Friday, November 2, 2012

Exploring new Coverts

Thursday I headed north to explore a new covert that I had found late last hunting season. It looked like it had the potential to draw in some migrating woodcock. After making a wrong turn I got my bearings and found the clearcut that I was looking for.

It was a beautiful cut with clumps of aspen mixed with golden rod openings, birch & oak saplings and areas of dense greenbrier and barberry. Emma and I hunted it hard but had no luck moving any birds until we had worked our way back to the dirt road that I had parked on. As I reached the road Emma's bell went silent and I turned and pushed my way back into the cut. A woodcock flushed off to my left, but I was sure Emma was somewhere off to my right. Suddenly a woodcock took flight about where I had thought Emma was and I heard her bell as she gave chase after the fleeing bird. A circle through that part of the cover produced no more birds so we headed for the truck. I'll visit this covert again someday in hopes of finding the woodcock that should use this as a resting stop.

Friday I hunted a covert that I had only been in a couple of times before. It's a large piece of land with some sections too thick with alders to hunt through, interspersed with pockets of  huge Norway Spruce , goldenrod openings, and hawthorn stands all bordered by a road on one side and a creek on the other. Although I had only ever moved a couple of woodcock on my previous attempts to hunt this covert today would prove that it was a covet worth hunting more often.

 The first 1/2 hour was slow with just one wild flush. Finally Emma's bell went silent and I found her pointing under a lone Jack Pine tree. As I went in for the flush a woodcock flushed and was around the pine giving me time for only one shot. I didn't feel that I had connected with the bird but we searched in the direction that it had flown. After a few minutes I was sure I had missed the bird as Emma expanded her search area. Then suddenly she was heading back my way and I could see the woodcock in her mouth. Lots of hugs and good girls were dished out as I was sure that I had missed the bird. A short time later her bell went silent again and I found her pointing in thick saplings. As I pushed my way in she broke point and relocated, a sign that we had a runner. I continued into the saplings and the bird flushed near my feet flying past my head making me twist around dropping first one hammer and then the other and I saw the bird go down. I began searching where I had thought the bird had landed but Emma reached out and found the crippled bird some distance away. Another bird that would have been lost if not for Emma.
We pushed on through the cover and soon came to a patch of open woods. As I pondered on heading back to the truck, I noticed what looked like nice cover where the creek should be. Walking in that direction I soon realized that the creek had taken a big turn and there as indeed a nice brushy field. Emma had already decided to hunt it and soon I couldn't hear her bell. I started looking for her in the thick cover along the edge when suddenly at least a half dozen woodcock flushed from a patch of cover near the center of the field and Emma's bell started to ring as she pursued the fast disappearing covey of birds. I've never flushed more than 2 birds at a time and have no idea what that number of woodcock were doing in that small area. We continued around the edge of the old field with Emma pointing another bird that I couldn't get a shot at and then bumping one. As we approached the corner where I had entered the field she went on point again and I walked up a woodcock that flushed out into the open giving me the best shot of the season. As I dropped the right hammer the bird zigged left and as I swung the barrels to the left and dropped the left hammer the bird zagged right and flew off unharmed as I stood there and laughed at missing the easiest shot of the season. By now the day was fading so I headed Emma toward the road and leashed her up as I walked back to the truck. It had been a Grand Day with some of the best dog work Emma has shown me yet. Here's to hoping that the birds will remain for at least a few more days so Emma and I can enjoy the experience called woodcock hunting.

1 comment:

Ed said...

She certainly likes to pose, glad to hear your finding the birds!