New Year’s morning in the bogs and thickets.

Dear All,

Might I take this opportunity to wish all readers of Upland Equations a very happy New Year, and great sport in 2010.

My New Year certainly started with a bang, (quite literally) as I have just spent the morning of January 1st, chasing woodcock in the gorse patches, and Alder thickets down on the coast.

A good friend of mine invited me to shoot with him in this place of bogs and blackthorn tangles, so without a second thought, I grabbed the 20 bore, whistled Hazel into the back of the jeep, and off we went!

As I write, most of the north east of Scotland is under a foot of snow, but the extreme coastal strip has been spared, largely due to the salt winds blowing in off the sea. As a result large numbers of ‘Cock have accumulated there, and this morning I saw birds in numbers I had never before witnessed. Amazing!

With my cocker Hazel, and my friend’s two excellent springers, we spent a couple of hours working the thickest and most likely looking cover, (leaving a fair share of skin and hair on the dagger like thorns of the Sloe bushes and briars). Fortunately, our efforts were rewarded with 10 woodcock in the game bag, of which I was lucky enough to shoot 6.

The morning’s bag, (and I have the scratches to prove it!).

All credit of course goes to the dogs, without which, we would have shot or found nothing. Even a dead woodcock is a challenge to locate in this tangled, primeval place, and without the spaniel’s finely tuned noses, we would have come home empty handed.

The ‘A’ team. Without which, the game bag would remain empty.

Away now to warm my feet by the woodstove, and enjoy a celebratory dram of the creature!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Happy New Years to you to Scolopax! Sounds like a glorious way to spend the New Year's first day! Andy did the same thing this morning too…chasing huns I was just informed! We chased scaled quail yesterday in shirt sleeves here in Colorado!

  2. Glückliches Neues Jahr, Scolopax.(I have to try to be different.)Great hunt. Those woodcock are going to be ever so good to eat. I would wrap the breasts in bacon and put them over hot coals on an outdoor grill and then break out one of our big Zinfandel reds from California. Bon Appetit!No wild birds for me anymore but we do our share of damage at the game club and I will be out again next Tuesday with Pride. Aren't the dogs wonderful? Without one I just wouldn't even go out. My job is find birds for her, not the other way 'round. I think Wm Tapply said that somewhere and I agree with it totally.Please keep us posted on your adventures.

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