It’s been a very down year for grouse populations here in the New York…. either seem to hit a nice patch of birds every so often or nothing at all. Tons of food this year…. a llew friend of mine from Michigan feels that they are around but food is so plentiful that they are spread out and habits are different. I’m starting to feel he is right…. the dogs are working really hard and getting birdy often with their cautious grouse behaviors, flash points then tracking around a bit…. in premium habitat. So though a down year for grouse ….. I think it’s even more so the year of the smart grouse!! I’ve hunted in an area where the dogs have found 9 birds in 20 minutes and then spent the next two weeks working that area and the square mile around it and not found a bird…. a lot of the birds I’m bagging this year are several years old so they know the rules of survival quite well. Here’s a photo of Duncan and Rogue after teaming up and working a handful of grouse very nicely….. their dad finally had a good shot and put a smile on their faces!