Sunday, November 6, 2016

My Last Couple of Hunts

Took Thicket for a short hunt on Thursday morning with the temperature in the 60's. We hunted the Piney Creek covert. Moved 3 woodcock in an hour but Thicket showed no signs of wanting to point them.  Only time will tell if she makes it as a woodcock dog. I have heard from people who have had dogs who would point grouse and pheasants but ignore woodcock.  I'm not ready to give up on her  but with Emma being 9 years old and with woodcock now being the primary bird I hunt, getting a new pup in a couple of years is becoming a possibility.

Emma and I headed to my northern most coverts on Friday. First stop was the Muth covert with it's picturesque aspen-golden rod cover.

A scattering of old apple trees add to it's charm.


The birds were there but unfortunately my shooting slump continues with me missing the first two woodcock Emma pointed. The next couple of birds she points flush without giving me a chance to shoot. Then near the end of the cover she points another 'cock and I drop it with the left barrel. It falls into a tangle of treetops and briers and I know it will be a hard bird to retrieve. I wade into the tangle, calling Emma in to hunt for the fallen bird.  As I get to the spot where I think the bird fell, Emma goes on point again 30 feet off to my right. I slip one of my shooting gloves over a branch to mark the spot of fall and crawl out of the tangle and circle Emma to flush this new bird. The 'cock gives me a fine open straight way shot and I drop it with the right barrel. It falls just in front of a large elm tree but as we search for the bird it seems to have vanished. After several minutes I start to get that feeling of despair of losing a downed bird when suddenly Emma points dead right it front of me and there lays the woodcock, it's perfect camouflage pattern blending in perfectly with the vegetation.
With one downed bird found I work my way back into the treetop in search of the first bird. Emma crawls under the large limbs and quickly finds the other bird. I heap praise on Emma for being such a "good girl" and feel an immense satisfaction with two  birds in my game pocket.
Emma poising with her birds.
With my "bloodlust" satisfied and wanting to hunt another covert I turn for the truck. Emma finds two more birds on the way back but I make no attempt at shooting them.
My next stop was the 555 covert. It's a long walk in on a wet tramroad. I've hunted this cover several times now but have only moved a couple of grouse near the beginning of the old road.
The road ends at a nice stand of aspen and goldenrod. Although not as thick as the Muth covert I think it should hold some woodcock, but like my other trips here it was empty of birds.

On the walk back up the tramroad Emma finds a woodcock in some goldenrod and maple saplings, but I misjudge where the bird is and as I walk in it flushes out behind me offering me no shot.
So ended our hunt for the day with both of us pleasantly tired and satisfied with the outcome.

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