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 Triumphs, Trials and Tribulations of Great Bay Babe & Belle. 
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King of Spring

Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:09 pm
Posts: 1275
Location: Seacoast NH
Post Re: Triumphs, Trials and Tribulations of Great Bay Babe & Be
"And when we hit and kneel to smooth the feathers back ,only poetry can express the gratitude that fills our heart"

By Reid Bryant, RGS Magazine Winter 2016

Day 2 of the 2nd half of our 2016 Partridge Gypsy Tour.

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Maine Grouse 12-2-16 web.jpg
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Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:46 pm
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King of Spring

Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:09 pm
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Location: Seacoast NH
Post Re: Triumphs, Trials and Tribulations of Great Bay Babe & Be
12-05-16
Snow Day

12-06-16
Back to southern NH. This should have been a buddy hunt due to the new fallen snow, the up and down elevation of land and how slippery the new snow was on hidden ground cover. But who has Tuesday off in December?

Started at the top of the mountain and worked down to the beaver ponds. First third of the hunt no grouse tracks.

The grouse I fired at twice last week left me tracks in the snow. Good to know it was a miss. Couldn't find it this time.

Saw tracks of two more grouse and flushed two singles of which I shot at the latter. Notta feather. :(

Coyote tracks dominated the 24 hour lull of snow. They moved everywhere in that piece last night. Belle sure set them straight. She is in heat and peed, peed and peed on any markings , poo or pee, the yotes left on the roads. I bet they spent last night looking for those sweet smells.

Tomorrow the Lakes Region when it stops snowing. Our Tour continues.

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Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:47 pm
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King of Spring

Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:09 pm
Posts: 1275
Location: Seacoast NH
Post Re: Triumphs, Trials and Tribulations of Great Bay Babe & Be
12-07-16
Tried a new spot today. No tracks, no flushes. Cover looked promising. I will be back.

Second cover today managed only one flush. Of course I never saw it. There is an ESP between Belle and I. We were on the outskirts of the thick cover the grouse like when I noticed, no Belle. I stopped to listen because the compacting snow is very loud with each step. And like clockwork I heard the grouse flush and that tweeting sound it makes. Almost laughing. I looked skyward because in that cover it is the only way you can see. No bird.

Then I saw its tracks. So I know due to the fresh snow we didn't walk by any birds. Man, the population of grouse south of the notch is not very good.

But complaining won't put breasts on the dinner menu. It all comes down to shoe leather and I still have plenty left.

12-08-16
As soon as the black ice turns to asphalt the Tour continues. Today back to the Lakes Region.

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Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:47 pm
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King of Spring

Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:09 pm
Posts: 1275
Location: Seacoast NH
Post Re: Triumphs, Trials and Tribulations of Great Bay Babe & Be
12-08-16
Back to the mountain where we found these wild grapes this fall.

The snow told me there was a grouse nearby. The tracks led into a thicket I got a woodcock out of this fall.

Belle has a special way of making a grouse feel nervous. Instinct took over. I was sure surprised to see it tumble down.

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In all honesty I can't take the credit. This grouse was flying while intoxicated.

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Now that is 100 proof grouse right there. :)

Trust Your Dog
All along the woods road Belle and I used today to get up the mountain were tracks of a flock of turkeys. They were heading north. We were heading south. I estimated five hens.

Any time Belle lifts her nose in the air and bolts I take notice. She darts out through the open woods on what I presume is a deer when up on the open hardwood hillside I see the folk of turkeys running. I just stopped. I watched Belle see them then sprint. I knew the sound I was about to hear when she split the flock to all compass points. Putting and cackles filled the air.

These turkeys had to be a 100 yards from us when she smelled them.

Trust Your Dog.

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Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:51 pm
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King of Spring

Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:09 pm
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Location: Seacoast NH
Post Re: Triumphs, Trials and Tribulations of Great Bay Babe & Be
12-10-16
Two towns and four covers yesterday searching for grouse. The starting temps were 18 degrees with a very, very brisk wind. Brrr. The wind and crunchy snow made hearing a bird flush almost impossible.

Map My Tracks said the hunts took a total of 4.19 hours and I walked 7.17 miles. Because of the snow I walked fast. No tracks, no grouse. Found them in pockets of the habitat. No grapes today. :(

In all that I guesstimate from tracks, hearing and seeing, 12 grouse. 10 tracks, 1 heard, 1 seen.

Game bag empty. Had a great day with my Grouse Commander Belle.

