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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.