Before Winter Comes ...
My last morning in New Hampshire yielded nine grouse and one woodcock in about four hours out there. Rudy made some great points on some birds, and we also bumped a few as well. The largest group of grouse was a cluster of four birds together - unfortunately, Rudy could only point the two that were on the ground - there were two more that took off high out of the trees above us. John Kendall made a nice shot on a fleeing grouse that Rudy had pointed - it turned out to be a beautiful male grouse - one of the best of the year and a real trophy of the uplands.
This morning was the first of three in a row in Vermont, now that the NH muzzleloader deer season has started. Along for the ride this time was client and friend Paul O’Neill, who revels in hunting grouse with his lightweight British 12 gauge side by side. Paul’s done this kind of thing with me before, but both of us were surprised at the amount of grouse we saw today. We moved 21 grouse with Monty in the morning, with the largest group being a covey of six, one of which fell to Paul’s marksmanship. It was a tremendous shot on a grouse nearly out of range, and a great way to begin our day. While Monty bumped his share of grouse, he also made four or five nice points on birds, and he definitely worked more deliberately as the morning went on. By the end of it, Paul had three grouse to his credit, which is the most any of my hunters have gotten in a day.
Still, it was Rudy’s task to try to “tag Paul out” if he could. Alas, it was not to be, though he made a nice point on a cluster of four grouse in the afternoon - as so often happens, a tree got in the way and Paul couldn’t squeeze a shot off in time. We would move a total of seven grouse in the afternoon, for a grand total of 28 grouse over the course of the day. Quite a way to start our three days together.
Hopefully the snow doesn’t affect us too much - more reports to come!