Beginner's Luck? I Think Not!
What a hunt this turned out to be! Tom from Nova Scotia wanted to take his twelve year old son Cam on his first grouse hunt. We were also accompanied by Tom's wife Leslie and springer spaniel Winnie and things couldn't have worked out better, at least on the first day. We put up a lot of birds that first day - 21 grouse and a woodcock flew before our eyes, and while the guys were shutout that morning, they turned things around in a big way with the afternoon hunt (must've been the minestrone soup!). Using my 28 gauge SxS, Cam made a wonderful left to right crossing shot on a beautiful male grouse, his first ever, and it was quite a proud moment for Tom and Leslie. We kept onward and in a short while Tom had his first NH grouse of 2009. Near the end of day one, we also hunted an old apple orchard, a frequent haunt of bonasa umbellus. Once again, Cam put me to shame with another fantastic wing shot on a grouse and before we knew it, he had harvested two grouse on the wing in his first day of grouse hunting - quite an accomplishment.
Now, this was truly a wonderful thing to behold for all of us, but the young grasshopper may have become spoiled with this amount of success in merely his first day. We all know that what the grouse gods giveth, they must surely take away (and usually it's the very next day). While we saw even more birds the next day - 16 grouse and 11 woodcock - very few flew Cam's way, and he began to learn the hard way that harvesting two grouse in a day is the exception and not the rule! Once again, the dog work was exceptional - Rudy was his usual steady self and Winnie really did fantastic, doing the springer spaniel breed proud. In any event, I had a great time hunting with Tom, Cam, Leslie and Winnie and an even better time watching young Cam start on his path of grouse hunting.