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2010 Ruff Grouse hunting reports-how did you do?


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CANOPY SAM

Wally. I'll keep an eye out for ya'. It's hard to make out your face in the avatar with that beautiful ski, but I'll find you one way or the other.

Tybo. The hiking is good? Are there maps or directions one can find in town?

Matt. I look forward to next weekend. As of now I think she's wide open. Sounds like a lot of fun, and I'm sure my son will be jacked as well. Just got him a new pair of hunting boots that we need to break in before we hit the cattail sloughs of NoDak.

May even take the fam up to GooseFest as well. Been a long time.

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Been out three days (4 hours a day) and have flushed 5-7 each day. Its too bad I can't shoot..haha. Busted up two each day. Below is a pic of my 14 month lab with her first two birds ever. Her first retrieve was alittle hairy but the second was flawless. She retrieved all 6.

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wdgold i was hunting the south side i seen the most amazing site as i was driving past one of the thicker areas i seen a big bull moose in the middle of the road was not afraid at all didnt think moose were down in nemadji

Jdog, It's funny you say that, back in the early 80's with my dad we saw a moose along that same road and that was first and only time we saw one in that area. I will try to make it up there on the weekend of the 2nd of Oct. with my son. Between my dad and I We have been hunting grouse in that area for the last 40 yrs.

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Canopy, That was my first trip to the area. We mostly hiked around the Temperance River and there some nice trails. We didn;t hike a whole lot we were mostly yhere to see the falls and get some pcitures. I talked the girlfriend into sneaking off on some trails to let me setters run and maybe get on a few birds. Seems like a nice network of trails from some hiking clubs there but we didn't explore them too much. We got some info at the information desk at Bluefin and there is more you can get at the State Park office at Temperance.

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Matt,

I hope to bag a few woodcock. I love hunting those little birds. I'm in the wing survey again this year. Found some nice local bird coverts near my house that I can hunt during the week. Me and my friend Wes will be back up to Chippewa NF this wekeend. Good luck to all.

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CANOPY SAM

Thanks for the tips tybo. Looking forward to some nice walks in the woods. I imagine it would be prudent to have everyone wearing orange? We'll make sure to bring the camera! Hope this rain clears by Saturday. Feel sorry for the folks in SE MN this morning. Sounds pretty bad....

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Ely Lake Expert

All these posts of many flushes and few birds in the bag had me feeling pretty good. Then "Ely Lake Expert" has to come on with that garbage. Good grief...I was ready to set my bar perty low, but not anymore.

Good work! That must have been great to see those dogs work all those birds!!

I'd love to get a couple limits in the freezer and not have to ration grouse meat until next fall! Kudos, sir.

smile

Thanks, it was very fun to see the dogs in action. Definitely didn't forget anything from last year. The pup picked things up quickly too. I will be out again this weekend hopefully with the same results.

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Matt. I look forward to next weekend. As of now I think she's wide open. Sounds like a lot of fun, and I'm sure my son will be jacked as well. Just got him a new pair of hunting boots that we need to break in before we hit the cattail sloughs of NoDak.

May even take the fam up to GooseFest as well. Been a long time.

I won't be at Goose Fest. My wife's parents are both from Middle River, and most of her family lives up there yet. They spend the weekend up there, and it's a family thing for them. I stick around TRF and up toward the cabin hunting my tail off for the weekend!

Ty, you need to get up here yet one of these days. I want to see that bird hunting trailer in person.

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Kyle try pillsbary you take hwy 77 west the roads to look for pillsbury trl. beauty lake road lot of trails down them. let me know i could show ya.

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Judge Smails

Finished my five days around Nevis yesterday. Once the wind and clouds came in earlier this week I hardly saw a bird. Hoping for some good weather and a few more startling flushes in a couple weeks in the NE part of the state.

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I would love to get together if you are interested in hunting? I acutally went out there today, didn't flush a bird, but I was also trying to stay away from the really thick grasses. I concentrated on brush piles in heavily wooded, but semi open ground foilage. Im sure there are good numbers of birds in there, but with the poor weather they were probably holed up in the nasty stuff. With the way the ticks are, Im just not willing to bring the dog through that right now.

Let me know if you want to go out though...I dont know anyone around here and love to hunt.

