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Northern Minnesota, Northern Minnesota Weather!
Unread 10-23-2020, 09:02 AM   #1
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Default Northern Minnesota, Northern Minnesota Weather!

Several years back we adjusted our annual two-week grouse hunt to avoid the warmer temperatures we'd encountered in early October. Well, that plan worked...and then some. We drove the last leg of our trip up in a heavy wet snow storm, and it's snowed three more days since we've been here. It's also been 12-17 degrees colder than average. I've had to order more Musher's Secret to be delivered to us here as our supply is already dwindling. But...we are here and the dogs love it.

Flush rates are not high, but I attribute that more to where and how we're hunting in these snowy conditions. Before the second snow there were spots underneath the evergreens that were still snow free, and we had good success finding birds there, but poor success in getting shots. On our first hunt we followed a new logging road deep into the woods and found birds in the aspen whips. They all flushed out of range, and we have had many flushes from trees. Lots of hunting, very few shot opportunities. On the walk out we saw fresh (and very large!) wolf tracks and those of a wandering black bear, I assume headed to its den.

Aspen has had some nice points, and we're giving him the most opportunities. He is still a puppy, but coming along nicely. He had a nice find that produced a bird delivered to hand. The 1904 26" DH 16 did its job.

We've seen the sun all of 20 minutes on the day after we arrived, and not a minute more since. Yesterday I saw that it was 78 degrees at home in North Missouri (our high here was 28). I'd rather be here with Elaine and the dogs in Cabin #6. This makes year number 33 for us, and although we have different dogs, and Elaine and I are older (and feeling it on these cold days), the enjoyment we have in our hunts, watching our dogs do what they love, has not dwindled.

More snow predicted for Sunday.

Photo Key:

1. The forest roads have been okay, but the county roads are dicey at best. The ground underneath the snow is not completely frozen, and it's treacherous to drive. Thankfully, we know the area and its roads well, and there is almost no competition from other hunters.
2. Most of the water in the area is still open, and this is a banner year for swans. We've seen more than in any other year. A good sign.
3. Our 20 minutes of sunshine!
4. A nice find by Aspen. I'd like to report that we got the bird, but like so many of our chances, this bird was only heard leaving...unceremoniously.
5. Aspen made a nice point and retrieve on this young bird.
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Unread 10-23-2020, 07:08 PM   #2
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At least it is snow and not rain!! Stay safe on the roads.

Ken
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Unread 10-23-2020, 08:04 PM   #3
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looks like a good place to make a snow man....charlie
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Unread 10-24-2020, 06:30 PM   #4
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I will be up there on Monday for a little over a week.
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Unread 10-25-2020, 09:52 AM   #5
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Bruce, it looks like the weather will moderate some next week, thank goodness. Maybe some sun and warmer temperatures will bring the grouse out of the evergreens. We had to order more Musher's Secret to be delivered to us here, but with thawing conditions (hopefully) things will improve for dog work. Not sure where you'll be, but maybe we can cross paths one day.
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Unread 10-26-2020, 07:53 AM   #6
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The forecast yesterday was for no snow. The radar showed no snow. When we pulled up to the spot we were going to hunt, the snow let go (and still did not show up on the radar). It snowed hard most of the day. No hunting on this day.
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Unread 10-26-2020, 11:06 AM   #7
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Hopefully, you'll have some good hunting days before you head back home.

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Unread 10-27-2020, 09:00 AM   #8
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yep, tough conditions, Garry. Putting up with the same here in the UP. Only had 2 snowfree days out of 12 so far. I rotate 3 setters, so no foot problems so far. Hard on our legs however in the slippery stuff. My hunting pardoned was here for 5 days, hunting by myself for 2 weeks. Hang in there. Good luck to you too Bruce
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Unread 10-27-2020, 10:32 AM   #9
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We went 11 miles yesterday, hitting young aspen, pine thickets, swamp edges, and spruce plantations. The sun was out for the first time since we've been here, and some of the south facing slopes were snow free. I thought I might find a bird or two sunning and looking for "salad" -- nothing! In 5-plus hours of hunting, we moved three grouse -- two only heard -- with no shots. After we got home I got pretty sick with some sort of intestinal bug. Not one of my best days. I think we'll take the morning off and regroup. We have had some of the least productive days in my 33 years of hunting here. We are not even seeing many tracks in the snow, at least grouse tracks. The wolves are on the move and we encounter fresh sign daily. There are some big ones roaming the Northwoods.

Reports from hunters before us were that the bird numbers were decent, so I can only speculate that they are sequestering themselves back in the thickest, protective cover. It was 13 degrees this morning with a stiff breeze, but tomorrow is forecast to be in the low 40s. Maybe the birds will move around more. Hope springs eternal in a hunter. I'm encouraged to read that Harold is finding birds and getting chances. I hope Bruce has better luck than we've had so far.
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Unread 10-27-2020, 10:48 AM   #10
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Looks to be a beautiful place to be afield Garry. I hope you find more birds soon!
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