Let’s get this season going…

 

Best time of year
Best time of year

October’s here — finally. And even though Maine’s state biologists predict a mediocre grouse season and the foliage colors are sure to be muted, I’m looking forward to the fall.

I’ll be hunting the last two weeks of the month for sure, and then any other days & weekends I can fit in.

After a disappointing 2015, I’m shifting away from central Maine. There are birds there, but I’m having a harder time finding them. I also have less free time to look for them, too. And when you have limited time to hunt, one birdless day’s is a big deal — and not something I want to experience again.

Anyway, here are some pics of hunts and memories from seasons past. I hope you enjoy them.

A good day. The gun is a 16g Heym O/U, made in the 1920s...
A good day. The gun is a 16g Heym O/U, made in the 1920s…
Poplars in the AM sun
Poplars in the AM sun
Puck pointing a grouse at the objective
Success! Puck pointing a grouse at the objective.
Pure Puck
Pure Puck
Point! Now what do you do?
Puck, back in her prime

Short films grouse & woodcock hunter are sure to like…

Like grouse hunting? Then you’ll really like these short films. They’re part of the Project Upland Film: Bird Hunting Film Series a ” film initiative to help promote the future of upland bird hunting and the non-profit The Ruffed Grouse Society.” Check them out now.

The Experience: Follow veteran Grouse hunter and New Hampshire native Harry Rowell into the Grouse woods. While Hunting New Hampshire, Harry reflects on his passion for Grouse hunting and the experience as a whole. A humbling short film that will inspire future and current bird hunters alike.

Because They’re Wild: Follow Northeast Regional Director of The Ruffed Grouse Society, Tripp Way into the Grouse Woods. Tripp reflects on his enjoyment of the woods, his passion for the Ruffed Grouse and the precious time spent afield with friends. As a dedicated conservationist and experienced upland hunter Tripp delivers the powerful line of “Its our responsibility to get these folks in the woods”.

A great time at Grey’s…

Grey's Outfitting
Grey’s Outfitting

Puck and I spent last Saturday up in Maine with Grey’s Outfitters. We had a great time and we moved 12-14 grouse in all. Unfortunately, I’m a lousy shot, so no birds to take home.

Below are two quick videos from the day. The English Pointer is a young male named Rock.

That’s one quick grouse…..

If you’ve ever hunted ruffed grouse, you know just how fast these birds can be – at least when they’re flying. What you may not know, and what I never realized, is just how fast grouse are on their feet.

This quick video shows just how quick these birds can be. In it you’ll see roosting grouse. Grouse do this after they fill their crops with food. A bit off the ground, and with his back in against the brush, this grouse is tough to see. Predators would have a difficult time approaching him without being noticed.

Watch to see how reluctant this bird is to move and give up his location. But once he realizes he’s in trouble, it’s amazing how fast he moves. It’s also interesting that he doesn’t fly off. It makes me wonder how many times they’ve simply run away from my dog when she goes on point.

One woodcock + One grouse = A Good Day….

The woodcock are officially back in Maine. Puck pointed our first one of 2012 yesterday. I thought we would find more of them, but they just weren’t around. It is a little early, though. Puck also pointed a grouse. Overall, it was nice day. Enjoy the pics.

Puck, looking majestic
Puck, looking majestic

 

Puck, enjoying a spring day
Puck, enjoying a spring day

 

Puck pointing a woodcock
Puck pointing a woodcock

Quick video on Ruffed Grouse habitat…

Here’s a quick little video that shows Ann Jandernoa of Northwind Enterprises explaining some things to look for when you’re trying to find grouse.

Ann is a grouse wizard. Puck and I hunted with her in the fall of ’04 and she really knows her stuff. If you want to learn more about grouse, grouse hunting, a great dogs, I suggest getting touch with her.

Favorite winter time foods for Ruffed Grouse…

I was doing a bit more research into winter time grouse foods when I came across this: Winter Food Habitats of Ruffed Grouse in Young Aspen Stands. This paper is based on finding from a 1972-1973 study of 10-15 year old clear cuts in Oneida County, Minnesota.

The researchers found that the top ruffed grouse foods were Aspen bud and Hazel catkins. The grouse also were also feeding heavily on a species of ferns, as well as on wintergreen and goldenthread.

It’s a grouse salad…pass the vinaigrette…

I’ve always been told that grouse switch to Aspen buds as cold winter moves in and the ground freezes up. This string over at Upland Journal proves that that’s not the whole story. Some bird’s diets are a bit more diverse.

Ruffed Grouse crop, stuffed with ferns & buds
Ruffed Grouse crop, stuffed with ferns & buds

The bird was shot in late December. Check out the content of it’s crop (and just how full that crop is) to see what it has been eating.

I think that green, leafy stuff is Toothed Wood Fern.

Ferns & buds from a Ruffed Grouse's crop
Ferns & buds from a Ruffed Grouse's crop

Grouse and…American Mountain Ash??

Here’s something you like to see outside one of your grouse covers. Those are some plump looking birds. I think they’re feeding on Rowan, aka mountain ash berries. At first I thought it was Winterberry, but the berries are in clusters made me change my mind. Any botanists out there?

Ruffed Grouse Feeding on Mountain Ash?
Ruffed Grouse Feeding on Mountain Ash?
Winterberry in Maine
Mountain Ash?
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