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They say the best day to go hunting is the one you can......so my day was today...RAIN and 30 mph wind...but in 3 1/2 hrs and bringing out my 5 year old for his first grouse hunt. ( He held up quite well considering the weather..) We put up about 15 birds in that span only bagging one but I'll take it. I'm not sure if the highlight of my day was my dog finding that bird that I never knew I hit, or my son so proud of that bird and begging to put it in his game pouch. It was great to be in the woods again! Rain and all!

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Kyle, when I lived down that way I used to hunt around Crosby and Aitkin most often. Some great areas that never get touched around there. Do yourself a favor and pick up some PRIM maps and you'll be knocking down birds in no time...

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I hunted from sun-up--if you can call it that--till about 5:30 pm today. I spent most of my time in the Pine Island State Forest west of Big Falls and ended up at the Bowstring and Egg Lake walking trails in Itasca County.

I got soaking wet! Rained on me til almost noon. Every trail I tried in northern Itasca County had LOTS of standing water. I went over my knee high rubber boots twice just trying to keep going.

With it being so rainy, I didn't think I'd see much...though I guess I had higher hopes for some of the remote trails off of Pine Island Forest Road. I was just walking without a dog. Flushed a total of only 8 birds. Four of those birds flushed off the trail and I didn't even see them to get a shot. Of the other 4, I got one, missed 2 easy shots (I suck), and one bird flushed out of the top of a 40+ foot aspen tree....I never have THAT happen this time of year. Do you guys usually see grouse in taller trees during the middle of the day in Sept/Oct??

On top of that fun, I saw a Spruce Grouse on the Pine Island Forest Road, heard a Boreal Chickadee, saw several flocks of American Pipits (including several pipits mingling with some Lapland Longspurs at a logging landing that I watched for a while), lots of White-throated Sparrows with a couple of Harris's Sparrows, Palm & Yellow-rumped Warblers, a singing Blue-headed Vireo, 3 magpies, and lots of juncos. Also, there were fresh moose tracks at Bowstring...something I don't see a lot of in the Chippewa National Forest.

A good day considering the slow results.

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Wow, you covered some serious ground! Was the bird that flushed into the tall pine a sprucie? Could explain it. I've had it happen numerous time in Pine Island, never to be seen again!

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Nope. The high flush was a Ruffed from the top of an aspen at Egg Lake. You know, I almost never look up when grouse hunting unless it's really early or late in the day from late November through the end. Maybe I should look up more.

Yeah, I walked. And walked. And walked. It was great!

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I put in two hours north of whitefish chain today. Put up 6 grouse and 6 woodcock that I saw, to windy to hear the others my dogs jumped. Only fired one shot and got one super tasty grouse out of the deal. Could have killed all the woodcock, was lucky to get the ruffie though. What a great way to start the season, 1 shot, 1 clean kill, one perfect retrieve. Basically the same as last year in this area. The guy that just moved to Brainerd, check out the 20 square miles of county land north of whitefish. Get a good map and explore good bird hunting is around it.

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I was aware of that. Plus I dont kill timbledoodles while in season anyway, but I love watching the dogs put them in the sky.

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Kyle,

I believe lots of Potlatch land that the public can still hunt because of a conservation easement east of Hwy 3 along Hwy 11 south of Cross Lake. Lots of pine and Pine River bottom land. I shot my first grouse in there 25 years ago and it always held grouse back when I hunted the area.

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St. Louis County.

