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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 08:16 AM Thread Starter
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SWPA Grouse

Thought I would put this out here. Took the now 1 Year Old lab on a hike/prospecting/stick carrying trip yesterday in SWPA. We ended up putting up 7 confirmed grouse while only hiking from 1030 - 145 with an hour of that spent hiking through pole timber to get to cuts, lots of grouse crap around too. Already let Lisa Williams know as I had emailed her about the pending removal of another day of grouse season, she is incredibly responsive. Not sure what kind of cover people normally hunt in SWPA but this would be considered a prime age to just past prime age cut, but the birds were in the thickest greenbriar you could find within the cuts. If you and/or the dogs are not prepared to get cut I would assume most people would not see these birds as by the time we left the dog was bleeding all around his face and my neck and upper thighs were all cut up. Had a great time though and will make sure I try and bag one of these birds next year. As has been said a lot find the habitat and you will find birds even in the dead SW corner.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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A couple of our sticks...
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 09:32 AM
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Does this mean you'll stay closer to home and stop killing all my local grouse?

Keep taking Odin home all bloody and he'll be grounded and you'll be dogless again.

Plenty of scouting and good habitat makes for a great hunt.

Jeff
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-11-2019, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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Of course not Jeff. I enjoy killing your birds too much to let them live. While I had all the confidence in the world there were birds down that way I will say I was surprised at putting up so many in such a short period of time. Heck, a couple of the flushes were close enough I might have even been able to shoot them, however unlikely that would be.

I know, that is the chance I take every time I take him hunting. At least this time I don't think he ended up with a giant hawthorn in his foot for 5 weeks... Stupid vet was unwilling to cut him open. He seems to be figuring out his smells a little better too, found a couple fresh piles of grouse crap and at least put the one up directly and a couple others I think he was on the trail when they went up.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 08:03 PM
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We found 1 grouse today that wanted to play in the snow. This one held nice and tight for Odin to flush.


Plenty of scouting and good habitat makes for a great hunt.

Jeff
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-04-2019, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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Oh he would have loved to have at it. This was our last hunts of the year.

Went out Monday the 18th and Saturday the 23rd to a state still open to hunting with a buddy and figured I would report on our Appalachian grouse trips.



Sunday 17th

My wife and I went to pick up my 1 year old lab from my parents and notice a slight limp, of course. We get him home and all of a sudden he will put zero weight on his right front paw, which seems to be my luck with him this first year. I narrow it down to an outer toe on his paw, but cannot see any obvious signs of trauma. My wife says she will make an appointment for Monday afternoon, but because he is a handful I will need to get home to go with her. He unfortunately has to stay home, so we will have no dog tomorrow.



Monday 18th

Meet my buddy at 9 to start hunting a couple nice size cuts that back into each other. The conditions were pretty good, wet ground, nice and cool with a good forecast of just overcast weather. Hunt starts great the first cut we are in we have a flush within the first 15 minutes, never saw the bird, but know where he was and know he is now in a creek bottom 800 feet straight down, so he will continue to live. Another 10 minutes later another flush close but I am caught up in greenbriar and do not get a shot. Continue moving on and while trying to get through a massive bramble step over a log and out shoots a grouse from under my foot, scaring the crap out of me. Two quick shots later and I watch the grouse gliding away, theme of the day. Finish the first pass on the first cut with three birds up when, of course we start getting sleeted on pretty heavily, has been that kind of year. We then move on to the next cut which is about 3-5 years younger and more vertical than the first. We start hunting this cut, which means I bust brush while my buddy guards the path and though I run into sign I am not seeing birds. Once I am about to summit to the top of the cut I hear two shotgun blasts. It was a miss of a bird I flushed but never heard, next I hear my buddy yelling to me about the bird. Turns out he did not shoot at first because he said it looked like a Guinea hen all gray then he saw it bank and knew it was a grouse. We then had a discussion about the color phases of grouse, but for the southern appalachains certainly a rarity. Followed up on the gray unsuccessfully then hunted back through the first cut putting up another few birds and with the new snow/sleet cover seeing plenty of grouse signs. We took some shots and watched more birds fly. We then got in the trucks hunted another close by cut that needs another 2-3 years to really be huntable then I headed out by 1 to take the dog to the vet. Ended up with 7 flushes on the half day, especially considering the walk in/out.



