The town I live in is named Dummer (after a colonial governor Massachusetts) but this time of year it should be called Drummer! Tommy and I spent yesterday clearing the spot where the new kennel building and puppy shed will eventually go and every time the chainsaw was off we could hear grouse drumming. Over the course of the time we were working we identified at least five different locations a couple relatively close to the house the rest up the hill in and around the Wild Apple Kennel home cover which is 100 acres with a number of training loops through it.
Friday when Tony and I ran dogs we had three grouse finds and a woodcock and could hear multiple drummers the whole time we were working dogs and we had 10 dogs between us that we got out. Later that afternoon I drove out to the pit, where we target shoot, with my pistol to get in a little practice and could hear drummers all over the woods out there. on the way back I saw a bird in the road and it was good enough to hop up in a tree and pose for a picture.
|There aren’t many grouse that are this cooperative!|
Yesterday when I took the two little puppies, Molly and Dot, out on the puppy loop we flushed a grouse before we were out of the yard. The long winter and cold spring seem to have delayed the start of the drumming season which means the hens are only now starting to lay eggs. It takes the hens about 2 weeks to lay a full clutch of eggs and then 24 to 26 days to incubate them. With the males just starting to drum last week, shouldn’t have any grouse chicks hatching out until early June with some hatching even later than that. As far as fall grouse numbers are concerned the later the hatch the higher the chick survival rate and the more birds we’ll have to hunt. Really rotten weather during the hatch can drastically hurt the hatch. But considering the number of birds we’re hearing and seeing and the late start to the nesting season I am cautiously optimistic about this years hatch and next falls grouse numbers. We’ll know a lot more this summer when we start seeing just how big the broods.