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The first grouse point for a young pup makes a lifelong memory for a hunting team.

By Matt Soberg

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I try to be as modest as possible.  I’m not big on bragging boards and ‘grip and grin’ shots, but today, I have to break the mold.  Blitz, my six-month-old English Setter is figuring out the hunt game, and I couldn’t be more proud.

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The grouse were teaching him lessons.  We were lucky to find an area with grouse numbers and wily veterans not willing to cooperate.  Seemingly in one morning, Blitz appeared to bump birds more mildly with every encounter.

After a couple hours and no shots fired, we busted brush down a deer trail toward the truck.  Unfortunately for Blitz, were were heading downwind, making it difficult to locate any grouse scent cone.

I was watching him closely hoping we’d have some fourth quarter heroics.  The next few seconds are etched in my brain’s hunting archives forever.

At about 50 yards, Blitz quickly passed a downed log with a mossy rock and convenient underbrush.  Just getting downwind from the spot, he stopped dead, wheeling his head around in an instant.  His body almost trembled as his tail held stiff.

I whoa’d him like we’d done this a million times before.  To Blitz’s credit, he held his point better than his prior creeping encounters.  I rushed to his location, softly giving a whoa with every few steps.  He was locked.

As I approached the log, a quick flush and the tell-tale beating of wings flew straight away.  One quick shot led to a downed bird.  It happened so fast.

Not yet trained to steady from wing to shot, Blitz took off like a blast to the bird.  He pinned it down in the underbrush.  I rushed to the bird and held it in my hand. A bird in the hand is a special thing.  Blitz licked the feathers like this moment was meant to be.

Blitz didn’t stick around long and was quickly off to find more prey.  We didn’t jump any more birds that morning, but the experience held more significance than we both realized.  Hopefully, we can turn our first into many more.

I think we will.

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