Tag Archives: outdoors

Afternoon woodcock hunt

Got out to Lester’s Square in the Marlborough Forest for an impromptu grouse and woodcock hunt with Hera. Left Ottawa at 4:00 pm, after work, picking up Jason and his dog Nos on the way out. We arrived at our desired hunting ground at about 5:00 pm which left us about two hours before the end of legal shooting time at 7:11 pm. It was warm, about 25 degree C and a slight wind was blowing. We set out and before long had a grouse flush wildly and unseen in a stand of pines. We moved on to an edge I expect to find woodcock and sure enough, Hera flash pointed one. I called out to Jason there was a bird up and he fired twice, missing cleanly. Hera checked the area where the woodcock flushed with great interest. A moment later I heard another shot from Jason. This time he found the mark, a woodcock, dumped cleanly when Jason pivoted to make the shot. He marked the spot where the bird fell, or so he thought, Nos found the downed bird a few yards farther then where Jason thought he had seen the bird fall.

We continued the hunt, pressing on to another edge, where a Wilson’s snipe flushed. Jason noted where it touched down in the distance and we followed it up. We got a second flush, Jason shot and missed. With about twenty minutes left in legal shooting time, we made a sweep through another boggy patch that usually holds a woodcock or two. This time I put up a bird and managed to fumble with the safety on my 20 gauge Winchester side by side and not make the shot. This happens on occasion and has saved the life of many an upland game bird. I took it in stride, aside from the roar of exasperation I let out. We made our way back to the car in the last of the light and though Nos made a series of points, no more birds were seen. It was a good outing. Hera is coming along nicely in her development as a hunting dog.

Posted by Geoffrey

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September grouse and woodcock hunt

Got out to Lester’s Square in the Marlborough Forest with my Brittany Hera and my buddy Jason Quinn with his German Wirehaired Pointer Nos on a fine Sunday morning, September 29th. We were on the road at 7:00 am as it is about an hour’s drive from Centretown Ottawa, where we live, to the hunting ground we chose for this outing. It was sunny and calm when we set out, a bit warmer than usual for this time of year, so we chose a cover that holds ponds and puddles in which the dogs could cool off. As we drove up to our desired spot, we discovered we had company. This is to be expected in public hunting grounds and we are happy to share the area with fellow hunters. I am acquainted with the group we saw and heard during the hunt. I have come across them in seasons past. They are hard to miss as you can hear them shouting at their dogs in Arabic and amongst themselves. We just made a point of keeping clear of them, so as not to interfere with their hunt, and to enjoy our own.

No birds were flushed in our sweep of Lester’s Square, though the conditions in the woodcock cover are the best I have seen in the past few years. The bogs are nice and wet and the earth soft enough for the migrating woodcock to probe for the earthworms that make up their diet. I think we are just ahead of the migration. We will return to hunt the cover at Lester’s Square as often as we can through October in hopes of intercepting a few migrating woodcock. Hera and Nos run well together and Hera has really taken to hunting with great enthusiasm. She turns one year old in the first week of October and is coming along nicely in her training.

We made our way to another patch of cover in the forest we call Paden. It is with some trepidation that we bring Nos there as a couple of years ago during a training run he attacked and killed a porcupine, suffering grievous injury in the process. I remember speeding back to Ottawa to the emergency veterinary clinic where Nos was sedated and in surgery for hours, having hundreds of quills removed from his face and mouth. We avoided the area where the attack took place and in the course of the hunt turned up one woodcock in a pocket of cover I expected to find birds. The woodcock was bumped by Nos and Jason dumped it cleanly with his new Beretta over and under. By then it was almost noon and the temperature had risen to 25 degrees C. The wind was picking up also, so we called it a day. Hera had a good morning afield, running and hunting hard. I cannot wait to get back in to the field with her.

Posted by Geoffrey

Ducks float; Duck hunters don’t.

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The 2013 hunting seasons open next month and my hunting buddies and I eagerly anticipate taking to the field with our dogs. One of our favourite past times is waterfowl hunting. My hunting buddies and I have successfully gunned for wild ducks and geese over land and water over the years. My first duck hunting experience was in 1976 when I was fifteen years old. I was new to the sport and really clueless. My father and I sat, waiting, in our Ford Pinto for legal shooting time to start; it had not occurred to us we could be sitting in our blind waiting for shooting time to start. I may have been clueless about waterfowl hunting, but I had taken to heart what I learned in the Ontario Hunter Education Program about hunter safety. New hunters are required to take this course and  pass written and practical examinations before obtaining a hunting license. I have been careful over the years to strictly adhere to safe and ethical hunting practices, but found, one morning while out duck hunting, how the most minor lapse in judgement can result in disaster (near disaster in my case). What follows is an account of events from that morning, October 8, 2009. Continue reading

Christie (1994-2004)

 

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Christie (1994-2004)

 

Christie was my first gun dog. I brought her home on April 16, 1994 when she was between six and seven weeks old. She passed away on May 19, 2004. Her life came to an untimely end due to cancer. Her death was a devastating loss for me. Letting her go was difficult, but now I treasure my memories of our time together. She lives on in my memories, one of which I noted in my diary many years ago and will share with you here.

I remember fondly one magical day afield with Christie on October 14, 2000. I had planned to go afield that morning with Christie and Glenn Lester, one of my hunting buddies. It was raining when I woke up, and Glenn called to bow out because of the rain. Undaunted, I took Christie and we set off to a patch of cover in the Marlborough Forest I call Twins. By the time we arrived at Twins, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. We arrived at about 8:00 AM. It was a Saturday morning. The temperature would climb to about 18 degrees C by mid-morning.

Christie and I set out on what would prove to be a most memorable hunt for woodcock. Christie locked up on point in minutes. I walked up the point and flushed a woodcock. It offered a fairly easy shot, but I managed to miss cleanly to Christie’s chagrin. No matter, it turned out, because Christie quickly pointed another woodcock. This time I did not miss. We moved on through the cover, working our way through the first of a series of meadows and through some pines. By the time we reached the second meadow, I had four woodcock in the bag, all shot over Christie’s points. This was exciting. We continued through the cover, working our way through the lowland bogs with aspen, alder, birch and hawthorn. There were more than thirty woodcock flushes that morning, most of which were over Christie’s points. By the time we completed our sweep of the cover at about 12:00 PM, I had seven woodcock in the bag. This is just one short of the daily limit of eight birds. I thought about stopping at one more cover on the way home to get the bird number eight, but decided that knowing I could do this was sufficient.

I will love Christie forever. May she rest in peace.

Posted by Geoffrey