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2010 Ruff Grouse hunting reports-how did you do?


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CANOPY SAM

Took my big boy out today for the first time. 8-yr. carrying a BB-gun. We did manage 1 for 2. and chased a couple sharpies out into a field that was inaccessable. We both had a terrific time, but let me tell ya', if you're planning on coming up this weekend bring lots of INSECT REPELLENT!

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Matt Breuer

You shoot that one, CANOPY? I'm waiting for word that the young man popped his first!

Shoot me an e-mail if you would, I've got pictures for you...

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CANOPY SAM

Pete is still carrying the monkey! I took Jacob out walking yesterday. I'm sure, if the bird had stuck around, he would have gladly pinged it in the knoggin, but yes, I shot that one.

Gonna take Jacob and Abbey out for a walk in the woods today! Should be fun, if I can get em' both to stop constantly talking! wink

Gonna be another warm one today. We had 81 on the car therm around 3:00 p.m. yesterday.

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certified jumbo

Went out this morning after my bow hunt and before the temp hits 80 degree's. I had to grab the over under and do some bird hunting with all the positive reports. I'm glad I did.......hunted for 2.5 hours and shot 4 grouse and 1 wood cock. Flushed 14 grouse total and 5 wood cock. I need to get out more. Here's my companion, Nemadji.

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Redlantern

That's a nice pic. Looks like something out of a sporting magazine. Glad you had some luck on such a nice day.

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I havnt even shouldered a gun yet, I've let the boys collect the groceries. Last weekend Kyle got his first, then today the Brady got his first 2 and Kyle got another 1.full-13203-1951-088.jpg

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Ely Lake Expert

I haven't been on fm since second weekend. I took the dogs out for a few hours. Saw 40ish birds and got 4. I've been so busy and with it being duck season that is probably the end of my serious grouse hunting for the year. At least until after deer season.

Good to see everyone is doing pretty good.

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Sat 10/9 - 2 guys, 1 dog. Up at 4:00am on the road by 4:30, hunting from 7:30 - 6:30, 26 flushed, 9 shots, 4 birds. All were singles, but 2 small groups. It was a beautiful day, maybe even to warm. 1:00 - 4:00 things were real slow for us. Home at 10:30 asleep by 10:35. A long day, but worth it.

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I just got back from hunting 5 days around I falls I think there might actually be more than the peak last year because we saww quite a few. We hunted every morning for a few hours before it got warm and then spent the rest of the day in the boat. I think we brought home something like 23 but we put on one of the poorest shooting displays I've ever seen. We went through a lot of shells. Tuesday night on the way up we moved about 20 birds and got one. I did make up for it on thursday morning when I got 6 myself and the 3 of got a total of ten in about 2 hours.

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leech~~

Sat 10/9 - 2 guys, 1 dog. Up at 4:00am on the road by 4:30, hunting from 7:30 - 6:30, 26 flushed, 9 shots, 4 birds. All were singles, but 2 small groups. It was a beautiful day, maybe even to warm. 1:00 - 4:00 things were real slow for us. Home at 10:30 asleep by 10:35. A long day, but worth it.

gurk, you love to pack a lot into one day don't you! wink

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A buddy of mine was out last week in the Hibbing area with his dad, and in 2 days they flushed 50+ birds, and came home with 10 each. Lots of encouraging reports coming in from all over the place...can't wait to get out next week with my buddies for 4 days of chasing birds (and all of the crazy shenanigans at the bar every night, too)! smile

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leech~~

A buddy of mine was out last week in the Hibbing area with his dad, and in 2 days they flushed 50+ birds, and came home with 10 each. Lots of encouraging reports coming in from all over the place...can't wait to get out next week with my buddies for 4 days of chasing birds (and all of the crazy shenanigans at the bar every night, too)! smile

TPro, did they have dogs with them by chance? Seems like really good numbers with or without a dog! smile

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Harmonica Bear

There's birds out there, thats for sure. But, I tell you what I could really go for.....

SOME COOLER TEMPS!!!!!!!!!

