Let’s face it, Tony has enough Italian in him that he figures if he just keeps arguing the same point over and over again he’ll eventually get his way. So to avoid further whining and future Italian justice I will no longer be posting the dog of the day on the blog. I will however continue with reports of our days in the woods and with the progress of the dogs.
Friday we met at the church down the street and left Tony’s truck and headed out in search of some new cover and hopefully some grouse. It’s really curious how we saw a lot of adult birds early in the spring and then a large number of big broods early in the training season and then the grouse just seemed to evaporate. Later in August they will all start turning up in our more traditional fall grouse covers but yesterday may have just been too soon to find them in any numbers.
The first cover we hit is one we had just walked into earlier in the spring and thought it might have potential. If people ever wonder why grouse hunters (and dog trainers) are so protective of their covers this new one is a perfect example. Friday we ran Jack and Bee in it and tried to get the lay of the land. We covered a lot of ground but didn’t find the most promising section until the dogs had been down for about an hour and it was time to head back to the truck. We’ll probably train in it a few more times in August and then hunt it some this fall until we get it figured out. As it was we moved four woodcock and four grouse in just over an hour. By the time this becomes a reliable training and hunting cover we will have many hours of scouting and running dogs invested in it.
Our second cover of the morning is one of our best late season grouse covers and when we were last in it in April we moved 17 grouse and 9 woodcock. This is a cover that took us a few years to figure out and we are still finding new sections of it as we continue to explore. For every good cover we have there are probably 5 or 6 that didn’t pan out that we spent time and dog power testing. (If you want to steal those we’ll give you the map;).) LJ and Frankie got this cover and the shooting started early and continued throughout the hour plus they were on the ground. When the smoke cleared they had each had 7 woodcock finds and 0 grouse. Those nine woodcock we found in April apparently we found in April seemed to have had some nesting success and I’m sure we could have found a lot more birds if we’d put another pair down in one of the other parts of the cover, but instead we moved on down the road and ran Trip and Little Thuddy. They ran well together although Trip tended to get to the birds first and the Thudster had a couple of backs on four finds by Trip before he had a bird of his own which provided Tony with a perfect training opportunity.
The total for the three braces was 23 woodcock and 4 grouse.