Marge and her Friday Grouse
I left for Grand Rapids and make it to my hunting spot around 1 pm. It was 55 degs with a nice breeze. There was already a camper in one of the parking spots. I had a feeling it would be a popular place. I ended up talking with two different camping groups and they both had been camping in the same spots for over 10 years. It isn’t like this is a secret spot... Tina and I hit our usual spots and were able to take a bird. Marge and I went out and were able to pick up another on a nice point along a swampy edge. Fergie got to go for her usual short stroll but we didn’t put up any birds. I took Tina back out for short session before dark and we picked up another grouse and a woodcock. Saw decent number of birds but didn’t shoot quite as well as I would have liked.
Tina with 5 Grouse From Saturday
We hit the woods at 8 am and there were already the camper plus another SUV parked. The day started briskly at 35 degs and a nice breeze, a perfect day for dog work. I started with Tina and we got into birds right away. Actually too soon as I wasn’t ready for the action to start and missed an easy shot. We worked our way to a lower area and got a nice point but a blown shot as I was trying to cross a blow down. Shortly afterwards another point on the edge of some small pines and I was able to connect. We worked our way to an old tree farm that had a new shooting lane cut by it. It is tough walking through the area and I usually end up bumping birds out of the other end but this time a young dumb one cooperated and I was able to put another one in the bag. As we left he tree farm we circled towards an area that had a lot of small cuts so it created a nice area of edge. We had a wild flush that I wasn’t able to connect on but a second bird stayed around and provided an easier shot over a point that I was able to connect on. I decided to start my way back to the truck to give Tina a break and to give Marge a chance at some birds. The grouse gods tempted me with a nice point and an easy shot that I made. I put Tina on a leash after that as I was hoping not to move anymore birds. One of the camping groups must have thought I was odd to be walking my dog through the woods on a leash. I even had to pass on a view easy opportunities as we walked out. I was hoping that this strategy wouldn’t come to bite me in the butt. It was 11 am and we should have been filled out.
I took out Marge and we made our way back into the woods. The birds that had been all too plentiful were not so easily found. I was also running a bell on Marge so I could keep track of her since she can’t hear me too well any longer. We went down a trail that bordered a 15 year old clear cut. I can remember when I could see all the way across the cut. Now it is too thick to see 10 feet. Marge had a soft point at the far edge of the area but I didn’t make the shot. We worked another section of trail that has produced in the past but didn’t even get a soft point out of the area. We made a turn in the trail back towards the starting point and Marge made a nice point right along the trail and I was able to complete the task and put the bird in the bag. While walking out we didn’t see any more birds until the last 250 yds before the truck. We were all done and packed up by 2 pm. Back into town and dinner at “The Grand Buffet”.
Sunday morning I woke up with a sore throat and decided to bag hunting as I had a friend that was flying in to go hunting the next weekend and I didn’t want to chance getting sick.
One of the reasons that I may have had a less high shooting percentage over this weekend is that I was switching among three different guns 12 ga semi, 16 ga O/U, and a 20 ga semi. I like to try different guns just to see what they are like but I am sure it throws off my percentages a bit.