These hot days are tough on my dog. I really have to shorten my walks and the day when temps get over 60. They are talking about 70 on Saturday for the pheasant opener. Thats more sitting on the deck listening to the gophers weather then hunting weather. IMHO

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Yeah, they had my buddy's dog along, and a few of the birds were pointed by her, but apparently, a lot of them were spotted running around and across forest roads. They would then pull over, go in after the birds, and several more would flush. I guess there were plenty of birds spotted out walking trails, too, but they didn't do the usual amount of walking due to the warm temps.

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After reading my last post, I guess saying they "flushed" 50+ birds isn't quite accurate, as it would imply being out walking all of the time....rather they "saw" 50+ birds, with around half of them kicked up while out walking trails. The rest were spotted while driving, then pursued on foot. Either way, coming home with 10 birds each is still an awful good weekend.

I personally haven't seen nearly as many, and hunt in northwestern Crow Wing county. I would say I have been seeing an average of 6-8 birds per day, with 3-4 hours spent on weekend mornings out chasing birds, and the evenings out in a tree looking for deer. I haven't hit the grouse trails nearly as hard as I usually do.

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Matt Breuer

I doubt "pursued" is the word to use, as there are a TON of young dumb birds out there. Your friends probably had to step out of the truck and "pursue" the lead that was fired into the birds standing there. wink Trust me, I've done my fair share of the same "pursuing" this season!

I was out for 2 hours yesterday, saw 9 birds, took home 3.

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Darrell Larson

Hunting in the Tower area, birds are somewhat educated, they are not spending much time on the roads, and seem to be hanging around the trails off of the roads, walking the trails have been producing more often. The birds have been on the trails but move quickly into the heavy cover once the dog or I are detected. They flush wild and far out, the dog (Chessie) followed one for at least ten minutes the other day before the flush, reminded me of pheasant hunting more than Grouse hunting, still is a thrill when they decide to go, now if I could only hit the little buggers all would be well. Gnats, skeeters, and ticks are still very active here, took three ticks off my four legged buddy the other day, I check her each time we come back, Could really use a very hard freeze to rid us of these. Water in the woods seems to hold more birds, they need H20 just like we do.

Went out this afternoon 4 flushes, score was: Birds 4 Darrell 0. Oh well Thursday is another day.

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Plenty of birds seen across MN. Be interesting to see if this is the peak or we can push one more year of highs.

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leech~~

HaHa - Yeah Leech you know the drill. Have to scratch the itch when I can wink.

So, this year 3 lakes in 1 1/2 days! LOW, Red & Winn? laugh

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Anyone ever hunt Pillsbury state forest? I will be in the area this weekend. I don't have a dog so wondering if its worth trying and if others have luck without a dog?

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Hunted for over a week in Itasca county(Balsam Township). Hunted a couple hours each afternoon in between duck and bowhunts. Myself, my nephew, and the lab. Saw a lot of birds. Not as many as last year, but still a lot and got more adult birds compared to last year shooting a lot of young birds. Probably averaged about 2-3 flushes an hour over the week. The best day I had was in one hour had 12 flushed(managed one that day, ouch). Weather was way too hot, and the ticks were awful(picked 20-50 off the dog each day). Most of the birds were in the typical young aspen adjacent to spruce and jack pine. All were stuffed with clover and a few berries and aspen buds. Would have hunted more/harder but the temps were tough on both dog and hunters. Only flushed one woodcock the whole week.

Oct 3-12 flushes, 1 bird

Oct 4-2 flushes, 1 bird

Oct 5- Forgot to record(no birds, i think 3 flushes)

Oct 6-4 flushes, 2 birds

Oct 7-5 flushes, 1 bird

Oct 11-2 flushes, 1 bird

Oct 12-6 flushes, 2 birds

Oct 13-3 flushes, 1 bird

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CANOPY SAM

Nice pics Lunk! Got a tip from a friend about a little pocket of birds today. Didn't turn out to be much, but I managed 2 for 2. One ruffie, and one woodcock.

Wish the wind would let up, and the temps would drop a bit.

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October 16th and 17th, St. Louis County.

