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Minnesota Ruffed Grouse

Minnesota Ruffed Grouse

Postby mnaj_springer » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:33 am

Two things here:

1. Just a simple shout out to all those busting through the brambles, leaves, and mosquitoes to chase the King of Gamebirds this weekend (9/15 is grouse opener in MN), especially in Minnesota! I'll be among that crowd of hard-core people.

2. If people want to share season updates it would be interesting to hear anecdotal evidence about populations and hunting success (measured in flushes per hour). With the high drumming counts last year, the observations of hunters last fall, the lower drumming counts this year (although still higher than 2 years ago), and West Nile, it will be interesting to hear what people have to say about their seasons, particularly in MN and WI.
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Re: Minnesota Ruffed Grouse

Postby Settertude » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:11 am

I'm interested to follow this thread.
I'm a grouse and woodcock hunter from NH recently moved to Grove, OK.
I have a new puppy (Llewellin) and am planning a trip to Minnesota next season with a year old.
My Tucker is too old to make that trip this year and the pup--Max is just a baby.
I would like to find cover in the southern tier, if possible.
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Re: Minnesota Ruffed Grouse

Postby reba » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:15 pm

I am hunting ruffed grouse right now in Wyoming.

I am amazed on how my big running GSP's tighten up in the thick stuff.

Season runs through December.

Sage grouse starts Sept 15th.
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Re: Minnesota Ruffed Grouse

Postby mgrucker » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:02 am

I'll be around Isabella this weekend. I'm not a good grouse hunter so... we'll see. Gotta do something to pass the time until pheasant opener though :lol:
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Re: Minnesota Ruffed Grouse

Postby walt501 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:32 pm

I have a place just across the border from Minnesota in Ontario so my observations should hold for most of the "big woods" country of Northeast Minnesota. Checking the logging roads on my 4 wheeler around my place 2 1/2 weeks ago I was spotting several young of the year grouse out picking gravel. I take this as a very good sign, as not a lot of grouse come out to the road in late August. More mature birds should be joining the youngsters as the weather cools.

Our last grouse population peak was in 2009, with another banner year in 2011 which I attribute to excellent nesting success. So now and for the next 2 to 3 years should see peak population numbers once again for ruffed grouse. If you're looking for a specific place to hunt, I enjoy hunting the almost endless miles of logging roads northeast of Orr, MN. Also, public land closer to Lake Superior should prove productive and I'll actually be hunting near the big lake myself later this fall.

Good luck and save a couple for me!
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Re: Minnesota Ruffed Grouse

Postby mnaj_springer » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:12 pm

I couldn’t get out Saturday due to work, but went out this morning. Man, talk about heat and humidity! I got started earlier than I usually do (I like to let the birds get down and walk around some in the morning) but the temps forced my hand. Even at 7 AM it was 68 and like a sauna!

Anyway, I hunted under 2 hours. Each dog got about 45 minutes on the ground, give or take. The springer was first and she flushed 4 woodcock (but they open next week). I assume the grouse were mostly in the trees then. She stayed really nice and steady on those doodles. Next up the Pointer... she pointed a woodcock first. One of those “trip over your own feet” points. Next she pointed a grouse that she caught on the wrong side of the wind and the bird sat for .5 seconds after she pointed. Luckily the bird flew at me and I dropped it. 1/1. Next was a gorgeous point! Walked up and found her tail high and nose pointed to the sky. Based on the wind, I have no clue how she scented that bird. Anyway, I didn’t give myself a good window to shoot so that bird got away. Last grouse flushed wild and I never saw it.

So just about 2 flushes per hour on a hot/humid day and a ton of leaves.
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Re: Minnesota Ruffed Grouse

Postby Settertude » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:26 pm

mnaj_springer wrote:I couldn’t get out Saturday due to work, but went out this morning. Man, talk about heat and humidity! I got started earlier than I usually do (I like to let the birds get down and walk around some in the morning) but the temps forced my hand. Even at 7 AM it was 68 and like a sauna!

Anyway, I hunted under 2 hours. Each dog got about 45 minutes on the ground, give or take. The springer was first and she flushed 4 woodcock (but they open next week). I assume the grouse were mostly in the trees then. She stayed really nice and steady on those doodles. Next up the Pointer... she pointed a woodcock first. One of those “trip over your own feet” points. Next she pointed a grouse that she caught on the wrong side of the wind and the bird sat for .5 seconds after she pointed. Luckily the bird flew at me and I dropped it. 1/1. Next was a gorgeous point! Walked up and found her tail high and nose pointed to the sky. Based on the wind, I have no clue how she scented that bird. Anyway, I didn’t give myself a good window to shoot so that bird got away. Last grouse flushed wild and I never saw it.

So just about 2 flushes per hour on a hot/humid day and a ton of leaves.

An encouraging early season report. Thank you and congrats on some nice dog work.
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