The Hill Harvest in Progress
All the training of pointers are for a safe and sustainable harvest of the wild grouse on the hills. For those, who are not familiar with the grouse, they are wild birds that live of heather, insects and berries on the Scottish and English moors. To help the birds’ survival, estates spend vast amounts of money on ‘keepers, who control the vermin and help the habitat for the grouse. This also benefits the habitats of many other non-game birds such as Black Cock, Lapwing, Curlews, Sky Lark and many, many other small birds.
My three German Wirehaired Pointers have to hunt the moor, using the wind to smell the birds and then indicate where they think the birds are sitting. They then have to push the birds out of the heather on command and when they are shot, collect the birds tenderly so that the meat is perfectly usable for the table. Many people prefer young grouse, but having eaten this wonderful wild species for many years, I have learned that well prepared older birds are just as enjoyable. Barbecued grouse is simply divine.
Here are some photos of the season so far. We have been blessed with mostly dry weather and there has been time to take photographs. Although I shoot over my dogs from time to time, I mainly use the dogs as a service for people who want to shoot over pointers and who don’t have a well trained dog themselves.
The Glorious 12th of August:
You can JUST see Gollum with his orange collar on point in the heather by the arrow. He has pressed himself down, just sticking his nose up to keep in touch with the bird scent. The guns are walking in and ready.
When the guns are ready, the dog moves forward and flushes the grouse out of the heather.
On the shot, it is very important that the dog marks where the bird falls. This is so that the retrieve can be done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
There is always great admiration for the shot quarry. Every bird will be used for the pot.
Hosts and ‘keepers are interested in each bird to check for health and age. All birds are divided in to old and young.
Here is Gaia, my three year old, on point:
On the command, she rushes in to flush.
She performs a perfect retrieve:
The Glorious 12th was really hot and humid with very little wind. Enough wind to work the dogs and to keep the midges away, but the FLIES!!!!
Luckily there are water holes and I always bring water in my bag in case we hit parts of the ground where water is scarce.
A great day was had by all.
13/06/2015 14:16Training a Hunt, Point and Retrieve (HPR) dog is a bit limited during May and June as you can’t really allow the dog to hunt where you might come across ground nesting birds. Training the dog to find grouse on the moor..
03/04/2016 10:46Let me just get the bragging out of the way first: My two German Wirehaired Pointers spend most of their time working, but I do enter the odd Field Trial as it's a fun day out. I am not prepared to travel the country ent..