Went out Saturday with my brother to an area I've only hunted one other time a couple years ago. It's full of different aged aspens. Walking in past the no motorized vehicle sign not more than 50 yards in was a bear bait site from this year. Felt kind of bad walking through but it was right off the trail and didn't look very active. Kind of an odd way to start the day but it became one of those odd days. My 4 year Griffon was just starting to go into heat and my 10 month old male Lab dogged her all day. Right off the the bear site we were into birds. Got our first one not a couple hundred yards from the vehicle. Explored some new country and were into birds whenever we passed through good cover and even some in not such great cover. Shells became a precious commodity by the walk back out. Nice we both shoot twenties. Birds were in an area that gets very little bird hunting pressure I'm guessing except for road hunters. The deep woods birds were not use to seeing bird dogs or people. We hunt Mille Lacs WMA and are use to birds that receive high hunting pressure. Was a nice change of pace not to have other people around. Those bids we hunted on Saturday wouldn't last a weekend in Mille Lacs. My brother coined the term "pre perch shooting". One bird he shot was trying to land in a tree even after he missed it twice. It's feet never touched the branch but it sure was trying hard to land even after the 2nd shot. It was way up in a big old tall aspen. Was funny to be able to see it all from a ways back. Most birds even the young ones were big and good flyers. Didn't get to hunting till well after 10 and quit around 4. Flushed between 35-40 birds and not a lot of re flushes. Not a single wood cock. We weren't in the best wood cock cover but even still it seemed odd not to put up a couple birds. The fall colors were awesome with the aspens and maples really turning great colors. Looked for some future young stands of aspens latter in the day and found a stretch of county land so full of snow shoes it was hilarious. They were in about a half mile stretch of road. We logged that in the memory banks and might be back there this winter with the .22's. All in all was a good day to be in the field and the couple days I've been able to grouse hunt so far this year have seen good numbers of birds for the hours hunted.

Some pictures my brother took through out the day. Glad he brought his camera because I forgot an SD card for mine.

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Really like the middle one's red ruff.

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Break time.

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My daughters first grouse. She's logged some miles walking with me so it was nice she got one. My dad was also along and got his first grouse in five years. We ended up with five for the weekend. Didn't hit it too hard but had a great time. Weather was great and but the company was even better.

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Matt,

I will do my best. We had a change of plans over the weekend and hunted around lake Mile Lacs. I am pretty sure I took that trailer a few places it shouldn't have gone. I think you know one of them - Ripple River WMA, SW section. The problem with that road is there's no turning that thing around. We hunted quite a few places and moved a good number of birds over the weekend but there is just too much on the trees still. Did bang down a few woodcock and the pup stuck a nice woodcock point. Wes and I got 2 grouse and 3 woodcock. How was your weekend?

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Slow hunting over in Polk County, WI. My brother went out for a lot of walks Saturday and Sunday and only flushed two birds. Missed both. His dog found a porcupine too, luckily only got a couple quills in his nose. I was deer hunting, only flushed one myself which my brother couldn't find the next day. My dad managed to also find one. I talked to some other guys who hunted there on the 16th and they hadn't seen any for three guys and two dogs.

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I got out yesterday and moved 6 ruffs. They were very spooky and all of them flushed wildly at least 20 yds away from me. It was tough hunting for us. Got 2 shots off at one of them and missed. My pup pointed a woodcock that I lead him to, it was awesome those birds hold so well. When it flushed I didn't do my part and missed again.

I did more exploring and found a new trail with good cover. Also got a tip of some decent areas to check out so I drove further and it was worth it. Now I've got a small hand full of spots, which is kinda nice.

It's refreshing to see guys getting their daughters involved in hunting. Excellent job to the both of you.

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Where you guys finding these birds in the middle of the day? I have been out to a few different places with varying terrain over the last week and havent really flushed a bird...When I say where, I mean what kind of cover/terrain. I have tried oaks stands, aspens, pines, clear cut regrowth, swamp edges...I must be doing something wrong. I live in Brainerd now and hunted pillbury state forest all day yesterday and never saw a bird...

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CANOPY SAM

Didn't hunt this weekend, but WOW, was the north shore, and Chippewa Nat'l Forest ever more beautiful!? I'll be hunting north of TRF thru the week, and weekend, and will post reports as time allows.

Wally, sorry I missed ya' this weekend. Couldn't find you among all the Porche's at BlueFin! There musta been $2 mill in cars there this weekend? Hope you did well! It sure was nice on Sat. afternoon and Sunday!

Matt, give me a call when you pull into town. I'm getting itchy for walleyes and grouse on the grill!

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Harmonica Bear

Was out on Saturday, 11-4, north and east of Mille Lacs. What a beautiful day to be in the woods, maybe a touch too warm for the dogs, but it sure was nice out. We (two guys, two dogs) moved 20 + birds and bagged one. First time out this year, pooches were a little rusty, and so was shooting. Saw 6-7 woodcock as well. Far as I am concered it was an absolutely great day!

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