There’s not a lot of time between trials in the fall to get ready for the next one. That’s one of the reasons we spend so much time in the woods in the summer. After returning from New York on Saturday we got out on Sunday afternoon with some of the dogs that didn’t make the trip. The wind was blowing pretty good and the birds weren’t where they had been when we’d run this cover in the mornings. The first pair of dogs, Abbie and Deuce, had a divided find on a grouse that we couldn’t flush and then after they had left Tony and I walked it up going back to the trail. There was one other grouse that got up wild before Deuce got a chance at him. Trey and the Beastie ran second and Trey scored on a woodcock as we were almost back to the truck.
Monday morning and today, Tony and I met at the gate at 6:30 with two braces of dogs and Mariah to run by herself. It was a tough morning. Trey and Teddy ran first and Trey dug out the only bird in a spot where we hadn’t seen one all summer. Ginger and Jack ran next and had two woodcock each in about a half hour. Then we ran Mariah in an area that had been holding quite a few woodcock. They were no where to be found until we got way down in back and there was a pair of them right on the bank. I got Mariah into the area and she got a whiff of them as they left. So far the lessons of the early summer are staying with her as I give her a little more freedom each time out.
In the afternoon, I took Deuce and Minnie over to the quail pen to do some work only to discover that I had left the net and bird bag in the tractor bucket the last time I had fed and watered the birds, which turned out to be a good thing. I ran Minnie first and she pointed a brood of 8 grouse down at the south end of the property. I swung her up through the woods and back to the truck where I put the collar and bell on Deuce and cut him loose. I made a swing down where most of the birds had flown and was disappointed when I walked one up. I shouldn’t have worried. Deuce came in and pointed nearby and two more got up. A fourth one flushed on its own. He than made a swing in the other direction where he pointed a fifth bird. Then we made the turn back only to have him go on point on a pair, birds 6 & 7, Just before we got back to the bird field he pointed grouse had a stop-to-flush on grouse number 8. I guess it work out for the best.
This morning we were back at it early and had what for us was a rather disappointing morning. Jack and Kerby ran together with Kerby having a stop-to-flush on a grouse where we had just flush one or two others. And later Jack had a single grouse that I inadvertently flushed right into his face when I was looking for him. Fortunately he didn’t move a muscle. We then ran The Missile and Deuce with Deuce getting credit for one woodcock although he may have had another where he stood for a long time and moved up at least once when we were going to him. So the total for the morning was 3 or 4 grouse and 1 woodcock in a cover where Ginger and Jack often had double digit finds each last summer. Go figure.