|4 Grouse and 1 Woodcock
Sunday October 13th 2013
The dogs and I were back in the Deer River area to try our luck at finding some more grouse. It had been a long drive the day before to get there. We had started Saturday by heading up to Willmar, MN to talk with a farm owner about getting access to his land to try some pheasant hunting. He agreed and we spent just over an hour making a quick pass to see if we could get a rooster. All the corn was still up and it was starting to rain so we pulled the plug and made the drive to Deer River.
We went to what has become our favorite spot in the area. There was already an ATV parked in the spot that we like to start out at. It is a large area so we drove to a secondary parking area. Tasha got the call to be the first one to hunt. At 17 months old I am just wanting to get her into birds. I’m hoping that she will handle them well when she finds them but I won’t get bent out of shape if we get more bumps than points.
After about 5 min she started to get birdy and a grouse broke from the cover. I fumbled with the safety but didn’t get the shot off. While I was cursing myself another bird got up and was away before I could get on it... We approached an area that is a bit lower and wetter than the other cover. Tasha made a nice flash point on a woodcock and I was able to take it on the second shot. On the way out Tasha bumped another grouse. I wasn’t upset as we were working with the wind and as soon as she scented it she spun to point and the bird got up. It was a little bit farther out than I am comfortable shooting so I passed on it.
Our second spot is an area that Marge ( my setter who we put down this spring at 17 1/2 ) had good luck hunting at 16 years old. It was a shorter trail and she usually was able to get a good point in the first couple of hundred yard or so. Tina got to hunt this one. We worked the trail that we normally do but then were able to check out a new cut. As we hit one spot I was saying to myself “ how can there not be a bird here “ and sure enough Tina locked up and I was able to take it with a single shot.
The third spot is another small area. This is my third season hunting this area and we have always seen a bird here but have never taken one. I was hoping that Tasha would break the streak and we could take a bird. We worked the trail out and then bushwhacked it back. She moved well through the woods and was working the cover but we didn’t move a bird.
For the last hunt of the day we returned to the first spot and were able to park in the spot that we wanted to start out. About 20 minutes into the hunt Tina made a nice point a ways into the cover. As I started to move up towards her the bird came charging out and I made a quick right to left swing and took a shot. I didn’t see the bird go down but it did look like it maybe bobbed a bit. We went in and looked around a fair amount and didn’t see anything and as we started to walk out I happened to look down and it was tucked into some brush. It had gone an amount farther after my shot than I had thought. As we neared the turnaround on the trail Tina made another nice point and I was able to take it on a straight away shot.
On the way out she made another point and I walked past her a good distance to try to trap the bird between us. As I walked in Tina held steady but I didn’t move a bird. As I got right next to her a bird broke a good 25-30 yards behind me. I hadn’t gone quite far enough up the trail before cutting in. About 5 minutes later she went on point again so I went even farther up the trail this time hoping to not have a repeat. I got to within 5 or 6 feet of her and started to think it might be a woodcock holding tight and then right between us was the grouse. I could have thumped it with my barrel. I finally got it to flush but didn’t hit it until the second shot.
We ended up taking another grouse on the way out. It was a nice flush and a easier shot but I’ll take an easy one as I know most are not that way.
For the day we moved 13 grouse and 8 woodcock. As far as shooting I went 4/6 for grouse but only 1/5 on woodcock.
|Another Hunter Beat Us To Some Prime Cover