Seeing about double the birds as last year in the area we hunt. Spent most of the weekend scouting for deer, but got out for a couple hours to do some bird hunting. The dog showed us some of his best work yet and we spent most of the time chasing points. The doodles were easy to hit, the grouse not so much. Ended up with a few of each, including a beautiful mature ruffie that was pointed by my dog, shot by me, and retrieved by my dad. Its headed to the taxidermist this week. Rough estimate I would say for 4-5 hours of actual bird hunting we probably flushed 12-14 woodcock and 20-30 grouse. What a hoot!

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Well, I've been chomping at the bit since September to get out on some ruffs, and finally got the chance this past weekend.

It was nice to see that all the hype was, for once, granted.

Beautiful weather, plenty of birds, and comparatively few hunters. If not for the handful of deer ticks, I'd consider it a perfect trip.

I started off Thursday evening by hunting some of my grandparents' land. Their 20 acres usually is good for at least one grouse a trip, and I was hoping to get a gimme shot so my 5-month-old GWP, Remy, could get his first ruff. After making it through nearly the whole plot, we scooted through a section and into a small, abandoned gravel pit. Finally, a bird flushes up a hill of pines and I can see it running through the branches. I get a quick shot off as it crests the hill, but I immediately lose sight of it. So I scamper of the hill with dog in tow, only to discover no bird. Then, Remy B-lines it 20 yards down the other side and finds my bird, dead, and hidden behind a log. If not for the dog, I probably wouldn't have found the bird. To put it plainly, I was ecstatic.

We finished off the evening by walking trails close by. They obviously had been hammered, as evident by the number of grouse feathers and carcasses by the entrances. Still, I can't pass these trails up as they often produce birds. In a short time, I came to the first Y in the trail, and took the jaunt to the right, knowing it often held at least a bird or two near the top of the hill. Sure enough, a beautiful red flushes to my left and I make a quick swing shot. Bird down, and Remy gets it a RETRIEVES IT TO HAND perfectly. Could this day get any better?!

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We finish off by flushing some more birds, but my shooting quickly deteriorates. I scratch one more bird at the end of the day on the way out of a trail. It was a perfect "clay pigeon" shot, but I still manage to merely wing it. The pup is off in hot pursuit, and eventually brings it back...minus about half its feathers. I guess Remy had a tough time getting the flopping cripple to settle down.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday saw a gradual decrease in bird sightings. I picked up two more Friday morning, but got skunked Friday evening and all day Saturday. Not for lack of chances, mind you, but it seemed that the birds we were seeing either flushed wild way ahead, or off the trail in thick cover. It didn't help that Remy got "bird fever" a couple times and raced down the trail only to accidentally bump a bird well out of range. Oh well, he's only a pup and I had more fun watching him work than shooting birds.

I scratched one more bird Sunday morning, deep on a trail that obviously had been pi$$-pounded since opener as evident by the deep 4-wheeler ruts and myriad of shotgun shell hulls and bird feathers. Still, it looked too good to pass up. As we were getting near the end of the trail, Remy locked up and looked to our right. I immediately see movement a good 30 yards inside some thick pines. A gorgeous, gray grouse steps into a ray of sunlight for a brief second, just long enough for me to get a shot off. It flies, but the dog takes off after it. I'm sure its a miss, but in short order Remy returns with the winged male in his mouth. It was the icing on the cake. If not for a couple missing tail feathers, I most certainly would have gotten the bird mounted.

All in all, it was a great hunting trip. I had plenty of opportunities and saw many birds, but watching my dog work made the hunt. I can honestly say that, since hunting with a dog, I will doubtful do so without one ever again.

Good luck to everyone fortunate enough to get out for the rest of the season! I'm crossing my fingers I can get out at least once more, but this fall is getting packed. If that was my last ruff trip, than another year can't come soon enough! Rationing six grouse for another 365 days is tough.

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Continue to see grouse on every walk. Dog work and shooting is improving too.

Leaves pretty much gone on all trees except the oaks.

