Sunday, December 27, 2009

Toughest Hunt Of The Season

Christmas Treats From Santa

The Girls Got Bones As Big As Their Heads From Santa



Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Weird Mixed Bag Hunt - Willmar MN

While hunting in the Wilmar Mn area we ended up getting a few pheasants and one of our group harvested a coyote that happened to have the bad luck of hunting the same pheasants that we were after.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

We're back!

I’d been out of the hunting loop for three weeks after getting the flu ( next year I’ll get a flu shot ). The day looked like it had a good chance of going well as two roosters were going after each other in the middle of the gravel road as I was pulling up to the area I was hunting. I was starting at a farm just west of Hutchinson, MN. One of the roosters that I saw as I was pulling up to the farm flushed into the CRP that I was planning to hunt. I unloaded the two English Setters and started to follow the edge of the corn field. We worked all the way down the one side of the 40 acre field we didn’t move any birds but they did get birdy a few times. After working the short side we started to come back the long side. This side of the field borders a road and also has a nice set of trees between the road and the field. I could see birds coming out of the trees where they had been roosting. Even though I could see the birds head into the grass we were unable to get any points. I took Fergie out by herself to see if we could find any stragglers. She did a good job working but we didn’t see any birds. We decided to load up and hit another farm.

We went to south of Hutchinson and tried my favorite farm. We haven’t had as much luck this year as it has ben wet and the corn came out really late. We pushed the usual areas and didn’t see anything but as we made the turn to parallel the highway the dogs started to get birdy. Tina went on point a few yards into the grass and as I started to move in to flush the bird it flushed almost straight up and I was able to drop it in one shot. One cool part was that there a number of cars going by and they saw me get the bird and a couple of them honked. I hope it was in appreciation. We continued to work the grass and Tina went on point again and we were able to bring it down.

It was nice to finally get a few birds out of our favorite area. It was still really wet in a lot of areas so it will be interesting to see if we see more birds as it freezes up.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Knocked Down By The Flu

The past three weeks have been frustrating as the weather has been good for hunting but the flu had me knocked out for almost three weeks. The dogs have been giving me the evil eye every weekend when we didn't go out hunting. I had even planned to use a few vacation days for mid week hunting and had to cancel those. I think the last half of December will see me use a few.

Another drawback to being sick and not going hunting is that I've had time to do too much on-line shopping for hunting gear I didn't really need. It made me feel better when it showed up. Hope to get to use it yet this year.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Radical New Wad Inside Remington’s Ultimate HyperSonic Steel™ Shells

