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Northwoods Grouse Hunt: Chapter 35
Unread 10-20-2022, 11:28 AM   #1
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Default Northwoods Grouse Hunt: Chapter 35

We are finally back at Cabin #6 in Northern Minnesota, our 35th year of grouse hunting here in the Northwoods. We arrived to snow squalls and cold temperatures, our first day never rising above freezing. We are finding grouse -- a flush rate over 3 birds per hour -- but not getting many shots. We've opted to go later in October the past few years to avoid the hunters of the warmer temperatures. Fewer hunters now, but spookier birds. It's all part of the hunt.

We have our new pup along, which presents both great pleasures...and challenges. Prairie Rill is a bold pup, and needs watching closely on our walks. She got to scent her first wild bird, one of what I hope will be many in the future. A hunter has to be optimistic to take on a puppy.

Key to photos:

1. The first grouse of the season is special. When it's taken fairly, with a cherished gun, and over a pup you trained yourself, it's even more poignant.

2. Little Rill is just barely 10 weeks old, but she liked her first sniff of grouse.

3. We don't seek out woodcock on these trips, but they are a welcome gift when we find them. Our dogs don't seem to like them as much as grouse, but they do like pointing them. Like others with woodcock experience, I'm finding the birds seem to move out from points more now than in the past.

4. My gun for the first week of our hunt is my 1904 DH 16. It's a #1 frame gun with original 26" barrels and high dimensions for its straight/splinter configuration. Spreader 8s for the right barrel, with spreader 7 1/2s in the left, make the tightly choked barrels good for these late October skittish birds.

5. Prairie Aspen is in his seventh season, and he is a comfortable-to-shoot-over dog who adjusts his range to the cover. He's getting most of the hunt time now that Alder has some years on her, and he likes his "couch time" after a long day in the woods.

6. Two more tired "old dogs" take a nap on the couch. Clearcut Notorious Black Alder (age 10) and wife Elaine of Italian heritage (age withheld for the safety of the poster). Yes, Andy, there are some Italians in Minnesota . Please don't tell Elaine I posted this photo, or I won't get supper for the rest of the trip!
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Unread 10-20-2022, 11:44 AM   #2
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Looks like a great trip and great pup you have there Garry.
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Unread 10-20-2022, 12:09 PM   #3
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Always enjoy your hunting adventures and the related photos! Please keep them coming! If I ever retire I plan to make a trip to the grouse woods. At least I am getting my grouse guns lined up for a trip some day.
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Unread 10-20-2022, 03:30 PM   #4
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The UP is a big item on my to do list. This year was not the year though . . .
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Unread 10-20-2022, 09:15 PM   #5
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Great pictures and beautiful dogs Garry, one day may have to get a Gordon. I am in Escanaba, Mi as I type , and boots will be on the ground tomorrow. Drove 725 miles today. I cant get into my new-to-me cabin until Sat afternoon. Will drive north tomorrow to hunt some covers I havent been into for years, and promising new areas found on OnX. Will spend tomorrow night at cabin with my best friend Terry, and then both of us will move into the new place on Sat for 2 weeks. I dodged the snow/weather bullet. Talked to Kenny Graft, SXS Ohio, he will get into Maine tonight.
Brett Hoops is in N. Wisconsin with a friend. He is able to get 4-5 miles/day, but generally carrying a walking stick instead of a gun, but I am so happy that he is trying to persevere and still get out there.
Post more pictures, and I will try to do the same
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Unread 10-21-2022, 09:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reggie Bishop View Post
Always enjoy your hunting adventures and the related photos! Please keep them coming! If I ever retire I plan to make a trip to the grouse woods. At least I am getting my grouse guns lined up for a trip some day.
Reggie, when I read your comment, I could not help but think about a line from Sparse Grey Hackle's story, Fishless Days, "If fishing interferes with your business, give up your business...the trout do not rise in Greenwood Cemetery." When someone chides me about hunting too much or too often, I like to note that the grouse do not flush in Greenwood Cemetery either.

Get those guns lined up and ready. If you choose to hit the Northwoods in late October, meet us at the oldest bar in Minnesota at Hayslips, and we'll take you on a trail or two we know of...
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Unread 10-21-2022, 09:45 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Harold Lee Pickens View Post
Great pictures and beautiful dogs Garry, one day may have to get a Gordon. I am in Escanaba, Mi as I type , and boots will be on the ground tomorrow. Drove 725 miles today. I cant get into my new-to-me cabin until Sat afternoon. Will drive north tomorrow to hunt some covers I havent been into for years, and promising new areas found on OnX. Will spend tomorrow night at cabin with my best friend Terry, and then both of us will move into the new place on Sat for 2 weeks. I dodged the snow/weather bullet. Talked to Kenny Graft, SXS Ohio, he will get into Maine tonight.
Brett Hoops is in N. Wisconsin with a friend. He is able to get 4-5 miles/day, but generally carrying a walking stick instead of a gun, but I am so happy that he is trying to persevere and still get out there.
Post more pictures, and I will try to do the same

Harold, I'm so glad to read your report -- that you and Kenny (I hope with his lovely Miss Ruby) are on the prowl. I'm especially happy to know that Brett made it north and is getting his miles in. Good luck, good shooting, and above all, savor your time in the coverts. We only have a limited number of days, and never know when we've hunted our last covert.

Yes, please post photos! Do it on this thread and maybe others who are chasing grouse at present will do so, too. Maybe even Brett will chime in??
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Unread 10-21-2022, 01:38 PM   #8
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Very nice! I am hoping to make it up there next year. Great pics as always!
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Unread 10-21-2022, 02:39 PM   #9
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Maybe next year??
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Unread 10-21-2022, 02:43 PM   #10
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Maybe next year??
Well it's on the books, but so was this year....
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