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PA GROUSE AND WOODCOCK OPENS 10/17/2020...........


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Woodcock (some anyhow) are coming down the river and the dogs are trying...but I kicked up all 3 of the birds I saw. Crow pointed one that had apparently moved--Crow guessed left but as I followed I found it had moved right and I missed the shot. I walked up the other two, no shots taken. Hope some more are moving through this week.

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Finally knocked one down over my pup!  He made a nice track & retrieve.  These PA birds are a challenge...  Missed another bird on a wild flush.  Hot dry woods made for tough conditions but I'm gl

Starting to find some woodcock. Fortunately, some held tight!

Last year In the one state game land where I do most of my grouse hunting I did not have my first flush until the third week of the season. It was on an old over grown access road in a former strip mi

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boon hogganbeck
5 hours ago, Swampy 16 said:

Swing past your shot and most importantly, slow down. They’re fast but remember, your shot charge is going 1200 FPS or so, and they’re not that fast. It’s very very hard to remember that on the flush but you will kill more birds. Thai is coming from someone who misses a lot of birds so take it with a grain of salt. The ones I do kill however I notice are shots I swung on. Poke shots are usually misses. 

Good advice, thank you. 

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boon hogganbeck

Hit a central PA woodcock management area yesterday morn.  Didn't flush a bird. Cupboard seemed bare.  I thought they'd be there.  Gonna turn my attention back to grouse.

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On 10/1/2020 at 3:47 PM, Upland_Hunter said:

Last year In the one state game land where I do most of my grouse hunting I did not have my first flush until the third week of the season. It was on an old over grown access road in a former strip mine area and a clear open shot and I let the bird go. It was just nice to see that there was a grouse in the area. The following week I went back to the same place and ended up flushing four grouse of which i just saw one of them  and just heard the other three.  This was a thrill and made me feel good that there were more grouse in the area. The next week in another area of the game land I flushed three grouse and this time just heard them flush far out in front of me with never getting a glimpse of them. So, hopefully the population has risen a little bit this year.

This sounds like North Carolina, lol.

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17 hours ago, boon hogganbeck said:

Hit a central PA woodcock management area yesterday morn.  Didn't flush a bird. Cupboard seemed bare.  I thought they'd be there.  Gonna turn my attention back to grouse.

Yet, they could be there in numbers thr next day. That's just woodcock hunting.

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boon hogganbeck

Hit a couple grouse covers,

put in 3.5 hours in all. Got pretty warm for the dog & decided to pull the plug. One wild flush. Tough day. 

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boon hogganbeck

Finally knocked one down over my pup!  He made a nice track & retrieve.  These PA birds are a challenge...  Missed another bird on a wild flush.  Hot dry woods made for tough conditions but I'm glad we stuck with it.

 

50576886063_1bdcb8a7a6_c.jpgvance1 by Matt Null, on Flickr

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I’ve hit some of my best spots and the birds just don’t seem to be there this year. I almost feel like giving up on PA right now. Not sure what happened though it’s still early and maybe they’re just avoiding me.

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Upland_Hunter

I hunted on Friday (11/6) and Saturday (11/7) and the weather was fantastic with sunny blue skies and temps running a bit warm in the low 70's. On Friday I was focusing on woodcock and hunted them in the morning along the creek bottom with no success. I imagine that they have already made their way out of the area. Last Saturday i had two flushes in the boggy areas along the creek and got shots off at both of them and one was a clean miss through some very thick brush and the other it looked like a hit and after searching for 40 minutes could not locate it so I scored it as a miss. While along the creek bottom on Friday I flushed a grouse that was way out in front of me and got just a brief glimpse of it. I am seeing more grouse this year than I have in the last 3 years in the state game land that I hunt. So, there seems to be a pickup in the grouse population in the area and this is good to see. On Friday I did get a rooster and it was spooked by a couple of hunters with a dog in the adjacent field and was flying just to my right and cackling and coming into the thick brush area where I was standing boarding the woods and the fields. I just lead it and fired and dropped it. About a 30 yard shot. I was excited to get my first pheasant of the year. On Saturday it was very slow and had no flushes on anything. Heard a couple of pheasants cackling on a hillside but that was it. funny thing is that there were hardly any hunters out with their dogs. The game land was stocked on Friday but hardly anyone out with their dogs on Saturday. There was a volley of shots around 8:00AM an then a another volley of shots around 10:00AM and then it went silent for the rest of the day. Saw one other hunter with a 1 year old German shorthair in the one parking area and that was it. He was also suprised that there were not more hunters out and about. However, it was a very beautiful day with the sunny blue skies and warm temperatures. Cannot wait to make it out this coming weekend!!

