Fall continues to roll strong. There has been no shortage of activity chasing dogs in pursuit of grouse and searching our rivers for steelhead making their annual and welcomed return home.
There has been alot of good dog work out of both the 6 year old Lucy and surprisingly the 1.5 year old pup Hazel. Lucy is as reliable as she has ever been. I think she has hit her prime and I hope she can maintain the level of intensity for the next few years. Being a pointing lab I’ve given her a little liberty to run and rely on the beeper. There have been more than a few times in the past that she would “wander” beyond what I consider her boundaries only to flush a bird as I’m yelling. Knowing she knows, I’ve decided to (finally) trust her 100% and it’s paid off in a big way. There have been multiple bird days over her this season.
Hazel is learning and it’s been a fun season watching her figure it out. Typically a 1.5 -2 year old dog is a clown and its a matter of having some patience. Let them work, get as many bird contacts as possible and have fun. On a recent outing I put the veteran Lucy in a top shelf grouse spot and reserved what I thought would have alot of woodcock for the pup. Lucy put up 10-12 birds but they were all pretty jumpy in some windy conditions. I put Hazel down and we pushed some quality cover for about 45 minutes only to have a couple grouse continue to flush way ahead of us and saw only 1 or 2 woodcock. I finally decided to just sit for a few minutes and relax. After 5-10 minutes we started back up and about 10 steps from where we stopped Hazel got birdy and up went a grouse. It couldn’t have been better; she flushed it, she watched it, I dropped it and she located it immediately. Was her first bird I’ve seen her work completely through and was really happy with her.
Salmon are finally on their way out and steelhead are making an appearance. We recently did a cast n blast and perfected a combined “Daily Double”; grouse and steelhead in the same day. I was able to able to connect on a few birds but couldn’t finish it off with a steelhead. I stuck a few trout but Rich was able to seal the combined Double with a steelhead. After a long day of hunting we had a few hours of light left and headed to one of our favorite pieces of water. We had every hole we wanted and due to the shortage of time we picked only the best spots. In the 3rd spot and the one we thought would pay off, did. On the 2nd cast Rich was locked into a solid 8lb hen. No net in the fall is a bad idea because these fish are hot and wild. We were finally able to get it into some shallow water and tail it….the Daily Double was complete!