To kick off spring, 2020, check out the Dancing Springs Ranch Sharptails Dance.
Go here to learn more about these fascinating birds: sharp-tail grouse
I’m a pointing-dog guy, and for me, the sight of a dog locked up on a grouse or woodcock is crucial to the upland-hunting experience.
But some guys would disagree, including Fritz and Ric Heller. They star in this film, produced by Project Upland in association with the Ruffed Grouse Society.
“The primary reason I go (grouse hunting) is to get away from everything and to be in that moment. It’s really special to be 100% completely present and committed, and it probably talks a lot about the flushing dogs. You know, you’re not listening to a beeper or a bell in the distance waiting for it to stop, you’re 100% focused on what’s going on in front of you the entire time…”
If you like bird dogs and bird hunting, here’s a preview for a film. The film playing across the country this February. I’m going to see it on the 12th. Here’s more about it from the Project Upland site:
“Earlier this year, Project Upland Magazine in collaboration with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, joined together to tell the story of our beloved #PublicGrouse. The idea was simple: capture the people, places, and birds that make the story of grouse and public lands in North America so important to us. We sought to celebrate the truth that without public lands we would not know any of the grouse species in the capacity we do. They are a part of our culture, the fabric of American grouse hunting…”
Cal Robinson is one of Maine’s great guides. In the summer, he chases striped bass along the coast. Come fall, he heads up to the Rangeley area where he sets his pointers loose and chases grouse and woodcock.
In the video above from Bird Dogs Afield, Cal explains the key mistakes most guys make when shooting ruffed grouse — and what you need to do to be a more effective shot.
The more I hear about temperatures rising across the globe, the more I worry about how these changes will impact the upland game birds we love to hunt. This piece from Project Upland touches on how on what’s might happen to one species to sharp-tailed grouse. It’s worth checking — and keeping in mind when it’s to vote for local, state, and national politicians.
The author writes: “I reviewed several studies from prominent sharp-tailed grouse researchers and agency reports to get a clearer picture of this very real issue. I encourage you to keep an open mind and read through the whole article below before making any preliminary judgments.”
Here’s a great grouse gun, made even better by being a Ruffed Grouse Society 25h Anniversary model. While it has some dings and hunting use, it looks like it’s still in great shape and ready to be taken to your favorite cover.
It’s on Gunbroker.com now and this NO RESERVE listing end 3/22/2019 @ 2:46 PM.
Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon 20 GA NO RESERVE 26″ 3″ Ruffed Grouse Society 25th Anniversary—NO RESERVE—NO CC FEES—NUMBER 33 OF 100—Shotgun shows some signs of use. Stock and forearm have various marks. Blueing looks good, one small spot on roll stamp where it has light freckling (pictured) Blemishes in stock behind the receiver. Rib has a small “divet” half way down, however is not noticed when shouldered. Fixed Modified and Improved Cylinder barrels. Clean bores.
Here’s what I call a can’t-go-wrong double. It’s a Renato Gamba Principessa 28 gauge built on a rugged Anson & Deeley action. It weighs six pounds and it looks pretty much new. Price — a very reasonable $1599.
Renato Gamba is Italian maker better known in the US for their Daytona OU target guns than their SxS game guns. I’ve seen a few of their boxlock SxSs. Each one has been a nice double, and I’m sure this one would be a great upland gun.
Renato Gamba ~ Principessa ~ 28 Gauge SxS Boxlock: Excellent condition overall. Price: $1,599.99
Manufacturer: Circa: 1981
Caliber: 28 Gauge
Chambers: 2 3/4″
Metal Condition: Excellent
Wood Condition: Excellent
Bore Condition: Excellent
Barrels: 26″ Blued Steel with Tapered Rib
Triggers: Single Non-Selective Trigger
Stock: Checkered Deluxe Walnut Straight Grip Butt Stock
DAC: 1 1/2″, DAH: 1 3/4″, Cast off: 3/8″, LOP: 13 1/4
Fore End: Checkered Walnut Semi-Splinter Fore Arm
Butt Pad: Leather Covered Butt Pad
Weight: 6 lbs.
Sights: Single Bead
Chokes: Fixed: Modified & Improved Cylinder
Roughing it is for suckers. I know of that, now.
I’m not used to nice accommodations, and on past hunting trips I’ve curled up with my Pointers to stay warm, eaten Beefaroni out of the can, and gagged while using outhouses ranker than rest-area porta pottys.
