Hunt #3 2013

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We did a little driving to revisit a spot that showed a little promise last year. We marked it as a likely return spot after putting up about 5-6 birds over the course of a morning. It’s about a 2 hour drive to the north of me and the land is part of a state management plot surrounding a secluded lake. The one problem we found with the cover last year was the thick boggy bottom land. While it does hold promise of not-so-common woodcock contacts, it is SO thick with greenbriars and the like that it is nearly impossible to hunt. 3 of the birds I put up last year were pointed and I had time to move in and flush, but never saw them even though they went up less than 25 ft from me. This year the cover proved to be even thicker. We pushed the bottom land with no luck. The dog worked like a trooper keeping close and in range. He got tangled in the briers a few times himself, but kept on going. After a couple of hours with no flushes, we moved across the road. The cover on that side is fairly mature hardwoods, but there are small brushy patches with blowdowns and young pines in the 3-4′ range. It’s nice grousey looking stuff. With the cover opening up, the dog likes to open up a little too. He started ranging a little far and then started listening less to me as he did. I heard a ruckus ahead and the sound of the dog running to me when I called. He was whimpering and whining and at a dead run. About the time he became visible, I saw a flash of white and thought he had just run by me, but turned to see a small doe instead. Gus came hot on her heels in pursuit still whimpering like he was being beaten. It was kind of funny, but I was of course horrified to see him chasing a deer. I called, and he broke of chase immediately. It was the first time he’s ever done that, and just further reinforced the need for a strong e-collar without any range limitations. We headed back toward the truck with the dog working nicely ahead and between the two of us. As the truck came into sight, I broke open the trusty double barrel and slung it over my shoulder. Almost on cue a bird soft flushed between Brian and I and made a nice gentle ascent…the best look of the season so far. I sat there with gun over shoulder and watched. Brian didn’t make a shot and turned just in time to see him leaving. After loading the dog back in the truck I paused on pulling out of our spot to check out a small pile of feathers to the side of the road…there it was…one of OUR grouse hit in the road some time in the last hour. The day did not go as I planned. We scouted a couple of spots I had marked on google earth as places of interest, but they turned out to be not the cover I had hoped for. After looking at the clock and seeing it was getting later than we thought we called it a day. About an hour down the road Brian pulled out his phone and said…Hey…we could still be hunting. You’re clock is an hour fast. Yet another fail on the day…the truck clock had not been set back for daylight savings last weekend. Not the day I hoped for, but a good day afield nonetheless.

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