Almost There!

Well, fall certainly seems to be in the air these days. As if the preliminary changing of our foliage wasn’t enough, we’ve had two weeks straight of cold, rainy weather, making our beautiful sunny days of this summer a distant memory, and all of this has combined to raise our excitement for the coming grouse and woodcock season.

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!

Monty's first Point!

Ok, this wasn’t the first point, and no, Monty’s not learning how to hold one ear up at a time!

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.


Back Lake Monsters?

Is that the mysterious “Back Lake Monster” that has been rumored to haunt the depths of our lake? No, we don’t have a “Nessie” here, it’s just Rudy, Greta, and Monty all taking a swim on a beautiful summer day. This has been the only safe way to get them some exercise over the last month, because it’s just been too hot and humid. However, August 1 is just around the corner and we’ll be getting out early in the morning and in the evening to get a grasp on what the local grouse and woodcock are doing this year. We’ll let you know as soon as we know ...

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.


The New Kid in Town

The rumors have all been true: Monty arrived last week to begin his indoctrination to the world of all things bearing feathers. As the new “lodge dog”, Monty’s gotten plenty of attention from our guests, which has been great for him in his development. Right now, training centers around getting the lay of the land, obedience, and fitting in with Greta and Rudy. As expected, Rudy has adopted his new best buddy pretty easily, while the process may take longer with Greta - she can be a hard nut to crack at times. We hope to have him out and hunting with us later this fall. He especially likes to pal around with his older brother Rudy (on the left), wherever he goes.

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 ...

It's a New Season!

One of the benefits of an early spring is the ability to get out there and run your dogs prior to the nesting season for grouse and woodcock. Greta, Rudy and I have gotten out a few times to not only work on our games and get some exercise, but also to see just how things may shape up for the coming season. Considering the season that we had in 2009, and the positive reports that came from NH Fish & Game’s Grouse Wing and Tail Survey from last fall, things are trending upward for grouse populations and us bird hunters.

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.