Last week we headed out to the forest for a little grouse hunting.  We did not hunt this area at all last year.  Actually, the dogs did not get to do any hunting last year because hubby had surgery in September which pretty much ended hunting season before it began.

So the question of that day.  Would Freighter remember his job?

The area we hunt is a snowmobile trail that runs along a ridge that leads down to a lake.

chesapeake bay retriever grouse hunting
Hunting Along A Snowmobile Trail

The first thing that we noticed was that the lake level was really low.  We had a fairly hot dry September and the lake looked it.  We did hear a lot of ducks quacking further out in the lake so the ducks must have been OK with the water.

Lake Level Is Low
Lake Level Is Low

As soon as Freighter got to the trail, he went on a kind of point.  He is a flushing dog, but now and again he will stop and stand like a statue and “point” out the bird.  It looks like this:

chesapeake bay retriever
Freighter “Pointing” The Bird

The trail is closed to atv’s but open to cars which we rarely see, except that morning.  We had to wait for a car to pass by before we could begin.  Freighter was hunting an island of thick trees.  The side we were hunting is a walking trail.  The other side of the island is the trail that you can drive on.  It is a large island of trees but we held Freighter because we did not want him to break out to the other side with a car there and of course hubby would not be shooting birds with a car in the area.

Finally the car moved past and Freighter got right into the island and flushed a woodcock.  It was exactly where he had been pointing.  He has an excellent nose.  Unfortunately, the cover was too thick for hubby to get into the trees with him and the bird flushed in a direction which did not afford hubby a shot.  No retrieve for Freighter.

chesapeake bay retriever grouse hunting
Freighter Heading Into The Cover Where He Flushed A Woodcock

We continued on.  The cover was so thick that I could only snap pictures as Freighter emerged form it before he went back in searching for the birds.

chesapeake bay retriever grouse hunting
Freighter On The Edge Of The Cover

Eventually Freighter got into a group of birds on the ridge and flushed three grouse at once.  Again, the trees were too thick for a decent shot.

chesapeake bay retriever grouse hunting
Heading Back Down The Ridge

It was a warm morning.  We needed to stop to water Freighter often.  The problem was that while we brought water, we forgot the little bowl we use so Freighter had to drink from the bottle.  Not the best method.

As we moved farther along the trail, we heard someone calling with a predator call and a gunshot not too far off.  I guess someone was hunting nearby.  Maybe coyote.  Good for them.  Coyotes can decimate the bird and deer populations if they are not controlled.

We turned around and hunted off the other side of the trail.  Eventually Freighter had one more flush, a woodcock.  Then we heard some other hunters and a dog approaching.

What were all these people doing out there?  It was not the best day for hunting.

We packed up and left and will make sure to get there earlier next time.  Freighter had fun and worked hard, but was a little disappointed that he flushed 5 birds with no retrieves!  Hopefully next time.

chesapeake bay retriever grouse hunting
Freighter Worked Hard

6 thoughts on “Grouse, Grouse, Do I Smell A Grouse?

  1. You guys should take some of our water. Our water levels are so high as we have had way too much rain. I’m sure the next hunt will go better. Both hunters were probably a bit rusty after a year off.

  2. a great day out is great even if no retrieves. You got some really nice photos.

  3. Well, Freighter did his part, now all the other parts just need to come together!
    We are really dry here too. We got more than usual rain over the summer, but when fall got here we started getting the hot and dry summer weather too!

  4. It’s difficult hunting when the woods are crowded, but you got some nice photos so it’s all good. Several years ago I began carrying bota bags of water our dogs while hunting although it took the guys a little time getting used to drinking from them.

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