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Found a flight of woodcock today. Flushed 9 in 1.5hrs. The weather was finally cool and damp. Nice day all around.

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20201112_150652.jpg

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11 minutes ago, floodcity said:

Found a flight of woodcock today. Flushed 9 in 1.5hrs. The weather was finally cool and damp. Nice day all around.

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Sure looks like the kind of cover I'd hunt for Woodcock! Good on you!

I just expanded the photo and saw the two dogs. Missed them before.

Fine looking gun too!

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boon hogganbeck

Well... it was an eventful day.  Lot of good things but also a day to make you tear your hair out.

 

Good news: 14 grouse flushes (at one point I had 4 birds, an old family group I guess, bust all at once). Bad news: they weren't holding, I didn't get any points out of my dog, I didn't bag any.

 

 Vance got birdy a few times & the bird would bust, so I know he was on them.  He did hold a staunch point where a bird flushed off a logging road, so evidently he knows what a grouse smells like. Well, he's young (10 months), I'll just work more on WHOA in the off-season and hope he figures it out. They were just really spooky. The grouse definitely outsmarted us today. Hopefully he learns to stop on first scent.

 

I lobbed rounds at several wild flushes but did not connect. A couple birds I should have hit.  Honestly the first one surprised me b/c it was 50 feet from the truck and I wasn't expecting that. Gave me a good crossing shot on a logging road.  

 

But I was quite happy to encounter so many PA birds, mostly in new covers to boot.  An action-packed, exciting day. Just wish I could've gotten a couple points off them.

 

More bad news: We parked to explore a new covert and were walking out a logging road, and Vance immediately got caught in a leg-hold trap (dirt set for coyotes). It happened so fast I thought a snake had got him.  He made sounds I've never heard from a dog, just banshee howling and twisting all around.  It was pretty awful.  It happened 10 feet in front of me so at least I could sort it out quickly.  I went to grab his collar to settle him down and he sank his teeth like a rattlesnake into the base of my thumb.  He tore up my left hand too somehow.  Then I took off my jacket (which I should have done in the first place) and wrapped his head and calmed him down. Thankfully I have enough WV redneck knowledge left in me to remember how to open the trap. Kind of a puzzle for one person to restrain a dog and get the trap off.There was blood on me, blood on the dog, I was just gushing. Got out the first aid kit and got sorted out.  Actually, Vance calmed down pretty good after that, and he wasn't limping and was raring to go.  We just kind of looked at each other and decided to go back at it, even though my hand was aching pretty good.  Indeed we flushed a bird just after that.  We put in several more miles after that--he's a tough little guy, 37 pounds of power.

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Wow Boon, you're doing well. I had a good day finding grouse on Friday afternoon, 6 flushes in about 2 hours. Nothing bagged, thought I hit one but I never saw it go down, dogs put in a hevkuvs big search but nothing. I've now flushed at least 6 birds from this cover twice now (hunted it 3 weeks apart.) Feeling real good about it and I'm still exploring it. I hit an old favorite spot on Saturday and couldn't flush a grouse or woodcock, just a couple pheasants.

 

Typical behavior from a dog in a trap, especially their first time. My older dog's first experience he tore a friend's arm up and then bit down on my hand hard when I got there and went to get him out. Put a coat over his head and he was out in a second. We kept hunting too. Flash forward to last Sunday and he and my younger one were on a morning run in a field and my younger one pointed a trap while my older dog then smelled it from a distance and slinked away. The younger one (she's been caught in one too) took her cue from him and left it as well. Then they found another one and avoided it.

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