Written by Nick Sisley   
A research team at Remington has developed a revolutionary new wad design that lets steel shot fulfill its long-promised potential as the ultimate waterfowl load.
For waterfowl hunting, steel shot is the odds-on favorite. Other non-toxics are available, and most all of them result in better performance than steel. But these other non-toxic waterfowl loads are not purchased in huge quantities for one basic reason – they are more expensive than steel loads – a lot more expensive.
If you shot any of the early steel loads from several decades back you know those loads were very poor. They shot horrible patterns, produced a lot of powder fouling, and maybe crippled more ducks than the lead pellets that ducks ingested. Slowly the shotshell manufacturers improved on the steel loads. One factor that helped this along was new powders designed with steel in mind. This resulted in less powder fouling. Those who shot semi-auto shotguns at ducks cheered this breakthrough as this meant their shotguns now kept shooting instead of jamming so often.
Another factor that helped steel loads kill ducks more effectively was that the ammo companies were able to increase velocities with the new powders. Since steel is less dense than lead (lighter by 30 percent), the increased velocity helped steel enhance its killing power.
However, current steel loads are at their maximum – both from a velocity standpoint and from a chamber pressure standpoint. In fact, most high velocity steel loads produce chamber pressures that are right at the top of what experts consider safe. Increase chamber pressures further and we increase the chance of starting to blow up some shotguns. No ammo company is going to do that in these sue-happy times.
So how can we (1) reduce chamber pressures and still keep velocity of steel loads at current levels, and/or (2) increase steel shot velocity levels – and still keep chamber pressures within proper safety standards?
A research team at Remington went to work on this problem, and they have come up with a solution that promises to be a major breakthrough in shotgun ballistics – not only for steel shot but lead loads as well – in fact maybe all future shotshells.
Remington developed a totally new concept in a plastic wad that makes all of the above possible. The wad design is so new that we don’t even have any new loads to test – that have these wads installed. Remington is so confident in this wad’s potential that they are calling this the biggest breakthrough since the introduction of the plastic wad itself.
Remington had a name for this wad, but they have pulled that name back in hopes of a better one. Maybe now you’re getting some appreciation of how new this technology really is.
Check the accompanying artist’s rendition of this wad. The main breakthrough is the precision engineered “ignition chamber,” the smaller cylindrical part at the base of the wad. This ignition chamber is designed to nestle into the top of the primer pocket.
The powder is dropped in a normal manner. When the new wad is seated some of that powder works its way into the ignition chamber. To insure that powder fills that ignition chamber a ball-type powder with tiny grains will be used. Now remember that the ignition chamber is sitting right on top of the primer.
When the primer is ignited the small amount of powder in the ignition chamber gets ignited first, thus the burn is started. In turn, the wad and shot column move slightly forward, and this allows the burning powder in the ignition chamber to ignite the rest of the powder charge.
How can this reduce chamber pressures? It’s all about delaying (slowing down) full ignition of the powder. Use of the new wad system means that powder ignition is stretched out over a longer period of time – and that’s how chamber pressures are reduced. Bottom line – these researchers had to think out of the box to come up with a new way to reduce chamber pressures.
While I like the idea of the new wad for reducing chamber pressures in steel shot loads – I’m thinking to the future – and hopefully building this wad technology into target loads and field loads using lead shot. Being a recoil conscious freak I’m hoping the new wad will reduce felt recoil in target loads – via reduced chamber pressures – but still maintaining standard target load velocities.
Remington says they will be using slow-burning ball-type powders with the new wad and their new steel loads. I know of no current slow burning ball powders available to reloaders, but evidently Remington has worked with a powder manufacturer to develop such a powder.
An example of a slow burning powder and the resultant reduction of felt recoil would be reloading with slow burning IMR 7625 powder to develop an 1150-feet-per- second load with 1 ounce of shot in 12 gauge.
Work up the same 1-ounce, 1150-feet-per-second load using a fast burning powder, and it won’t take any rocket science research to feel that the 7625 load is very soft in comparison. Of course, 7625 is not offered in a ball-type configuration, but I can only assume that the science to do that is doable. The same principal that allows a slow burning powder like 7625 to have less chamber pressure – is now offered via a wad – a wad that slows down the burn rate and results in lower chamber pressure – and lower chamber pressures mean less felt recoil – a gentle shove rather than a sharp rap.
Remember – as the ignition chamber powder ignites the wad and shot charge move slightly forward – increasing the area for the rest of the powder burn – and thus we get the slower powder burn – ignition stretched out over a longer period of time.
A second new feature of breakthrough wad will be the “stress concentrators” built in near this wad’s base. Again, check the artist’s rendition. The new wad is not split down the sides, as most all other wads are. The “stress concentrator” areas, however, start the wad slits upon powder ignition. There are internal “slits” inside this wad, making it easy for the stress concentrators to start and complete the wad slitting up the sides. But because the slits start opening from the bottom, the pellets in the wad are held there longer, which Remington says results in tighter down range patterns.
Initially, (which means Fall 2010) Remington will only offer the new shotshells with the new wad in 12 gauge and in steel 3-inch and 3 ½-inch loads. All these loads will be at the same velocity – a whopping 1700 feet per second – which means no lead changes no matter which of these loads you are using.
Remington is calling the new shells HyperSonic Steel. Interestingly 1 1/8, 1 1/4 and 1 3/8 ounce loads will be offered in the HyperSonic Steel – again all at 1700 feet per second. The 3-inch 1 1/8 ounce loads will be offered in BB, 2 and 4. The 3-inch 1 1/4 ounce loads will be offered in BB, 1, 2 and 4. The 3 ½-inch HyperSonic Steel will be offered in BB, 2 and 4 at 1 3/8 ounce.
As much as I’m excited about these new steel loads with the new wad I’m looking farther into the future – and lead target and field loads that utilize this new wad technology that permits slower burn rates with resultant lower chamber pressures and less felt recoil.
If a slow burning powder like 7625 in ball form could be used with this new wad chamber pressures could be reduced even further. Think of shooting a 1-ounce 12-gauge load at 1200-feet-per-second that results in even less recoil than we see today using slow burning 7625. The 7625 is used only as an example here, for there are other slow burning powders, though when it comes to 12 gauge shotshell powders IMR 7625 is one of the slowest.
I predict you are going to be hearing a lot more about this new wad design, and this wad could be the biggest advancement since the development of the plastic wad – especially if the wad technology can also be applied to lead loads.
Nick Sisley has been a full-time freelance outdoor writer since 1969. He writes a regular shotgun column in Wildfowl magazine, Sporting Clays magazine, the Skeet Shooting Review and others. He's authored eight books and penned thousands of magazine articles. He can be contacted at
Remington Ballistics:

