|Tina With Her Deer River MN Woodcock and Grouse
When going grouse hunting it usually helps if you bring the f’n guns with. I had planned on trying out two new ( new to me ) Hunter Walking Trails in the Bowstring area but as I was 40 minutes into our 45 minute drive I realized that I had forgotten to put any guns into the Trailblazer. I turned around and went back to the cabin, grabbed a gun, and headed out back to hunt. Since I had lost 90 minutes of hunting time I decided to head back to my new old reliable walking trail.
Tina got the call as usual. We made our way past the the first blow down without moving any birds but she started to get real birdy as we approached an area that is blowdowns and a few pine trees mixed in. She went on point about 20 yards into the blow down and as I tried to pick out a good spot to move towards her a grouse took off another 10 yards past her. I wasn’t quick enough to get off a shot.
After another 15 minutes of walking we came to an area that was a bit lower and wetter than the surrounding terrain and Tina started to tighten up her range. She tightened it up to a nice solid point. I made my way further up the trail and started to cut back to her in hopes of trapping the bird between us. I got closer and closer and no flush but also no movement from Tina. I got close enough to start to check out the cover right in front of her and was able to spot the woodcock right in front of her. One more step and the bird came up. I held off on the shot as I’m not that big on eating woodcock. As the day progressed we moved a total of seven woodcock and I ended up taking one to reward Tina for all of her hard work.
Towards the end of the trail we took a smaller trail that loops through a newer area of clear cut as we got to the transition area Tina locked up and was looking off to her left. I was looking for a way in when the grouse made its escape from behind a pine tree. Two steps either direction and I would have had a clear shot but as it was I could only just watch it fly off.
The next bird wasn’t so lucky. We had turned around and were headed back through a section of small pines when Tina started to move into the cover. I could hear her making her way through some of the thicker area and then I didn’t hear her moving any longer. Her point was confirmed by her beeper going off. I continued up the trail a short distance until I could find a good entry point. I made it about 15 yards into the cover before I could see that she was still in full point mode. Just as I pulled even with her the grouse flushed and gave me a right to left passing shot. I connected but it wasn’t a fatal blow. Tina gave chase and brought the bird to me. She doesn’t always do a full retrieve so that fact that she did made it extra special.
On the rest of the walk back to the truck we moved three more grouse and I wasn’t able to connect with any of the birds. As usual the problem was between the gun and the boots.
Considering that the day started with me making a major blunder I was happy to have moved six grouse and seven woodcock while collecting one of each.