Friday, October 28, 2016

The Last Couple of Hunts

On Monday Emma and I hunted the Harrier Hawk Covert again and wasn't disappointed. The wind was blowing pretty good across the reclaimed strip mine but Emma really put on a performance. She relocated on the 1st bird of the day 3 times before she pinned it, but it used the cover to it's advantage and I didn't manage to get off a shot.  On her next point 2 'cock flushed, surprising me and I didn't get a shot off at these either. That turned out to be the way my day went, with Emma finding and pointing birds expertly and me either having no chance for a shot or missing when I did. So we ended the hunt with no birds in the bag but with memories of some wonderful dog work.

Emma on point.
Back at the truck after a wonderful day.
Tuesday found Thicket and I hunting the big Shawnee Creek Covert.

I've never been able to find a large flight of birds in all this wonderful cover. Thicket had 2 points that I wasn't able to get to quickly enough and she left them. I managed to flush one bird for the day.
Thicket cooling off in Shawnee Creek.


Wednesday turned out to be a day of frustrations.  I forgot my camera which wasn't too bad as Thicket and I headed for the Bennett Run covert for an afternoon hunt. Bennett Run is located at the bottom of a steep hollow. We flushed a group of 3 woodcock as Thicket and I worked the cover. I took a shot at one and thought it went down and although Thicket and I searched we never found the bird which is frustrating.  Still trying to "save the day" I struggled up the steep ridge to the truck and headed for Piney Creek for a quick hunt as the temperature climbed into the 60's.  We were into birds quickly but Thicket showed no signs of wanting to point them as birds flushed in front of her as she hunted the cover. After seeing her pass by several  birds that I walked by and flushed I called her in and headed for the truck frustrated with her lack of desire to point woodcock.  To end the day I developed pain in my lower back perhaps aggravated by a near fall in some rocks in Bennett Run.  So now I'm sitting a home feeling frustrated at not being able to hunt and hoping that resting for the remainder of the week will ease the pain so that I can hunt next week.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Piney Creek

Hunted the Piney Creek bottom with Thicket this morning.  The weather is still too warm but I needed to get Thicket into some birds and the bottom didn't let me down.

Having had little bird work this summer, Thicket pointed the first woodcock and then left the bird before I reached her.  I flushed the 'cock and let it fly away.  She had started this bad habit last fall and it seemed to still be with her.  The next bird flushed just as she ran past me checking in and I also left it fly.  Later I jumped a 'cock myself and threw a shot at it with no harm to the bird. We crossed Piney Creek and started back toward the truck when suddenly Thicket pointed again just in front of me. I quickly moved in, flushed the bird, and dropped it with my left barrel. Thicket found the bird and mouthed it and then dropped it.

Piney Creek was running low. The forecast is calling for rain tomorrow, I hope their right.

There was enough moisture in the bottom to encourage a number of different mushrooms or toadstools to flourish.

I flushed one more woodcock and heard a grouse flush in the distance before we reached the truck. Hopefully I'll be able to shot some more woodcock over Thicket's "quick" points and make her realize that they are the reason we're out there beating the brush.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

First Hunt of 2016

Went out yesterday to start the season.  The weather's too hot but had to get out.  I took Emma and tried a new spot, the Harrier covert , named after the Northern Harrier hawk I saw there. It's reclaimed strip mine land growing back with patches of aspen, locust, and birch. Waist high goldenrod gave the woodcock plenty of cover.

The 'cock seemed to be running on Emma as she gave me several empty points. They had to be native birds as it's too early for the flights to come through.  I flushed one myself so I knew that there were some birds there.  She finally gave me a nice solid point but as I approached from the left the 'cock flew out the right side of the cover and I didn't have a shot.  After a couple of hours with the temps pushing into the upper 60's I called it a day. With no birds in the bag I was still satisfied to find a new covert that held woodcock this early in the season. I'll be going back later when the flight birds are moving through to see if they use this cover.

The weather forecast for the rest of the week calls for hot and dry weather until Friday when there is a 90% chance of rain.  Next week looks to be much cooler so hopefully the dogs and I will be doing some serious hunting.