Original Article
The Radical New Wad Inside Remington’s Ultimate HyperSonic Steel™ Shells

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Shut Out

Last weekend was the first weekend in eight years that I have been shut out on back to back days of hunting.  It was odd because both of the days seemed like they should be decent hutning.  I didn't even take a real shot on either of the days.  And then this weekend I was laid low by the flu.  It felt really odd to be hanging around the house on a weekend in November when there wasn't a storm or anything to keep me from hunting. 

The dogs were giving me the evil eye for not getting them out for a hunt.  They were even a little bit excited like we were going to go somewhere when I put them out Saturday morning.

Hopefully I'll be up and running at full strenth from here on out as we are getting into the meat of the season.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I Took Thursday Off From Work

I took Thursday off from work and went hunting.
We started out by Hutchinson, MN and were able to get one bird in about two hours of hunting.  We actually got the bird out a section that we had already worked three times.  The second time was with Fergie, my blind pointer, and she kept getting birdy but we didn't move anything.   I brought Tina in afterwards and she worked the area until she got a nice point and we were able to harvest the bird.

We loaded up and headed west to near Granite Falls.  We had two smaller parcels of about 40 acres each lined up to hunt.  We worked them pretty well but didn't move a bird and only got two soft points. It was starting to warm up to the mid - 50's so I was hunting the dogs in short stretches.  With it snowing on the opener in early October I wouldn't have guess that in ealry November that I would have to worry about keeping the dogs cool...

I was fairly dissappointed to not see any birds on these two smaller unit as they have produced in the past.

We moved to our final spot for the day.  This is a 35 acre parcel that borders a game farm.  I've alsways liked this one as it has grass, pine trees, and cattails all in one small parcel.  Tina and I started to push the grass towards the first set of pine trees. Very often we will see birds tucked in under the trees so I kept Tina a bit closer than normal.  After making it through the tress and not seeing anything I was a bit concerned but Tina went on point just off to the side in some thin grass.  A few light kicks and the rooster broke for it and the 16 ga brought him down and it was time to clean birds, load up, and head for home. 4 hours hunting 6 hours driving.

One thing that was different is that the hunt felt more relaxed than normal.  Not sure why as I'm usually huntng private land so I don't have to worry about other hunters hitting my hotspots...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Good Day In The Field

Nov 1 2009 - Springfield MN

 Tina - Marge - Fergie (hiding )


Mark H and Diesel

Stone - His First Hunt Of The Season

We we hunting by Springfield MN
Nearly a perect day to hunt
We did lose one hit bird that made and escape

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Even Blind Dogs Can Hunt

Saturday October 24th

Back down to Springfield MN on this brisk morning.  As I drove through town the bank thermometers were saying 25 degrees.  I unloaded Marge and Tina to start the hunt.  I put on a full coat and heavier gloves and was hoping that would be warm enough. Our first rooster got up pretty soon, too soon actually.  We were working the tailwind along a batch of willows and the bird burst out of the far side before I was really ready.  I should have been able to make the shot as I had connected on a few similar ones at the skeet range a few evenings before. I didn’t connect.   We moved on. This unit has a lot of cover and a lot of birds. Sometimes the going is slow because there is so much scent.  We made to the end of the field moving just one more hen, as we hit the end we moved south along the fence line and then west along another fence.  I was expecting to see a bird or two along the fence as it has heavy cover and bordered a field of cut corn.  About 1/4 of the way down the field a small draw goes from the cornfield to the upper parts of the CRP field we were hunting.  Both sides of the draw have heavier cover and the dogs start to work the area. The dogs were showing a lot of interest in the are so I moved out a little ways to give them some room and to hopefully cut off any pheasant on the run.  The dogs started moving quicker and then stopping quickly. After about three lockups they held and I moved in and started to kick the clumps of grass and nice sized rooster came up.  Remembering that I was behind on the first bird I shot at I tried to lead this one a bit more and when I shot I could see that it was a wing shot and the bird was on the move as soon as it hit the ground.   Fortunately Tina saw him go down and was working the cover and finally got him after a few missed lunges.

