Poplars, popple, aspen, it’s all the same to us grouse hunters and it almost always means the same thing: birds. That’s because young grouse favor the leaves of young poplars over almost all other woodland foods. Supposedly, the leaves of young poplars offer more sustenance for young grouse than nearly anything else that they find out there, so that’s why we’re seeing them in these places now.
The million dollar question is what about during the hunting season? While grouse may not necessarily be in these young poplar stands, they will surely be in the vicinity of these stands once the hunting season starts, so if you see a stand of trees with golden leaves (they look like golden coins hanging from the trees during the foliage season), head towards it and hunt around it. You may just stumble in to a bird or two!
We have more work to do before the season starts, but we’re really looking forward to the fall. In the Merrimack Valley Chapter’s supportive environment, it was a great day for all of the dogs and their owners - everybody passed the test! Thanks also to our frequent guest Don Day for taking his great pictures of the event.
Monty is continuing in his bird dog education lately, as he prepares for his N.A.V.H.D.A. (North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association) Natural Ability test this coming Sunday. He has lately been learning the finer points of water retrieving and tracking. He showed great ability last hunting season (as some of you know) with pointing and retrieving, so hopefully he stays on track for this season.
If you have a young bird dog and want to bond with and learn from your dog, preparing a dog for a N.A.V.H.D.A. test can be a great way to do this and forge your partnership with your dog. The tests are fun, non-competitive, and usually somewhat close by. Go to N.A.V.H.D.A.’s website for more information on a chapter near you.
I’ll let you know how he does!!