Empty Tailgates

I have to admit that this years Grouse Hunt has not been what I was hoping for. Out of the four times out I've only been able to move 4 birds and have had 0 shots. Very frustrating. Yesterday, we went to a spot that we have never been before. We heard good things about it from a fellow turkey hunter last year and the cover looked awesome. We hit it hard but no birds were produced.
The Dogs are working hard and doing all I could expect but it is just a strange year. Everything seems to be behind. It just doesn't feel enough like fall here yet. I'm not ready to admit that last winter and spring decimated our Grouse population but I may have to. The DWR claims that it didn't. The bow hunters I've talked with haven't seen any birds either so something is up. Or I must be doing something wrong. We are still having fun and it is nice just to be out.
I guess it's time to do some preserve hunts and get my young dog Chief some experience that way. This boy needs to get some birds other than pigeons dropped in front of him. I'm so excited to get this young dog into wild birds. He has an awesome nose, staunch points and great range for a 5 month old dog. Most of his experience has been with pigeons and I really want to see him handle some wild birds. Personally, Im not the biggest fan of the preserve hunts. It all depends on the how the birds behave. Wild birds have the strong survival instincts that challenge the dogs. But experience is experience be it wild birds or pen raised pheasants and chukars. We can get after the grouse after the weather cools and the leaves start changing. It's coming though, you can feel it, it's coming. And Maybe that is all we need to change our luck with the Grouse. If the grouse numbers turn out to be low – let it snow, Chukar hunting starts at the beginning of October and it should be a good year!
Best of luck to all the other hunters out there. I hope your doing better than we are.



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