After putting the bird in the game bag continued down the field. As we came over a small rise I could see a number of roosters and hens jumping from the grass into the standing corn that was at the end of the field.  I was hoping a few lazy / inexperienced birds would be left in the grass.  There were a few but unfortunately they were all hens. After crisscrossing the field a bit more I decided to give these two dogs and myself a break.

I changed into a dry shirt and switched to a vest instead of the jacket.  I also changed out the Beretta 391 Ultra Light for a 16 gauge Browning Lightening Feather.  The 16 ga runs about 6 lbs and is a joy to carry.  I’ve also found that since I am hunting over pointing dogs that most of my shots are coming off of a point and flush that I don’t need to take a lot of longer shots and the 16 ga provides plenty of power.  It was Fergie’s turn to hunt.  She gets shortchanged as she is always the last one out for a hunt and sometimes we get our two bird limit before her turn comes.  We went to a section of over that is about 50 yards wide is bordered by a gravel road on one side and a fence on the other.  We had a nice head wind and she was working pretty well, as well as a blind 11+ yr old dog can hunt.   We made it through the first area with just a wild hen being moved.  Shortly after moving into the second are she started to work harder and get a lot more birdy. After two short soft points she was getting serious about it all so I started to kick around and a smaller rooster came up and I was able to drop it cleanly.  She was so excited to hear the sound of the shot after her work and then to get to smell her harvest topped it all off.

It was a day that I hope for whenever I head out.  Great dog work and no lost birds.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Limit But Still Disappointment

Sunday October 18th 2009
An early rise to head down to Springfield MN. We got a little bit of a late start as I was still dragging from all of the driving the day before. This farm has a number of different areas to hunt and I decided to start us out on a large area of CRP. We worked a couple of the spots that I had luck with the previous year but no luck so we worked the fence line by some cut corn and the dogs started to get birdy, they locked on an area of extra thick cover so I started kicking to get the bird up if in fact there was one. There was one, unfortunately it took off over the heads of some cattle that were feeding in the cut corn. I had to wait quite a while before he cleared the cows and I ended up passing on the shot. As we pushed the field I could see birds getting up quite a ways out and heading into uncut corn on the West end of the field. We continued to work the area and got a number of good points but all were on hens. After about 2 hours I put Marge and Tina ( the two english setters ) into their kennels and let Fergie ( Blind 11 1/2 yrs old Pointer ) have a chance. A second area of this farm is a stretch of cover that that runs about 1/4 of a mile and borders the dirt road. The cover is pretty good but not so thick as to cause problems for her walking. On the trip out she got a little bit birdy but nothing as we turned back she was working a bit more seriously. She did a soft point and I put up a hen off of her. A little ways later she started to get serious again and I thought it might have just been the hen scent from earlier. I was half asleep when a rooster got up from just to the side of me and I took a couple of poor shots and totally blew a good chance to get her a bird. How many chances does an old blind dog get?? I was plenty pissed at myself. We made to the end of the strip and worked our way back but no more birds.

After a Mountain Dew and some mini Snickers to get me a little extra energy Tina and I took off to try a new area of the farm. We went to the back side that had a creek and drainage running through it. Tina went through a fence line towards the marshy area and went on point about 10 yards into the thick stuff. I had to put my gun across the fence, crawl through the fence, get myself unstuck from the fence, get my gun, and walk over to her. As I was walking over I thought to myself “either the bird is gone or it is a young one too dumb to run for it.? It was a young one and it made it into my game bag. We worked the swampy area for quite a bit longer and found a few more hens but no roosters. As we made it back to the crp area we reworked the fence line by the corn but to no avail. I was ready to call it a weekend so we started the walk back to the truck. Tina wasn’t ready to give up and kept working the cover. When we got about 50 yards from the turn to the path to the truck she locked up hard. I moved in and a pair of roosters got up and I was able to bring it down with one shot.

