So after some time off to let Willie heal up a bit from his brush busting we made it back out this week. Couldn't ask for better weather the last 3 days.
Monday we went out for about 3.5 hours in the morning. We only found one rooster and he ran far out of range before flushing. It was a very nice morning to be out and I did not see another person on teh gamelands in the entire time I was out.
That afternoon Willie and I went to try another spot. Not long after hitting the fields Willie had a nice point in a small field with some briar patches. His point has improved a bunch over the season and he is getting pretty steady on birds. My first pic of willie from the front on point. Until this point he would not stay steady in the field to get a pic of him from the front. he always wanted to jump in and flush before I got there.
I walked in and flushed a covey of liberated quail. Afterward I started walking on, but Willie would not leave the area of the flushed quail. So I turned around and went back. He relocated a bit further down and had another solid point.
I walked in to flush like I would normally not expecting anything because I figured the quail got out of dodge. But since he was pointing I would do my part as well since he's young and still learning. As I walked in a Rooster flushed about 2 feet in front of me. It startled me and I was not ready for that. I fired two shots and missed both. Willie was not amused as he gave chase.
Willie came back a few seconds later and went on point again in the general area. I again went in to flush and a couple more quail took off.
Willie really liked the area and would not leave. he was so birdy by this point he was just running circles through and around the area. It was fun to watch, but the sun wouldn't stay up forever. I finally picked him up and carried him down the hill to continue our hunt.
Not long after starting again Willie went on point along the edge of some woods. I stepped into the thick tangle of briars and honeysuckle and flushed a hen. Willie gave chase and came back a few seconds later. His chases are getting shorter as he is starting to understand I think. Steady points and shorter chases are a good sign that he's learning imo.
Over the next 20 mins Willie found 2 more hens in the woodline, but no more roosters were found the rest of the afternoon. By 4pm we were both tired. He hit it hard this day and had nothing in the game bag. But it will be a day full of memories and go down as one of the best days ever.
We worked our way back to the truck. Approaching a Safety Zone area I unloaded my shotgun and put Willie on his check cord for the walk to the truck. Sure enough at the end of the field Willie went on point. A half second later a rooster flushed from teh goldenrod. It flew towards the houses so I would not have been able to shoot even if the shotgun were loaded. But a nice end to a wonderful day.
Tuesday was a bit different. I only had a short time to get out in the late morning. We walked the same route that we did on monday. Willie found a couple quail in the general area of the covey he found on monday. We walked towards the back end of the property. Willie was over to my left running through a field and I saw a rooster run out of the field about 30 yards ahead of me. It ran into the woods. I gave a couple toots on the whistle to get willie to come over, and we went up to where it went into the woods. Willie went on point, but his tail was wagging a little bit. I gave a toot on the whistle to get him to go and willie ran about ten yards into the woods and pointed again. He started to work the area in circles looking for the bird. As he got further and further into the woods I heard a cackle and bird flush. could not see the bird or willie. A moment later Willie returned and went to work in the field again.
We found a couple more hens on the way back to the truck. Another very productive day for Willie and his training.
Decided to head out again this morning. At this point I don't really care if we get anything. The bonding and experience Willie is getting from this area is priceless.
We took a different route through the property this morning. Another beautiful day with clear blue skies.
The first 30 mins came and went. Nothing but some song birds and the crackle and pop of the switch grass warming in the sun. We worked our way back and forth over the property for a little while longer before Willie locked up in mid stride and turned around. He was solid as a rock and I moved in to flush. 2 hens took flight from the goldenrod field. I watched them fly toward the area we just came from and land in a Pheasants Forever Food Plot.
We worked our way to the wood line. Willie is a big fan of woods and brush. He likes it much more than fields and covers a good bit of ground. He was making his way out of the woods a little ways down from me and stopped on a dime. Tail came up and started wagging. I watched him for a bit and gave a toot on the whistle. He moved about 10 feet or so to his right and went on point again. This time no tail wag. I stepped into the edge of the woods and 2 roosters flushed from under some wild grape vines. They each went an opposite direction. I the one that went to my right and Willie chased the one that went to my left. Another double would have been great, but I had no chance at the second shot. It landed in a field about 60 yards to my left and Willie about ran it over when it landed. The bird flushed again and flew a couple hundred yards back towards the road and where we entered the property earlier. Willie gave chase again but turned around and came back to the spot where they were and searched the area for more.
We worked the woods some more on our way back to the truck. Willie played with the quail again. I wish I had a blank pistol to use for the hens and quail.
After I got him away from the area with quail Willie went back into the woods. Not long after he went on point again. No tail wagging or repositioning. I walked to the edge where he was pointing and nothing flushed. I looked into a patch of dead vines about 10' in front of willie and I saw a rooster laying in there. After a couple pics I kicked at the brush and the rooster flushed. I put the bead on it and it folded up and went down.
If you look closely you can see the rooster.
Another great day. I let the rest of the pics speak for themselves.