Get home to help take the dog in to the vet and the mongrel is not seemingly limping anymore. We get to the vet and by that point it is pretty much not noticeable. The vet says there is some swelling and gives us some anti inflammatory, I decide the dog is a drama queen, but happy he is ok.



Saturday 23rd



Last hunt of the season. Forecast is intermittent rain, but I have the pup this time! Head to the same cuts we had luck seeing birds on Monday as we really want to make sure the dog gets into some birds. When we arrive there is a solid layer of crusted snow on the ground, perfect for making sure the grouse are nice and jumpy. Our first pass turns out to be a complete bust, not seeing a single bird where we flushed three the week before. Good news is however, after we get to the end of the first pass the snow has started to soften in the warmer air and we have not yet been rained on. We start hunting the younger cut and are now seeing tracks in the newly soft snow. We surprisingly do not move anything at first when we come out of the thick and meet my buddy on the trail. We turn a corner and a bird blows out, a runner we pushed down from the top, then another. Neither we get shots on, but the dog now looks like he is on illicit drugs he is so fired up. The dog and I jump in the thick stuff again and he starts working the cover and I can tell there is another one around somewhere. All of a sudden I hear the bird take off near the dog, too thick for me to shoot but I hear two shots and confirm that our streak of miserable shooting is still in tact. Next we move to an area that is old dead mountain ash that is now filled with greenbriar, barberry, and occasional crabs. As soon as we get in the thick of it the dog again gets fired up, although it is tough moving. All of a sudden I see him dive into a big tangle and hear the bird. Unfortunately the bird went out of the cover across a massive log landing and right by my buddy, another two shots and another living bird. While that bird was flushing I tried to jump into a better position and only proceeded to put 4 huge cuts into my neck, the longest over 6 inches long and deep, had a really important meeting on Monday too. Now I am bleeding and we are 0 for 4 on grouse. Back to the older cut and we just start having flushes all over, easily 8 birds up and plenty of expended shells by noon. We go back eat and regroup and proceed to get rain for the next hour and a half. Normally that would not stop me, but I wanted to rest the pup some and my buddy is not as psychotic as me so we sat in the truck. We went and checked a few more cuts, but they were a little past prime so we ended back in the same prime cut we were before. I've already been long winded but ended up putting up some more birds and not connecting on shots I have no excuse to miss. We ended up in the mid to upper teens in flushes but bagged nothing. The dog ended up putting on 20 miles per the alpha and was still working with gusto ahead of me when we called it a day.



When we got home the dogs back legs kept shaking, I am guessing from exertion but stopped after some time and giving him some food. It was, however, long enough that I was told I over did it with the pup, even though as I told her he still seemed to have plenty of energy. Thoughts on this would be appreciated.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-04-2019, 02:08 PM
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I cant believe you sat in the truck during a warm misting rain.

Have i ever told you, your wife needs a baby so you can have your dog back?

Plenty of scouting and good habitat makes for a great hunt.

Jeff
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-04-2019, 03:50 PM
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Grousen’at
Dogs will not generally indicate their physical condition until they are on the verge of collapse.
I am not a vet, but my guess is that your pup had burned up all readily available energy and was working on muscular sources of energy.
Good you stopped when you did or the outcome could have been more severe. Look up glucose/fat usage of dogs for a better explanation.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LostAgain View Post
I cant believe you sat in the truck during a warm misting rain.
I can't believe Noah's descendant got to hunt a few hours when it wasn't raining.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 07:22 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LostAgain View Post
I cant believe you sat in the truck during a warm misting rain.

Have i ever told you, your wife needs a baby so you can have your dog back?
Yeah it was weird sitting in the truck for that long, especially in a nice light rain. I am not sure if the baby will help my hunting cause...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dap View Post
I can't believe Noah's descendant got to hunt a few hours when it wasn't raining.
It was a weird feeling, but luckily the brush was all wet so I was still soaked once I started hunting. Last thing I would want is a nice dry hunt.
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