The North Maine Woods are 4-6 hours from Boston, 3Xs the size of Rhode Island, and more populated with moose than people. Once you’re in them, a dirt-road empire rolls out before you in every which way.. It’s lorded over by logging trucks, crisscrossed with brook trout streams, and spotted everywhere with grouse and woodcock cover.
Chandler Lake Camps is an outpost of comfort and graciousness amongst all of this. Built in 1902, it was an abandoned family retreat when current owners Jason and Sherry Bouchard bought in the ’90s. With hard work and grit, they rescued it from decades of neglect and turned it into one of Maine’s finest sporting camps.
For uplanders, Chandlers is a place to get into lots of birds, whether you do it by hiring one of the camp’s Registered Maine Guides or by grabbing a Delorme map book and asking Jason to highlight some likely looking spots like I did.
Lexi, Sky and I averaged 2-3 birds an hour — solid numbers considering it was our first time in the area. We hunted overgrown logging roads and shot into the woods to explore deep pockets of birdy-looking cover and the furthest cover we hit was only 15 miles away from the camp.
On top of great bird hunting, Chandler Lake Camps also has great accommodations. Guests are treated to their own hand-peeled, spruce log cabins, each with a wood stove, electric lights, complete indoor facilities and charging outlets for things like remote collars and GPSs.
Meals are served in the main lodge, and everyone eats together around a large, wooden table. Breakfast is to order, lunches packed for you, and dinner family style. There’s a different menu each night, and everything is homemade in the lodge’s kitchen–even the bread and bagels.
And while Chandler Lake Camps is far away from civilization, it does have internet connection to the outside world. So anyone who needs to stay in touch with home or work can check in.
Here’s one of the finest double-barrel shotguns you’re going to find. These Beretta 686s handle like OUs costing many times more. They’re also reliable, easy to fix, and with this kind of Onyx finish, just plain sexy. For grouse, woodcock, and quail, they’re just about ideal.
With two set of barrels, 26.5″ and 29.5″, and a price tag of just $1699.99, this one is extra special. That’s why I’m saying someone needs to buy this gun. If someone else doesn’t snatch it up soon, I just might be the one to do it.
Beretta 686 Onyx 20 Gauge Over Under 2 Barrel Set: This is a very nice Beretta 686 Onyx 2 barrel set. The pictured barrels are 26.5 inch matte black and the second set are 29.5 inch blue, both have vent ribs. The walnut stock and matching forearm are a nice grade of wood with a small hairline crack on the left side of the forearm. All in all a very nice shotgun at a very nice price. Price: $1699.99
Caliber: 20 Gauge.
Chambers: 2 3/4 and 3 inch Over/Under with ejectors.
Metal Condition: Excellent.
Wood Condition: Very good with a small crack on the left side of the forearm.
Bore Condition: All are bright and shiny.
Barrels: 26.5 inch matte black and the second set are 29.5 inch blue.
Triggers: Single silver color.
Stock: Nice mid-grade walut with a checkered pistol grip.
15 inch LOP
Fore End: Matching checkered walnut with finger grooves.
Butt Pad: Replacement black rubber butt pad.
Weight: 6 Lbs 3 Oz with the 26.5 inch barrels.
Sights: Vent ribs with single front beads.
Chokes: Screw in, comes with 9 total chokes.
Extras: Comes with the second barrel and extra chokes.
Dangerous Cow Publishing is an interesting outfit. It looks like they’re media/branding company committed to promoting hunting, conservation, and sustainable practices. They caught my eye because of the cool videos they produce and post online. The one you see here is a great example of their work. Check it out — if you’re into upland hunting, you’ll enjoy it.
PARTRIDGE COUNTRY- A NORTHWOODS HUNTING VIDEO “Partridge Country is a cultural exploration of the traditions of Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock hunting in northern New England without the use of dogs.”
The second I saw this OU, I thought “buy it”. It’s easy to see why. Overall it looks pretty much new. On top of that, the color case hardening is gorgeous, the wood is understated but elegant, and the round-knob grip is very well done. And the gun grouse engraved on it and 29″ bbls – very cool. Honestly, if it’s as good as it looks, I don’t know how you could go wrong with this double.
