming this weekend, so maybe that will prevent any others that are already here from leaving.
Monty did a very good job today on his healing wheel - he had his boot on from last week’s injury, and thankfully it didn’t affect his nose at all. He was a pointing machine for a while today, racking up solid holding points on several of the grouse we encountered and four of the five woodcock as well. Unfortunately, his brace mate Rudy is down for a couple of weeks while his injured foot heals from an infection caused by a grass awn in all probability. Monty will be “the man” for a while, so we’ll try to keep him healthy for the remainder of the season.
22/10/12 Filed in: 2012 Bird Hunting
Rudy and I explored the Silvio Conte Wildlife Refuge in Vermont this afternoon, with some good results. This is a huge refuge, and eventhough there were a few other hunters that we saw along the extensive network of logging roads in the refuge, we never met anyone in the woods, and it was a very relaxing way to spend some time outdoors. There are spruce grouse also in this refuge, and although I have never seen any, there are lots of signs explaining the similarities and differences between ruffs and spruce grouse. If you have any doubt about the bird that you just flushed, don’t pull the trigger because it could be a fool’s hen!
In all honesty, I’ve skied and snowshoed extensively in the areas that we were in today, so I had plenty of knowledge of the areas that we were checking, and some of the likely grouse hiding spots. We had action almost immediately, as Rudy made a solid point on a young grouse that took its time getting away from the edge of the road. Surprisingly, I made a good shot, and a mere ten minutes later, I connected on another grouse that Rudy made a great find on. After my shot, the bird set its wings and sailed about seventy yards down the road in front of us, without us seeing it’s ultimate landing spot. A few minutes later, Rudy pointed the dead bird off the road’s edge, and we had recovered our second grouse of the day.
That would be it for lucky shots for me, but Rudy kept right on pointing - in fact, he had five more memorable points on grouse this afternoon. Either the bird would get out well out of range of my gun, my shot would be errant, or the bird simply would put a tree between itself and me. That’s ok - we had a great day and felt fortunate to connect on two birds in the first place. We ended up moving 12 grouse and 3 woodcock for the afternoon, so it was well worth going in to the Silvio Conte Wildlife Refuge.