Great hunt yesterday in some nasty cover. Birds were taking advantage of the sun and enjoying the salad bar while using blow downs for cover. We had 28 contacts in just a couple hours. Our best day of 2023.
All good things come to an end. Just returned home after doing my early Oct- early Nov stint in NW WI. I'm fortune that I can work from anywhere, most days I work to lunch and then knock off for few hours in the afternoon. I reverse this game plan on the weekends and try to hunt early before it warms up and all UTV/ATV riders hit the trails. Gates and a vehicle parked at the gate doesn't seem to matter to those folks. Overall I would say the numbers were down quite a bit from last year I think I harvested exactly half the number I did in 22. I didn't shoot quite as good, and the week after the Halloween snow I dont think I fired a shot, the birds were just too jumpy to get with in shooting range. That accounts for some of the drop off. I'm not that worried about numbers killed just like a enough birds around to keep things interesting and that was certainly the case. Couple of photos, my old gal 13 1/2 that I would take on short hunts a couple of times a week with what will likely be the last grouse shot over her, and one of my younger dogs 2 1/2 that will likely be my best dog. He's out of Long Gone Studley and a grouse pointing machine.
Does anyone hunt Northern Oconto or Southern Forest Counties? I just got a German Shorthair and want to start her out hunting. She is 1 year old. Backstory, have grouse hunted most of my adult life, but have taken a10 year break because of lack of Grouse in our area. So, 2 questions....1)have grouse numbers rebounded in my area? I dont see many out in the woods or driving on the logging roads. 2)what would be the best way to get this dog acclimated to grouse hunting? MESSENGER is fine. Thanks in advance! -WW
Hunted all day yesterday. The birds were holding better. Had nine solid points on 15 bird contacts. Not all presented shots as even well handled birds seem to put obstacles between the gun and them. They’ve transitioned to areas with more conifers and conifer edges
Ive never had snow seem to be an issue. 95 of 100 birds have always been too skittsh to take flight less than 40 yards away. I believe its a genetic influenced behavior. Skittish birds dont expose themselves to be killed so easy. Birds that seem more tame and curious or wait til the last minute to flush are easier to kill and thus wont reproduce as much. But back to the snow issue. Its very possible that snow does have the effect you say. Crunchy snow could alert the bird to your presence much sooner. There is also evidence that shallow snow and cold temps induces higher cortisol levels in birds making them more nervous and apt to take flight sooner
I've experienced the same thing in years passed. Birds holding fine, then a couple inches of snow and they seem to flush wild. I've had them get up way the heck out when we were walking in on the logging trails. I think they feel exposed with those initial snow falls. I guess the other thing it tells you is how good their hearing is that they jump 75+ yards out when they hear you approach. It probably also says a lot about how many we probably walk past in the earlier season.
My brother in law got up to Mercer for a long weekend. Found birds that were still coveyed in groups of 5-6 down around Vilas County in a new cover we found last year. Managed to bag a first grouse for his new Griff.
One of my better days 2 shots and 2 kills done by noon. One of the birds had a crop packed like a baloon the size of my fist no wonder he flew so slow. Crop had catkins and what looked like lightning bugs. Its winter up here with a few inches of snow so how he got so many bugs to eat maybe found a nest of hibernators.