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Introduction and request for info

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Hi all,

I just got transplanted to MN from out west and thought I would introduce myself. I moved here 3 weeks ago from Utah. And I am already looking forward to the Fall hunting season. I have 2 springer spaniels so I mostly hunt birds. They've hunted pheasant, dove, sharptail, ruffed, and blue grouse, desert quail, huns, chukar, and geese. I've been hunting for the last 30 years and enjoy travelling to new places to hunt and explore.

I've been looking at the MN DNR website and it looks like there is a huge amount of National Forest up north and WMAs just about in every part of the state. Towards summer once the chicks are grown I'd like to start scouting for grouse and pheasant too.

I was hoping someone could provide me with some areas that are likely to hold grouse. I'm used to hunting ruffies up in the mountains so I'm not sure what to look for out here or where to start. Are there any public areas that hold pheasant or is that strictly a private landowner deal?

I assume people here protect their honey holes like I did out west with the same rules. I'm just looking for information like "look in this forest in this quadrant (north, south, NW, SE), with this kind of cover or food. Stuff like that.

Also I've never hunted deer and would like to try that as it seems Minnesota has a good population and access to public land. I'd like to do the rifle hunt and don't care if it's got antlers or not for my first time. Any suggestions of any sort would be greatly appreciated. My wife and I are looking at houses up around Rockford if that helps at all but I don't mind driving.

I know it's a lot of questions, sorry this is so long. Thanks for any help and I look forward to contributing to this board!



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Welcome to Minnesota. If I were looking for Grouse and Deer and the possibility of scouting both at the same time. I would look at the Paul Bunyan up between Park Rapids and Bemidji. There is alot of land up there with an abundance of deer (in rifle zone) - the past two years has been on the up cycle for grouse in the area. I think the peak will be within two years.

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1st off welcome to FM...

Lots of forest land open for grouse hunting (and deer hunting) up in the area of Walker to Bemidji to Blackduck to Grand Rapids. With the population on the upswing, you should have little problem finding birds. Generally guys walk forest service roads and fire lanes, and while these will provide some opportunity, as usual the best hunting lies off the trails.

Pheasant hunting can be good to excellent on the public lands out in Western - Southwestern Minnesota. They get pounded hard early and on weekends, so weekdays are usually your best bet. Late season can be phenomenal as most of the WMAs hold cattail sloughs in which the birds use for loafing and roosting cover in the winter. Look for WMAs next to a food source and you should find some birds. It is still possible with some manners and door knocking to get on private land... especially later in the season.

As the time grows closer to grouse hunt, if I am getting into birds in some areas I know (and want to explore) maybe we can meet up and hit it hard for a day. I have a cabin in Cass Lake and I just bought a field bred Cocker and am going to get back into ruffie hunting after 20 years of waterfowling...

Keep in touch on the board and we'll see if we can't pick out a weekend to meet up.

Good Luck!


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Welcome to Minnesota nd to FM.com.

Depending on how much you hunt determines how much public land there is. The more you hunt the smaller the state gets. wink.gif

There is an abundance of state land for deer. If you check out the DNR's webpage click on hunting and then on deer. Ther eare some interactive maps detailing harvest statistics and population surveys. Some of the areas give up ~10 deer per square mile every year.

Pheasants on public land can be hit or miss depending on the pressure they get. Some public lands get hit 4-5 times a day on the weekends by different groups hopiing form WMA to WMA. I just got a Springer in the last year and I can't wait to start rooster hunting with my own dog. Not only will you find plenty of lands to hunt, hang out on here and you'll meet many great people who wouldn't mind a new hunting buddy.

Unfortunately I know nothing of grouse hunting, but I hope to start this year. With the new dog and a new lease on some paper company land I'm hoping to see a few.

Around here the birds like poplar and alder trees. They eat the buds of young trees. Finding places that have been harvested or burned in the last 5-10 years can be great locations. A lot of people use the trails and roads to find birds.

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Thank you all for the information and warm welcome. Sounds like I landed in the right state.

I appreciate the help with where to look for grouse and the deer info. My older Springer was going to be a pheasant dog but he saw nothing but grouse for the first 2 years of his life.

It's a learning process. With each season he learned what cover to look for and where he was likely to find scent. And although western grouse seem to have a reputation for walking around, with a flushing dog on their butt they WILL fly. First couple times it scared the heck out of me cuz it's loud. Are there woodcock around here along with the grouse?

I'd be happy to share any information or show up to give a hand to anyone who is training a flushing dog. I've found once you're past basic obedience it's pretty hard to move to the next level without at least one, preferably 2 helpers. PM me for contact details if you're interested.

Thanks again for the help and information. I look forward to learning more about hunting in Minnesota from y'all and hopefully have something useful to contribute in the future!


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MN grouse do fly but not unless you step on them!!! LOL.

We do have woodcock around here, but they migrate pretty early. They are fun and sporting.

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Welcome to Fishing Minnesota and Hot Spot Outdoors. You have found a group of sportsman that will help you with just about anything.

Glad to have you aboard. cool.gif

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