I was able to get out for a few hours this weekend and chase grouse. I'm happy to say that my brother and his Shorthairs were able to join us for an afternoon. On the way into the mountains we came across a big male dusky grouse that was walking right along the side of the road. We stopped and he flushed but only flew 100 feet or so into some nearby cover. We decided to see if we could get a shot on him. We left the dogs in the crates and loaded our shotguns. As soon as we left the truck and started for him the bird flushed across the road and down a steep embankment of pines. We didn't even shoot. I don't know why it is but whenever I come across grouse in the road and try to take an "easy bird" it never seems to work out. Either the birds somehow find a way to flush where I don't get a shot, or I just flat out miss or I lose the bird completely. It's weird how it never seems to work out.
We eventually made it up to one of my favorite spots. We hunted hard but didn't see many birds and the few we did see were not presenting any shots or were flushed out of range. My brother had to get to an event that evening so we had to cut the hunt a little short. It didn't matter, by the time we had to go we were pooped and most of the dogs were hot and tired and starting to slow down. We headed back to the truck with nothing to show for our efforts.
Chief, my Llewellin Setter wasn't done and kept ranging wide and hunting hard. While the rest of us were trudging up the last hill to get to the truck he still had his head into the wind and was hunting hard. My brother was up ahead of me and I was huffing and puffing to catch up. When I did catch up I said something and Shawn replied with, "Your dogs on point." as calm as if he was telling me the time. I turned around and 50 yards out, below and to the right of me Chief was standing on point about 15 feet from a small tree. I had inadvertently turned off his beeper so we're not sure how long he had been on point.
We approached and got in position, the bird held and Chief didn't budge even with us and the other dogs encroaching on him. He handled this bird like an old pro. The bird flushed and presented an easy straight-away shot but my brother and I both missed with our first shots. I wasn't going to let this opportunity slip so I gritted my teeth and focused for my second barrel and knocked it down. It would of been tragic if that bird got away with the way Chief held it and how well the bird held. It's was perfect and that one bird made the whole day. Chief's never-quit drive and attitude once again came through for us. I am so proud of him and what he brings to each hunt every time we go out. He's a good dog and is just getting better with each time in the field and new experience. I love that dog and I'm so glad I have him.