Rudy and Monty have been running the grouse woods the last couple of weeks, checking out some of our old haunts and trying to discover a few new ones. Greta, continuing her best Brett Favre imitation (straight out of retirement in to games, no training camp, thank you!) has been frequently swimming the lake to get in bird finding shape. The “boys” have found their share of birds of both varieties: we encountered 8 grouse at various locations yesterday, and 8 grouse and 7 woodcock in two hours of scouting on Tuesday, an astonishing amount of birds in so little time. Rudy looks to be in fine form right now, and Monty has chipped in with some points as well - he’ll definitely be a mainstay on our hunts this fall.
Of course, we won’t truly know how this fall will turn out until we’re actually foraging the grouse woods, but it looks good right now, which is plenty to get me fired up for the opener in two weeks!
In between learning his commands and beginning his mascot duties, Monty has been running with Rudy and Greta, learning the ropes of what it takes to find grouse and woodcock. While we’ve been encountering some birds, Monty has been more focused on keeping up with the older dogs than trying to actually find our feathered friends. All of that changed however on Tuesday, 8/23, when he pointed his first grouse (twice). We were fortunate to bump in to a brood of about 7 or 8 birds - there were so many that I had a hard time counting them all - and both Rudy and Monty took turns pointing members of this group, as they had split up just prior to us getting there. It was exciting for sure, and something that I won’t soon forget.
The season opener is little over a month away now, so I think he’s right on track for a good first grouse season.
Monty has been learning some basic commands and how to be a good citizen at the lodge and at home, and he’s become quite a swimmer. He has taken to the water far earlier than either Greta or Rudy, so we’ll see if his education in the woods progresses as quickly.
Now to the real important stuff: Grouse. NH Fish & Game predictions are for a better than average upcoming season for us based on the Wing and Tail Survey conducted last fall. The latest numbers from this spring’s drumming survey should also be out soon as backup data. I heard quite a few drummers this spring while out turkey hunting, so that was a good sign and the weather the last two weeks has been phenomenal, which is all good for baby grouse. As usual, June will be the all important month for the chicks and their survival. We’ll know better a month from now ...
We’ve seen birds each time we’ve gone out, but two evenings ago was something special. At one of our favorite haunts, in a mere two hours we encountered 7 grouse and 1 woodcock, and 6 of the grouse were pointed staunchly. Sometimes it was Greta, sometimes it was Rudy, but most of the time it was by both of them. They look pretty sharp already, which is great to see. Somehow they bumped the woodcock, but I’ll give them a pass on that one - they were incensed with the scent of grouse that day!
More updates will be along soon.