You can tell we’ve been hunting for over six weeks straight. Tony and the Great Carnoski don’t even show up until after 8 am and we only take four dogs instead of 6 or more. In fact Tony suggested yesterday that maybe would should start only taking three. The fact that riffle deer season started Wednesday here makes us a little cautious especially at either end of the day and if there are any deer hunter’s trucks near our spots we drive on. Today is the first Saturday of rifle season and I just kept the dogs home today. Hopefully we’ll stay on bare ground and be able to keep hunting until the grouse season ends at the end of December. The snow has held off the last two years, but it wasn’t all that long ago that it snowed on Veteran’s Day and we didn’t see bare ground again until mid-April.
Yesterday, we hunted some covers that are new to us this year and we are still trying to figure them out. In the first one Bee pointed three grouse in a part of the cover that we hadn’t gotten to before. Then LJ ran in the Dumb Grouse Cover, but the birds are getting a little educated. His first find had him relocating twice to end up pointing solidly with four grouse spread out around him. As the dog handler I wasn’t carrying a gun and hit the ground when bird #2 flushed in front of me but it never got up high enough for Tony to have a safe shot. Birds #1 and #3 flushed without affording either wing a shot. Tony got one off at bird #4 but it too escaped unscathed. LJ had another find where the bird flushed well behind him and really didn’t give anybody a good shot. We had a 6th bird flush when LJ was working into it but it was near the end of the hunt and flew right at Tony’s new truck.
Trash, the dog that was on fire one day recently, wasn’t on this day which reminded us that we really are hunting a whole string of young dogs. G III was the last one out of the truck and surprised us all with a nice find on a woodcock that got to fly free as the season closed on the 14th. Ten grouse and one woodcock maybe our lowest bird count since the season opened.