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Hunted Saturday, moved 19 birds. If you weren't wet you weren't going to see a bird. Everything was low, low, low. If there was still green vegetation around that was even better. Poor scenting conditions, dry air with little wind made it tough.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • jim curlee
      Headin over fishin around Tower again last night. Turkeys in the same area tonight as in August.   By the by brought home 4 nice 15"-17" walleyes, slip bobbers and minnows, 6' of water. Who say's the fish abandon the weeds in the fall. LOL Nice healthy fish, should make a great lunch.  Nobody else on the lake, I guess the lightning scared-em off.   Jim
    • gimruis
      No doubt about it.  I went during turkey spring season A too and there was noticeably more hunters out, especially on Sat/Sun.  I think the combination of no lottery and the pandmeic had people cooped up.  Plus it was relatively decent weather for season A, and it has not been the last couple years with April snow.  I exclusively hunt private land for turkeys but when I was leaving and driving down the county roads, I spotted 3 blinds on field edges on neighboring properties.  While I don't have to worry about people setting up 10 yards from me, the added pressure in an area certainly makes it harder.   Sometimes having multiple groups of duck hunters on a big marsh can be beneficial.  They'll send ducks your way and vice versa.  But setting up that close is ridiculous.  I can see more problems like this occurring the rest of this hunting season, especially for deer and especially on public land.  It could potentially be a recipe for disaster too if you have a couple of hot heads that lose their cool.  Adding firearms into the equation only magnifies the problem.   I hope a lot of these "newbies" and infrequent outdoors people that are only out there fishing, camping, and hunting this year because of the pandemic go back to their old lives when this is over.  The less people I encounter on the lakes, rivers, and in the fields and woods, the better.
    • SkunkedAgain
      Yup - the fall colors have peaked and will be gone very soon. My maple dropped all of its leaves since Sunday. The birch are still holding on but losing them slowly.   I hope to add a fishing report after this weekend. Nice work MarkB
    • billrider80
      I recommend Eskimo Evo2. Eskimo Evo2 Crossover Ice shelter is the trusted shelter brand for millions of outdoor explorers and its original concept and design stemmed from the notion ‘two heads are better than one’, over sixty years ago, more here https://bootsgeek.com/eskimo-evo2-review/
    • Barbelboy
      I purposely avoided duck opener because of possible crowds. The number of hunters in the field for Turkey A season was ridiculous. Literally 2,3, or 4 cars in WMA parking lots where i've rarely seen 1. So that was my indicator that some big change has occurred and to start planning accordingly. If I were a public land deer hunting i'd brace myself for a different experience than usual this year, especially if the weather is nice. I guess while aggravating to me in a selfish sort of way it is getting people outdoors. I just hope people like the ones Monstermoose encountered are few and far between. .
    • Chill62
      Not to change point of this topic but if you do not have a drill and are looking for that light weight set up take a look at the Strikemaster V24 New this year.  It comes with a Lite Flite auger and is coming in at 350 for 6 inch and 399 for 8 inch augers.  The weight savings compared to the V40 is amazing and if you look at holes/battery and the cost of the battery it's cheaper and more productive than the Milwaukee/DeWalt batteries.  I have a few friends that when they started looking at the cost of a good drill and a lite flite this option is same to cheaper option for them.  I've seen way too many drills fail in thick ice for trusting one 100% of my season.  Its not for everyone but for those that are looking it is a very nice option that is new this year for people.
    • monstermoose78
      I was at the parking lot at 5 am and walked in. 8 minutes to shooting time here comes the same wonderful guys from the year before with 5 more people. They walked with in 10 yards and I said are you close enough. His response was I can hunt where I want. All in blaze orange some with 22 rifles some with shotguns. They shot at ducks with the 22 and some low powered shotgun shells. I called the local CO. A friend of mine heard a call for back up from the local CO on the scanner as he was seizing guns, cars, decoys, and more. That made me smile. 
    • Fish Head
      Great to have you post again Mark. It sounds like a fantastic trip back to Vermilion. Take care!
    • gimruis
      That sucks.  Been there done that, even before COVID.
    • Wanderer
      I figured there would be too but didn’t allow for it in our arrival time at the lake.  Consecutive nights with only 3 hrs sleep had me moving slower than I would’ve normally been.  Plus we paddled.  Everyone else motored.  We were about 20-30 minutes behind the rush and literally watched the lake fill up with other hunters.   As we were paddling for our 3rd spot I told my buddy “Welcome to COVID hunting”.
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