Wildlife inventory
Grouse
Chickadees
So many snowshoe hare I'm considering adopting someone's beagles. I'll give them back.
Squirrels
Mice
Weasel
Deer in every piece. Some loaded. Didn't we just have deer season?
Porcupines
Fisher
Otter
Bobcat
Moose
Bear. I started looking at my backtrack. I don't like Yogi's who are out in December snow. Means they are hungry. I wear a size 12.

Attachment:
Bear%2012-10-16%20web.jpg
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Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:53 pm
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King of Spring

Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:09 pm
Posts: 1275
Location: Seacoast NH
Post Re: Triumphs, Trials and Tribulations of Great Bay Babe & Be
12-24-16
Took Belle out for a local grouse hunt before the rain this AM.

We moved a couple birds but they flushed wild ahead of our pursuit.

The landowner would like the beaver removed so we sidetracked to the pond to check on the activity. The soft snow on the ice revealed a set of tracks I don't see often.

Two bobcats traveling together.

Walking the woods road along the flowage Belle cast to my right. In a flash I noticed something brown coming from her direction.

She pushed a good size bobcat right in front of me. The cat never saw me. In a flash here comes Belle on the fresh scent. A sharp whistle along with the command "Leave It" and she lost interest in the feline.

No wonder the partridge were so flighty.

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Belle web.jpg
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Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:54 pm
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King of Spring

Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:09 pm
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Location: Seacoast NH
Post Re: Triumphs, Trials and Tribulations of Great Bay Babe & Be
12-31-16
Last day of our 2016 Partridge Gypsy Tour. Carlton Brook's Great Bay Belle is a Grouse Commander. She moved two grouse, I missed two grouse.

Great way to participate in the sport and leave seed for next year. I may have made the ammo companies richer but not as much as I have been enriched hunting behind this dog.

No tests, no trials. It is all about the hunt.

One man, one dog. This is my champion!

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Last day 12-31-16 paint.jpg
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Sat Dec 31, 2016 4:49 pm
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King of Spring

Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2004 4:50 pm
Posts: 2499
Location: central Va
Post Re: Triumphs, Trials and Tribulations of Great Bay Babe & Be
Nice journey Coalman. Thanks for taking us. A super '17 to you and yours!


Sun Jan 01, 2017 2:34 pm
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King of Spring
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Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:12 am
Posts: 2006
Location: Midland, VA
Post Re: Triumphs, Trials and Tribulations of Great Bay Babe & Be
Great stories and pics, thanks for sharing. The love of the hunt and dog, summed up nicely.


Earl

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Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:25 am
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King of Spring

Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:09 pm
Posts: 1275
Location: Seacoast NH
Post Re: Triumphs, Trials and Tribulations of Great Bay Babe & Be
Go South my friend.

Wild bird season in NH is closed now.

Belle and I were invited to the 'Second Chance Club' in central CT for a pheasant hunt.

It is as close to Corey Ford's journeys south of the 'Lower Forty Shooting, Angling and Inside Straight Club' I'll ever get.

Thank you Irishwhistler for a chance to live a southern gentleman's redneck adventure.

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Carlton Brook's Great Bay Belle 01-21-17.JPG
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Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:40 pm
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King of Spring

Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:09 pm
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Location: Seacoast NH
Post The Money Bird
My son Shawn and I attended our first ever Continental Driven Shoot at New England Upland in Hillsborough, NH yesterday.

It was based on a St Patrick's Day theme.

The breakfast and lunch were both Irish traditional. The corned beef was the best.

Even with temps in the single digits upon our arrival and in the teens when we were stationed at our first peg we both worked up a sweat calling shots and shooting birds.

The luck of the Irish was with Team O'Hearn. We heard the shooting start two pegs to our north. As the shots reigned Shawn saw the bird angling in our direction.

Shawn called the shot for me and stood as my backup.

It was only after the birds flight path suddenly stopped and it pitched to earth that we saw the two green ribbons on his legs.

The afternoon walk up hunt with Belle was tough. As much as 20" of snow still blanketed the landscape especially in northern exposures. We hunted on snowshoes. Belle put five more birds to flight. Four of which filled our game pouches.

The Money Bird.

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Bacon wrapped pheasant breast ....it's what's for dinner.

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Pheasant poppers 03-19-17.jpg
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Thank you New England Upland.

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Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:05 pm
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King of Spring

Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:09 pm
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Location: Seacoast NH
Post Woodcock Migration
03-02-17
The woodcock are back. We have some cold weather coming this weekend. They maybe a little early but I'm sure the protected seeps won't freeze. Most of our snow is gone. It was sixty degrees yesterday. Predicting single digit mornings this weekend.

Belle and I are going to try and find a couple before the ticks start to emerge.

