Sam Cook: Damp weather, lots of foliage slow grouse opener

However the yellow canine does not know any of that. That is her first grouse opener, and for all she is aware of that is the best way it’ll all the time be within the grouse woods.

That is the gorgeous factor about canine. They stay completely in current tense. Moist, dry, scorching, chilly, rain, snow — regardless of. Let’s hunt, the quivering of their tails says.

So, we hunt.

We’re north of Duluth, strolling a hilly path amongst popple and balsam fir. Throughout the area, I do know others are doing the identical. Pickups are nosed into trails off the tote roads. 4-wheelers putt alongside probably wanting trails. Most of us have excessive hopes for this grouse season, with its almost unprecedented excessive spring drumming counts. Grouse numbers rise and fall in cycles, and we’re headed for the excessive finish. So they are saying.

We attempt to mood our expectations. We all know, within the early season particularly, grouse searching sometimes is not a numbers factor. The woods are dense, virtually too thick to glimpse a flushing grouse. We stick principally to the paths, hoping for the younger and unwary chook that flushes right away. Few select that path of escape. You do not make your dwelling evading goshawks by flying down open trails.

On the scent

The pup dives into the woods, the place it is even darker. Someplace from beneath the balsams, I hear the flushes. One, then one other — the thunder of unseen wing beats. I await a fowl to cross the path, however none cooperates. Later, a single flush. I hear it and wait, and eventually the hen crosses the path far forward.

The shot is futile, I do know, however I am prepared to take an opportunity to drop a chook for the younger canine. No chook falls. It vanishes behind curtains of leaves.

I see no different hunters on my hour-and-a-half stroll. The pup flushes six birds, most of that are solely auditory experiences for me.

I’ll occur onto different hunters later, on different trails. One is a lone hunter, on foot, with a Lab. He has flushed one group of three grouse, one other single, he says. He dropped the only and one other one from the bunch of three. He is carrying the 2 of them in his vest. He has already had an ideal opener.

One other path, and right here come two younger hunters strolling towards me. I am carrying no gun, only a digital camera now. The hunters are a mile or so into the woods, dogless. Have not seen a chook but.

It is Nick Sawyer and Zac Schendel, each of Duluth. Their buddies, Cameron Luoto of Duluth and Invoice Symons of Lakewood Township, are working one other portion of this loop path and shortly be a part of them. Symons’ four-yr-previous chocolate Lab, Kola, works the…

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