This subject is one I have been following closely as more information becomes available. If you have a puppy or are thinking about getting one, this is a subject you may want to do some research on.
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Saturday, March 10, 2018
The opening weekend of the 2003 bird season I took my German wirehair pointer north for her second trip to the North Woods. Our first morning up there the woods dripped from a nighttime of steady rain and the sun hid behind a dark mottled sky.
As Chara hunted down the slope ahead of me, I followed through alders and young poplars, trying hard not to brush against anymore wet foliage than necessary. We were searching for woodcock in those alders. Thirty years earlier I had hunted that same covert with my first bird dog, a boneheaded Brittany spaniel that taught me a lot. Unfortunately, I could teach that dog little.
It’s funny how you don’t mind the wet woods once you find birds. At one point, before we had found any birds, I remember thinking that none of my friends would have enjoyed that morning, with soft mud sucking at boots and soaked cold clothes plastered to the skin.
Near a brook that twisted down the hillside we chased two grouse in circles. It was like they didn’t want to leave their home territory and kept circling back. A few dozen fat fir trees along that stream broke up the yellowing poplars and still green alders, and provided excellent cover for those rotating grouse. Those stubborn leaves gave the grouse such an advantage that we finally lost track of them.
But there were woodcock and Chara proved her worth. I shot as the first bird disappeared into the foliage and felt certain it was a clean miss, but my girl came bounding back with bird in her mouth. And the day kept getting better. When we walked out of the woods at eight-thirty a limit of woodcock rested in my game vest.
Yet the best part of the morning was sitting on the tailgate of my truck and sharing cookies with Chara.
Parked on a logging road in the middle of nowhere, we watched the sun burn away the clouds to illuminate the reds of the maples and golds of the birches. As the air warmed, it smelled of sweet drying leaves and spicy grasses. The only sound came from far away in the hills, where a raven made his soulful cry.