You’d have thought he was cooped up for a month. From the time we left the cabin until we arrived at our first covert, Seamus went nuts in the car. Standing on the console of the Jeep, his bell ringing between barks and yelps as he looked from side to side then out the windshield, he did everything he could to get me to drive faster. He was geeked.
This wasn’t the first hunt since opening day, but it was only the second since family matters demanded “She Who Must Be Obeyed” and I (Seamus too) attend. So with a two week layover, finally, we hit the field.
The first stop was a clearing with patches of poplar and fruit bushes that looked interesting. It was surrounded by an orchard and had plenty of deer sign. Ringing the entire 20 or so acres were pines,
We entered the field from the low end and Seamus immediately began to quarter, then, picking up scent, he honed in on a small batch of poplar with a ring of some kind of berry bushes around half, The closer he got the more intense he became and finally went right through the bushes into the middle of the stand. The leaves hadn’t turned yet – not like on the maples – making it difficult to see if he went on point. But all of a sudden, two grouse grabbed air to go skyward and head into the pines.
He didn’t want to leave that spot, making me think there might be another bird, but finally he moved on and I followed.
Two more patches of the same composition later, we reached the other end of the clearing and met a wall of pines. They were walkable and I went down the middle as Seamus darted from side to side, nose sniffing for scent. Suddenly he froze on point, nose pointing to a small seedling at the right edge of the tree line. I walked in and a grouse burst from beneath, grabbing for air. He headed toward the clearing so I swung the 20 from left to right when bonasa umbellus decided to turn and head deeper into the pines.
Seamus just took it all in; he hadn’t heard a shot yet and from the momentary look I got from him, I knew he called be a dumb-shit! Ok, I’ll take that.
The hunt was a good one; Seamus worked well, but there were no woodcock. Next hunt would be along a feeder stream along an abandoned farm.