John MacNab is (or was) a British company founded by gunsmith Patrick Keen. I’m not sure if they’re still around (or if he’s still in trade). A decade of so ago, MacNab was having OUs made for them in Italy by one of the Rizzinis and Sabatti. (Here’s a review of one of their sporting-clays models.)
Regardless of the maker, the MacNabs I’ve seen have been built on the same trigger-plate OU design used on almost all the lower-priced Italian over unders (except for Beretta). It’s a reliable design that has been around for decades. So for the most part it has had all the kinks worked out of it.
John MacNab Highlander 20 Gauge Over Under Shotgun: Made in Italy. Price: $1,599.99
Caliber: 20 Gauge
Chambers: 3 Inch
Metal Condition: Excellent
Wood Condition: Excellent
Bore Condition: Excellent
Barrels: 29 Inch
14 1/2 Inch LOP
Butt Pad: Checker wood
Weight: 6 Lbs 5 Oz
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 breeder I used to know was a blunt SOB. Within 30 minutes of our first meeting he cut me off mid sentence and said this: “Someday you’ll grow up and be done with that.”
We had been talking about pheasant hunting in South Dakota, and I had mentioned the numbers of birds we were killing out there. This was back in ’03, when we were seeing 4-500 pheasants a day on the ground we hunted. Limiting out wasn’t the problem. Limiting out before noon was.
But this arrogant breeder wasn’t impressed. He looked down on anyone who gauged success by the number of bird killed — especially if the birds were wild.
Back then, his attitude pissed me off. I get it now, though.
These days, even though I love to upland hunt, killing birds is far from my top priority. Feathers in hand are nice, and a dead bird every now and then does a lot to keep a bird dog interested in the game. but there’s a lot more that
Here’s a chance to get a great SxS at a great price. This 20 gauge Webley & Scott Model 700 SxS is on Gunbroker.com now, and it’s being sold without a reserve. The listing ends on 7/26/2016 @ 5:16 PM.
Scott M700s are the Timex watches of SxS, and this one is ready to take whatever licking you can give it. It’s built on Anson & Deeley-style boxlock actions, one of the finest shotgun designs ever created, and it looks unused and all original.
WEBLEY & SCOTT Model 700 BLE, 20ga, 28″ bbls: Up for auction is a beautiful Webley & Scott model 700 side x side shotgun. This is a 20 gauge with 28″ inch ejector barrels that are choked IC and Mod. The LOP is 14 3/4 and the DAH is 1 3/4. This gun is very light and has fantastic balance. The gun is in excellent condition with all original finish. This is a 1960’s vintage gun that is very high quality and very hard to find. You will not be disappointed with this fine shotgun.
Here’s another one of these awesome OUs. These doubles are magic wands in the grouse woods. Most of the ones I see have pretty poor wood — but not this one. The 28″ barrels and straight grip are also hard to find.
This over-under is on Gunbroker.com now with No Reserve. The listing ends 7/24/2016 @ 9:18 PM.
Ruger Red Label 28g, 28″ bbls, Straigh English Grip, 1997: This is an early gRed Label in a hard to find configuration. It comes with an english stock, 28″ barrels, 2 1/2″ drop and a 14 1/4″ LOP. Gun is about as nice as it gets. It comes with a very nice leather case with accessories and wooden cleaning rod as seen. Comes with 5 choke tubes.
Here’s one of the holy grails of grouse hunting. This 16 gauge Parker DHE was made on a O-sized frame. Add in its 26″ barrels, and I bet you have a shotgun that weighs 6.5lbs or even less.
Unlike VH- or GH-grades, DH-grade Parkers were strictly custom-ordered guns. Like all Parker shotguns, they came in a variety of barrel lengths and stock styles, and the guns were available on different sized actions. Sixteens were offered on three: Twos, the standard actions for 12gs, Ones, the standard actions for 16gs, and Zeroes, the standard action for 20 gauges.
So a 16 gauge Parker on an O-sized action essentially a 16g on a 20g frame. This makes these gun especially light, and that’s what makes grouse hunters covet them so much.
This 16g DHE is being offered at No Reserve on Gunbroker.com now, and the auction ends 3/24/2016 9:33:14 AM ET.
Parker Brothers DHE SXS Double Barrel Shotgun: Early 1911 16 Gauge 26″ Barrels All Correct and All Original Strong Original Blue on Barrels Small 0 Frame Action Beautiful Original Stock Finnish and Skeleton Butt Sharp Engraving.
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”.