In the 26 years I’ve bird hunting here in Northern New Hampshire, I have always considered any days we could run dogs in December as bonus days. The earliest we’ve been shut of the woods was one year when it snowed about 10″ on Veteran’s Day and we didn’t see bare ground again until well after the middle of April. That was a long winter. Another year it was well below zero every morning from Thanksgiving to Christmas. It’s not that you can’t find birds in the snow it’s just that usually get a crust on early snow that is really hard on the dogs. Other years we’ve been on bare ground right to the end of December. Looking ahead at the 10 day forecast we’ve got both snow and cold coming our way next week. This week Tony I hunted Sunday, Wednesday, and today (Thursday). Each day has been better then the previous one with relatively mild temperatures for the time of year which means above freezing. Sunday and yesterday were both in the mid-30s and today the temperature topped out at 41. All three days have been overcast and relatively calm giving the grouse a sense of security that they dog have on bluebird days or in the wind. Number have been good but the birds that have survived to this point in the season are pretty well educated and usually flush far out ahead of the dog and rarely provide good shots. That said, it’s always exciting to hear the thunder of grouse.
Today, called for rain late in the afternoon and we only put three dogs on the truck. All three dogs got into birds, but Wild Apple Samantha gave me the best shooting opportunities and I manage to knock down two for her. Both were over staunch points where I was able to flush the birds before she broke. Both times Tony was in perfect position but the birds flew my way.
Last year I was able to get a picture of Tony with a nice string of bucks. This year the best we could do was find a meat pole with only a couple little bucks.
|The deer Tony “claimed” last year.|
|This year’s he could only find two! 😉|