The Final Tune Up

So this is it for us intrepid hunters of grouse and woodcock. Only a few days left before the opener in New Hampshire, and the Vermont grouse and woodcock seasons open in less than 48 hours. Thanks to the wet spring and early summer that we had, it seems as though our foliage is brilliant and perhaps a bit ahead of schedule than in years past, which is a good thing when you're trying to hit an acrobatic grouse on his well arbored escape route.

We've been out scouting as often as possible over the last two months, and we had some better days this week. While we are still making contact with the occasional brood of grouse, there have been far more singles and doubles this week, so perhaps the fall shuffle has begun.

The woodcock that we've encountered have mostly been in close proximity of each other, in appropriate cover for them. Today I was able to take this picture of woodcock drillings in a freshly created woods road that was pretty muddy and hadn't set up much yet. Apparently they must have liked it, because there was lots of splash and a lot of these drillings around. And what of the woodcock, you may ask? We never saw one, so they must have only been using this area exclusively for feeding.

Yesterday morning we managed to point
(and sometimes disturb) seven grouse and seven woodcock in about two hours of scouting, while today we only managed one grouse in two points, with one grouse sneaking out before I could get to Rudy. That's the way it has been - good to great in some of our sessions, while others have been just a great walk in the woods.

That's why it's hunting and I would have it no other way