Rarely have I enjoyed a hunt more than Friday’s grouse hunt with Mia and she was at her best: pointing, tracking, retrieving, and hunting the impossibly thick brush as only a Spinoni can. As a team we were of one mind, and with the stock extension I made for my 16-ga single shot, I didn’t miss a shot.
A beautiful little stream we hunted
It was a perfect fall afternoon when I took Mia up Wolverine Canyon for an afternoon hunt. I was hoping to time our hunt with the birds coming down for their afternoon water.
Mia on point with the first grouse we found that day, but I was unable to get a shot
It wasn’t long before we started out that Mia went on point and after snapping a picture of her, readied myself and went in for the flush. The grouse flushed but I was unable to take a shot.
Mia crosses deadfall as the going got rough while hunting Ruffed grouse
We continued up the canyon and hunted some very rough terrain of deadfall and steep hillsides of loose rock and slippery long grass.
I then decided to follow an abandoned road and it wasn’t long before Mia hit a solid point. A split second later, a grouse flushed and I dropped the bird in heavy brush; although it was a short retrieve, it took Mia a few minutes to find a way back up the hill with the bird.
Mia retrieving our second grouse of the day
Several minutes later Mia went on point again just as another grouse flushed, and I dropped this one as well which was a much easier retrieve.
Mia on point with the fourth grouse we found
We then hunted a small stream and Mia went on a solid point. Another grouse flushed and I dropped it with a very long shot – too long for my 16-ga because it did nothing more than stun the bird. I sent Mia in for the retrieve and the bird recovered just as she reached it. After a brief scramble, it escaped and flew off.
Mia pointing the fourth grouse as we follow it up the creek
We followed and three times, Mia went on point but the grouse flushed without me being able to get a shot. The third time, Mia went on a loose point, first looking up a steep brushy draw and back to me several times; this was her “I got something to show you” look.
It would have been very difficult for me to climb and impossible to get a shot, so I gave Mia my “track” command and she headed up the hillside, nose to ground. After a few minutes without seeing or hearing anything, I finally saw a speck of orange from her hunting vest through the brush, about 75 yard up the hillside. She was on point again.
Mia poses with the two grouse we bagged
I called “get it” up to her and she flushed. I was hoping the bird would fly by close enough for me to get a shot but it stayed high along the treetops which didn’t allow me to take a shot.
Mia on point with the fifth grouse of the day, it flew up into the trees
We headed back to the truck, stopped to take a picture of Mia with her birds, and then several minutes later she went on point once again. A grouse flushed up into the pine trees without me getting a shot, and once in the trees they can be impossible to see.