Last October was productive for many of us. Opportune time for those of us who have young dogs to have as many wild bird contacts as possible. So I went on our hunt in a patch we call….The Country Club. I was hunting with the usual suspects… Sam and Frank, and we had moved a few birds the previous time we hunted this well-manicured piece of property. Brush hogged so that there are small patches of young saplings, there is a great break between each piece to view the dog and shoot. Young as my dog is, he has a tendency to get out in front and sometimes too eager as birds spook at his energy in hitting the bush. I called him back in to remind him to stay within range, he settled in.
Methodically working our way up the gentle grade of the hillside, we left no stone unturned. We wanted Frank to bag his first Grouse (New to Grouse Hunting) so we placed him in the middle of our line working our way across the hill. Fatso had a few unproductive points as birds must have just been there. Our anticipation was at a high as we watched him point staunchly each time. None the less, We didn’t get a shot off on that hillside and started to make our way down the hill.
At the bottom of the hill was a really good DOODLE looking patch of dogwoods. Boggy and wet, it is maneuverable to walk through. Frank had stayed in it with Fatso as they made their way through it while Sam and I took the abandoned roadway below them. The next thing we know Fatso went on point in front of Frank in the thick. The dog held the bird but the limbs were crossing and you almost have to bend down through many of the patches in there. By this point Sam had gone ahead of me and was north of Frank and the dog on the roadway. We heard a flush and this bird flew across the road and into a small pine lot above a swamp.
It just goes to show how important it is to properly place the hunters while Grouse hunting. Had we placed Frank below the cover, this bird would have certainly flown above that patch into the cover we had just come down from. The bird had no choice but to fly into the open across the road and into a more manageable piece of land. I held the dog back so he didn’t get in ahead of us and we were properly positioned at the edge of this new piece. We took the far edge of the swamp with Sam, and Frank in the middle as Fatso and I took the far right. It was at about 50 yards in when the dog’s body language changed and lowered himself with tail high in a stretch. I screamed “Point”! And the dog set his foot down as the bird took flight. What an open shot I was lucky to have gotten on this big bird as I swung and rolled him. I marked this bird as fatso took off into the area where the bird had fallen, and pointed it dead. Locked up again, I signaled to the guys to make their way over as fatso broke in to retrieve the bird. I have to say, that was his first complete mission like that. He pointed, flushed, relocated it, pointed again and retrieved it. It was all coming together nicely for the young pup and made his master proud. As for the answer to the question…… He flew across the road to teach fatso how to handle the King Of Game Birds!