03-03-17
The Smell of Woodcock
Having recently digested Tom Waters 'Timberdoodle Tales' my passion has turned to the spring migration of the Mudbats. I relate to Charlie and the Judge. No point required. Bird!

Woodcock are like wood ducks. Best viewed at dawn and dusk. During my twilight walks with the yellow dogs I have been looking.

From our recent three feet of snow to days of sixty degrees. Welcome to New Hampshire.

Our property line is defined by a spring that never freezes, ever. It feeds a stream that flows into a brook that mixes with the brackish water of the Squamscott River.

During my recent library read, stream side, hunting defined the most visited covers.

Along with the warm-up I have been looking for the travelers sign along the thin thread of open water. I have seen two bats of the mammal kind to date. February 23 and March 1st.

Tonight at dusk with Belle in tow a woodcock appeared. Wings beating as fast as a wood duck it disappeared into suburbia. The Yellow Dog stood from her sit and tested the wind.

It was an Upland Hunters moment.

The forecast is for single digits tonight. Will it roost against a warm foundation?

Tomorrow despite the temperature the Timberdoodle will return to the soft soil of our spring seep.

Belle and I plan to be there.

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Last edited by Coalman on Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:11 pm
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King of Spring

Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:09 pm
Posts: 1275
Location: Seacoast NH
Post Woodcock Migration Cont.
March 08, 2017
Belle saw them first. 6:02 PM. At heel, same spot. Her eyes to the sky. Two woodcock. One behind the other.

The same path as last week. SSW.

Tonight they turned, hard right, against the horizon resembling a wood duck and a bat. They looked like a mammal but maneuver like a fowl.

Apartment buildings now light up our western sky.

They cupped their wings and disappeared under the tree line into our ribbon of brook. We live on the edge. Between the future and the past.

The unseen nightly spring migration is on.

03-09-17
Between 6:02 and 6:10 PM tonight I saw 8 woodcock come to roost on a piece of conservation land bordered by a local river. There were more. I could hear them but couldn't see them.

Belle and I saw geese, ducks and a barred owl. She barked treed on the owl just like she does for grouse.

Spring has sprung in southern NH.

03-12-17
Saw my BIL at my son's B-Day party yesterday. He saw this woodcock in his yard along the driveway about 4PM yesterday. And another one roadside a few minutes later.

These were in New Castle, NH. Right on the ocean.

So far this has been a really good flight. I wish them the best.

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New Castle, NH woodcock 03-12-17 web va.jpg
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Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:18 pm
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King of Spring

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Location: Seacoast NH
Post The Brook that Never Freezes
I think they are going to be OK. It is all about spring seeps right now.

03-16-17
Tuesday’s blizzard was a blessing to this snowshoe enthusiast. The backyard trail is open, nicely packed and groomed.

The storm is allowing me to go backwards just as I was going forward enjoying the annual migration north of the American Woodcock.

Having seen as many as eleven birds to date there is no doubt their internal compasses are pointing north.

Woodcock require soft thawed ground in order for them to find their primary diet of earthworms. Looking across our current landscape as winter holds its grip it is very hard to find any open ground.

Tonight I stopped by the raccoon den tree. At its base there is a very defined trail where raccoons have been coming down to forage in the small woodlot we call our backyard.

The tree overlooks the brook that does not freeze. I stood a moment wondering about the migrating timberdoodles and their need for food when I saw a very familiar shape standing in the open water.

No way I thought. My brain was trying to fool my eyes. I needed a closer look.

As I broke trail down to the brook I swear I saw the shape move. As I approached a small woodcock took flight. In its twisting turning way it rose up and settled back down about twenty yards further up the brook.

I stood in awe at this creature’s survival ability. I thanked the Lord for allowing me the fleeting glace.

Not wanting to disturb it again I turned and followed the brook up to where I had seen two woodcock come to roost last week. Although I did not see any more flyers right at dusk from somewhere along the ribbon of open water came the unmistakable buzzy, nasal ‘peent’ of a male woodcock.

Blessed, best describes my adventures.

The Brook that Never Freezes

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Brook that never freezes.jpgweb.jpg
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Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:43 pm
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King of Spring

Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:09 pm
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Location: Seacoast NH
Post Neighbors Spring
03-17-17
This spring originates on our neighbor's property. Like our boundary spring it never freezes.

On my hike tonight just as my snowshoe touched the bridge a woodcock flushed.

In an instinctive instant, I shouldered my imaginary shotgun and mouthed two shots. Bang-Bang.

My muscle reaction in now involuntary. I wish I could teach my shot pattern the same.

This woodcock was much bigger than yesterday's. Until we meet in October, live long my friends.

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Tom's Spring.JPG
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Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:48 pm
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