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Gracie Earns Her Keep Yet Again
Unread 10-04-2022, 02:12 PM   #1
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Default Gracie Earns Her Keep Yet Again

We’re in Vermont’s NEK again but going back home today.
Birds are scarce and that’s to be expected for woodcock but grouse numbers appear to continue on their downward spiral. In six hours of hunting some of our very favorite and formerly very productive covers we only had four, possibly five flushes. And one woodcock Sunday, one of the biggest I’ve ever seen, flushed twenty-five yards from me while Gracie was twenty-five yards on the other side of me… missed her with both barrels

But yesterday Gracie slammed into a classic point beneath an ancient split trunk apple tree. I walked in and the bird, a big cock grouse flushed and flew between the trunks and was almost behind the left trunk when I fired, barking the apple tree and shattering some branches. I didn’t see the grouse emerge so I hurried to the area where I thought it would have gone down. We combed an area of a 40-yard diameter… zip, nada, zilch!

I called off the search and headed back uphill. Some fifty yards away, well away from the area I expected to find it, Gracie gave chase and pounced on my grouse as it was making a hasty getaway with a broken right wing.

Gracie saved the day for sure. It was the only shot I took that day.



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George King, "That's Ruff", 2010 - a timeless classic.
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Unread 10-04-2022, 03:27 PM   #2
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Finding cripples is the most noble of skills for a dog to possess.
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Unread 10-04-2022, 03:32 PM   #3
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A much more memorable hunt than if you had just dropped the bird in sight. I know you gave Grace some extra special “recognition” after that one.
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Unread 10-04-2022, 05:59 PM   #4
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Way to go Gracie! A year perhaps short on birds but huge on memories!
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Unread 10-05-2022, 06:46 AM   #5
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What a great day.
Dean you have proven once again, Its not always the number of birds, its the magical moments such as the one you experienced with Grace that day.
The hunt, the birdiness followed by a point. The dead silence just before the flush followed by the sudden beating of the wings, the instinctive swing on the bird followed by the roar of the shotgun.
The smell of burned powder blended with the smell of the woods we are hunting.
Its about that moment after the shot when we have a dozen thoughts running through our heads. How did I miss? Did I hit the bird?
The combing the area where we felt the bird would have gone down. The encouragement we give our dogs. Find em up, bird in here.
The excitement of the search that intensifies with our commands and their 6th sense.
The decision and disappointment when we finally feel the need to move on.
Its that memory that will be forever gladly burned in our minds, the moment everything changes and a rush of pride in our dog…our 4 legged partner suddenly appears with the lost bird in its mouth.
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Unread 10-05-2022, 07:19 AM   #6
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You said it all Phil. Thanks for putting words to explain the thoughts and emotions that must go through us all in moments like this.





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but because I'm a romantic - stuck on tradition - and to me, a Setter just "belongs" in the grouse picture."

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Unread 11-01-2022, 11:52 AM   #7
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Well my grouse season in VT ended rather ingloriously Sunday afternoon.

I had to keep Gracie in camp except for a short hunt on Sunday morning. She got a cut pad the weekend before and she's been on light duty since either in the house or in camp. Plus the fact that there's a new 1 year old pup who chews on Gracie's neck relentlessly when they're together so I only let her out of camp when that pup's not around. Not much I can do about it without compromising friendships up there so I just keep them apart.

And to make matters worse, the lack of birds is really in the forefront this year.
The woodcock outnumbered the grouse about 2:1 meaning a good day on woodcock was about 6 or 8 woodcock flushed leaving about 3 or 4 grouse flushed.
All in all - and I would normally be ashamed to admit this - I killed one nice big cock grouse and two woodcock,

Hey - There's always next year, right?

Deer season with rifles begins in VT on Nov. 12 and I have "sweetheart" obligations beginning this Friday so I'll be tied up () until deer season.





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"I'm a Setter man.
Not because I think they're better than the other breeds,
but because I'm a romantic - stuck on tradition - and to me, a Setter just "belongs" in the grouse picture."

George King, "That's Ruff", 2010 - a timeless classic.
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Unread 11-01-2022, 01:32 PM   #8
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Good job Dean.....I was in Maine woods this past week at Tims Pond. My first time there and was very happy. The weather did not help the hunting at all! We hunted 4 days, Monday was raining all day. Tuesday was Fair, not bad. Wednesday fair in the morning turning hot for the afternoon. Thursday 15 MPH wind plus gusts till about 1PM then better for the last part of the day. I did good shooting 11 round fired and 3 doodles and two grouse and had no losses. SXS OHIO
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Unread 11-01-2022, 02:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Romig View Post
Well my grouse season in VT ended rather ingloriously Sunday afternoon.

I had to keep Gracie in camp except for a short hunt on Sunday morning. She got a cut pad the weekend before and she's been on light duty since either in the house or in camp. Plus the fact that there's a new 1 year old pup who chews on Gracie's neck relentlessly when they're together so I only let her out of camp when that pup's not around. Not much I can do about it without compromising friendships up there so I just keep them apart.

And to make matters worse, the lack of birds is really in the forefront this year.
The woodcock outnumbered the grouse about 2:1 meaning a good day on woodcock was about 6 or 8 woodcock flushed leaving about 3 or 4 grouse flushed.
All in all - and I would normally be ashamed to admit this - I killed one nice big cock grouse and two woodcock,

Hey - There's always next year, right?

Deer season with rifles begins in VT on Nov. 12 and I have "sweetheart" obligations beginning this Friday so I'll be tied up () until deer season.

.
Dean, sorry about Grace's issues. It's a bummer when your hunting buddy can't go full steam. I absolutely don't think there's anything to ever be ashamed of in taking grouse or woodcock with style (a.k.a. great gun and dog included!). The "going" is what is important in the end.

As for the deer season, just think...you won't have to drag one out(!)
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Unread 11-01-2022, 02:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Graft View Post
Good job Dean.....I was in Maine woods this past week at Tims Pond. My first time there and was very happy. The weather did not help the hunting at all! We hunted 4 days, Monday was raining all day. Tuesday was Fair, not bad. Wednesday fair in the morning turning hot for the afternoon. Thursday 15 MPH wind plus gusts till about 1PM then better for the last part of the day. I did good shooting 11 round fired and 3 doodles and two grouse and had no losses. SXS OHIO
Kenny, good to see your report! And to see Miss Ruby looking fine as an aging Gordon does.
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"'I promise you,' he said, 'on my word of honor, I won't die on the opening of the bird season.'" -- Robert Ruark (from The Old Man and the Boy)
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