Today temperatures were close to freezing at noon and well above a few hours later. Got out with Jack and LJ in harness before it got too warm and skied with them for about 30 minutes. It’s great as the up and down terrain has them alternating between pulling hard and almost free running, there are even a couple of places on our loop where I have to actually ski. The first loop around today was pretty eventful as LJ stopped shortly after the halfway point and was looking off to the field edge about 50 yards away. There were a lot turkey tracks as we made the turn and when I starting urging him to go on about 25 of them erupted from the field edge. Once they were gone, I thought we could get back to the house without further incident. However, about a hundred yards later as we entered a small field dotted with apple trees I noticed something move under a fir tree on the edge, about the time I realized it was a grouse, it blew out right in front of Jack and the puppy. Jack and I stopped to flush but LJ thought it might be fun to see where the grouse was going. I guess he forgot that he was harnessed to me and tethered to his father, about the time he came to “the end of his rope” I yelled whoa and the three of us watched the bird fly away. The grouse must have known that the shooting season was long over because it flew right out in the open providing able opportunity to empty both barrels. Either that or he was one of the birds we’d flushed many, many times during the late summer and fall and never tried to kill. I literally had more than 100 grouse flushes in training and hunting on my own property in 2011 — I think I shot two birds for the puppy here during the season — when we were elsewhere we may not have been such good conservationists. There are still lots of birds around and expect there will be plenty of hens to nest this spring. If we have good weather in late May and early June it should be another strong grouse year. Hopefully what little snow we have will clear out early and we’ll get a stronger woodcock nesting season then we had last year.
Posted in Current News.