Scouting & Predictions

Bode points a woodcock on July 27
We were a little late to the party, but we finally started scouting for grouse and woodcock this week, focusing primarily on some local covers in Vermont. Much like mythical Sisyphus, rolling his gigantic boulder uphill only to watch it roll down again to the bottom, I always find it a bit difficult to start the process of getting myself ready for another grouse hunting season. Yes, I enjoy the offseason a bit too much at times …

Just like the rest of the eastern U.S.,
we have had some great summer weather (70's and 80's, hot and humid), which is particularly difficult to walk the grouse woods in. It's hot, thick and nasty out there, and I for sure am paying the price for a slovenly winter and fishing way too much this summer. I'm not much for the treadmill generally, but it will become my best friend prior to October.

Was Monty pointing a snowshoe hare or a fleeing grouse?
Bode and Monty have enjoyed their early morning stints out in the woods this week - lots of water and mostly brief sessions for the two of them. We have found a few birds here and there, with Bode excelling on woodcock - he found 3 on Wednesday, two of which were pointed, and 5 more today, with two pinned as a result of his points. He's patterning well and hunting close, which is great to see after a layoff of a couple of months. Monty found 6 grouse yesterday, 4 of which were in a family unit, as well as 2 singles. None of them were pointed, but the conditions have not been particularly suited for bird scent either.

The woods are very dry right now up here (thankfully not as dry as down south), so looking for cool, damp places are where we're more likely to find birds. The season is a little over two months away and we're excited. Hopefully we're all ready for it.


Are you crazy? There's no way I'm going out on a limb to predict how we might fare this fall! I've taken too much guff in the past for leading readers astray …
All I will say is that if you walk farther and work harder than most other grouse hunters, you'll probably put yourself in a good position to succeed - in other words, do the same things you do every year!