Monday, October 01, 2012

2012 Grouse And Woodcock Opening Day In NY

Grouse and woodcock seasons opened across NY today. Gordie and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and made a long drive for a short hunt at our favorite spot in the Southern Tier.

The hillside that’s the gateway to The Good Stuff was all prettied up in autumnal reds.

In the eyeblink after I’d taken this shot, Gordie flushed the season’s first woodcock from the cover on the right. I was still admiring the fall finery, so when the bird flew past me offering a wide open shot, I just dumbly watched it twitter away. Gordie regarded me with a withering “I bust my ass and you’re leaf peeping?” glare.

So I started carrying my gun at the ready instead of slung comfortably over my shoulder. I’d brought a 20 gauge Beretta Cole Custom today, my favorite grouse and woodcock gun.

Very soon, at the end of a trail, Gordie got birdy. Fellow hunters will understand when I write that things then happened fast. Gordie plowed through the cover, clearly on a mission. The bird went up, straight away. My gun found my shoulder and went bang seemingly of its own volition. And, not 25 seconds from the start of this action, Gordie was sitting in front of me with his retrieve.

After Gordie’d flushed another woodcock that offered no shot, we called it a day. We’d only been on the hillside for an hour, but it was a memorable opening day.

Back at home, my friend helped me pose the bird's red phase tail. It will soon join several others on our mantle that commemorate good hunts, beloved dogs.