Dusky Grouse, Day 1


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ArmedBear
September 1, 2009, 04:55 PM
Well, the dog found a few -- on some really steep slopes. They didn't hold long, and there was no way I could get down there in time. Fired a couple of Hail Mary shots as they flew over the next ridge.

Hunting in the mountains is not quite like hunting in fields, that's for sure.:)

The dog is exhausted, and I'm still trying to figure out how I can get close enough to these birds next time...

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1KPerDay
September 1, 2009, 05:03 PM
Try chukar for a while... then you won't be so mad at the grouse. They'll seem positively pleasant after the chukar. :D

ArmedBear
September 1, 2009, 05:06 PM
Well, at least chukar head up.

These were probably a couple hundred feet below me in a canyon at about 5500 feet, then dropped down a few hundred feet from there, and kept going.

If they were chukar, I'd have a few of them in the fridge right now.:)

countertop
September 1, 2009, 08:53 PM
Need to better control the dog. He shouldn't be that far in front of you.

Get your self a 30 foot check cord and train him in the field with that. Get him used to hunting 30 feet in front of you and not going much further than that.

During training, get some wings and stick them in the field. Work on whoaing him as he picks up the scent cone, rather than flushing. Ideally he will point and allow you to walk up. Some dogs (pointers) do it much better than others. My labs will sort of point, but not really. As long as they just get birdy and don't jump to flush the bird, I am happy.

ArmedBear
September 1, 2009, 09:48 PM
If he's only 10 yards in front of me, he's not really good for anything. It's considered desirable here for a dog to search out at 100 yards, even 200 yards, and in pheasant fields, he stays closer anyway.

The distance was fine; he just doesn't know the difference between a slope that a big clumsy two-legged whatever-they-are can climb, and a slope that he can climb.

And I'd scouted the place before. The grouse were generally ABOVE the trail, so when they dropped down, they were like shooting the high skeet house. This time, they were below the trail. Next time, I'll have to bushwhack up the canyon first. It seems that they always fly high-to-low when flushed, so the hunter has to be below them or at least level with them. Live and learn.:)

countertop
September 1, 2009, 10:42 PM
Live and learn

That's what keeps bringing me back!

hogshead
September 1, 2009, 10:59 PM
I dont know about Idaho but if my dog gets out 100 yards we are going to have a serious discussion.Most place I shoot grouse don't even have 25 yards of visiblity.

countertop
September 1, 2009, 11:16 PM
.Most place I shoot grouse don't even have 25 yards of visiblity.

yep!

ArmedBear
September 1, 2009, 11:28 PM
Visibility from where I was (about a mile up) is about 50 miles, when the air is hazy. Terrain is steep canyons with rounded ridges, several hundred feet from top to bottom at any point, and a couple thousand feet total.

You NEED a dog to find the birds in all that open terrain. If you could just walk through where they are, they'd just flush out. I've hunted quail that way without a dog, and it's viable, if not optimal -- but that was in terrain where they bunched up in more predictable areas.

This is one of the gentler-sloped spots where I hunted today. Note the dropoff in the foreground. That was similar to the spot where the birds were: on the downside of the droppoff. Behind the photographer, the mountains continue rising, and the conifer forest begins. The birds live on the edge of the sagelands and the forest, where they can find food, water and shelter in close proximity.

http://earth.boisestate.edu/boisefront/drycreek/watershedone/images/background5.jpg

hogshead
September 1, 2009, 11:34 PM
Still you said"they didnt hold long and you couldnt get there in time."If your dog were hunting tighter seems to me you would have better odds.

ArmedBear
September 1, 2009, 11:35 PM
That may well be. But I never would have found the birds, either. That's the dilemma.

It does seem, though, that the birds consistently fly downslope when flushed. That may be my key: hunt low, and let the dog go high. I did the opposite, today.

ArmedBear
September 1, 2009, 11:38 PM
Interesting aside: talked to a guy on Sunday who went hunting with someone who had a border collie trained to hunt chukar. It would circle around and bring a bunch of them to the hunters, almost like driven birds. Not a bad idea -- strange that it isn't common.

KRAG3040
September 2, 2009, 12:04 AM
Armed',
It was a bit hot today in Boise;so my pointer talked me out of going up to Bogus today for the opener:) But I will be going up early on thursday so I can get back before the BSU vs The Dead Ducks game starts. Nice photo, where was that taken at?

KRAG' (previously known as BENELLIMONTE)

ArmedBear
September 2, 2009, 12:06 PM
I didn't shoot the picture, but it was a good view of what the Boise foothills look like from the edge of the National Forest.

What kind of pointer do you have? Are you involved in any of the local dog clubs?

ChefJeff1
September 5, 2009, 11:01 PM
Hey Bear, chasing those birdies WILL get you in shape for big game. If you get a chance, check out the South fork of the Boise below anderson Dam. It's a nice area that can have a lot of birds. How goes the antelope scouting?

ArmedBear
September 11, 2009, 11:36 AM
Definitely will head over there. Thanks for the suggestion. There are some Access Yes areas over in that area as well.

WRT antelope, I SCREWED UP! I read the postcard and got it in my head that I had to pick up my tags by 8/10. It was 8/1, which I found out when I went in on August 2nd to get my tags.:(

Still have an antlerless deer tag for the mountains, though, so my handloading could still bear some fruit.:)

slabuda
September 19, 2009, 03:35 AM
Bear you make it out to my way (Mt Home) give me a shout on here. I cant hunt the SF by Anderson, too many trout to pass up :) But I will be there for 10 Oct. and opening of rifle. Lots of Quail on the way there too. But as you said you need a dog to work out and darn if those wild birds dont flush before you can catch up. She bumps/over runs her nose still and I still have had a very hard time training most of Aug and into Sept do to work and the temps when I am not at work. She still has loads of work to do being that I dont have access to live birds or a place to keep them. But Ill hopefully bring her along in training this weekend when quail/chuckar opens.

Speaking of Chuckar SF Boise below the damn it good for that too.

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