All in all a good hunt. I just still feel bad that I couldn’t connect for Fergie....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

First Duck In A Decade

Saturday, October 17 started out with high hopes. I could tell it would be a sunny day out since I could see the stars in the early morning sky as I loaded the dogs into the truck. I left St. Paul on the way for a farm about 30 minutes west of Albert Lea. Sure enough as the sun came up I could see blue skies. When I hit Owatonna I could see clouds to the south and sure enough as I hit Albert Lea it started to rain. I got off the freeway and headed back north to Owatonna and another farm I had lined up.

As we got to the farm I could see that the corn was still up and the beans were still in. We tried working the edges of the crops and cover. After about 30 minutes Marge’s beeper went into beep mode. I struggled to get through the thick cover.. I couldn’t through quick enough and I heard the rooster cackle out the other side. We continued to work this farm for another hour and didn’t get any other bird action. We moved to a small 40 acre patch of crp another 15 minutes south. This parcel looks really good but I have yet to see a bird there. I keep trying it because it looks so nice. We didn’t see anything again. Off to the first planned farm. This area is west of Albert Lea and consists of two 40 acre units across a dirt road from each other. I started with the south portion as we’ve seen birds there on a regular basis. The beans were still in along 3 sides of it and the corn was up across the road. There is a U shaped area of heavy brush with cattails in the center and thinner crp cover on the outside. The dogs were working the inside of the U and I was walking the outside I saw a couple of hens get up a little ways out and then a rooster. I took a shot, longer than I usually take, and the bird kept going. We worked the rest of the way around the U and put up 4 more hens, a doe, and a nice buck. I switched guns to a waterfowl legal one and grabbed some steel shot and went across the road to the other parcel. In years where there is good rain this parcel has a small pond at the back of it and since we’ve had a lot of rain this fall I thought I’d take a look. We made out way to the back of the unit and I got down low as we approached the edge of the pond. There was quite a bit of heavy cover so I was able to get right to the edge before I stood up. The ducks saw me and took off. I got off a shot at one and was able to drop it. Tina decided she didn't want to go into the water to retrieve it so I went sloshing though the shallow end and got the duck and was happy to have worn Goretex. It is the first duck I’ve gotten in over a decade. I haven’t tried for any in that time but it was fun to get one.

We reworked both the sections in hopes of being able to make it a multi-species day but to no avail. We did put up another rooster but he got up and out through some thick stuff and I chose not to make the shot. It was a fun day but a lot of driving. Almost 300 miles of driving by the time we made it back home.

Hunt.MN - Hunt Private Land In MN and 10 other states

Friday, October 16, 2009

2009 MN Pheasant Opener

This year’s MN pheasant opener was certainly different in some respects but the results were the same...

Last year I was worried about keeping the dogs cooled down and this year I was planning on to keep the warm after the hunt.

Saturday snow on the ground greeted us as we loaded up to head out. We started at a farm west of Hutchinson, MN. I had a feeling it would be a tough hunt when we pulled up and I could see that all of the corn was still up. I started with Tina and Marge, the two setters, and worked the crp for 2 1/2 hours. We got a number of good points on hens but no roosters. We switched to a farm south of town. Last year I could walk almost all of the property and not worry about getting wet. This year there was standing water on a lot of the low areas that have been dry the past few years. I started Tina by herself at this farm. We hit all of the usual hot spots and only put up 3 hens. I took out Fergie, the pointer, to give her a chance to stretch her legs and and to give Tina a break. We ran the edges of the cattails and a couple of other areas that were a little bit thicker but still no luck. After a little lunch and chance to rest the legs we made our way back to our first farm. We were able to take a rooster off of a nice point at about 4 pm. We had been working the edge of the corn hoping to catch some birds on their way to rest for the night. About 20 minutes later I hit one from a little ways away. I thought it was a good hit but after looking for quite a while we didn’t find it. We continued to work the field and continued to find hens on a regular basis but it took a while longer before the next rooster point. I saw feathers fly with each of my three shots but he didn’t go down. I watched for where he did land. After walking the area for a little while we got another point. This time he didn’t get up quite as quickly and ended up in the game bag. As we were heading back to the truck the snow flurries were starting up again and the sun was setting. A long day of hunting especially compare to last year when we filled out in under 1 hr.

Sunday we slept in a bit and didn’t start to hunt until the afternoon. I thought this strategy might pay off since we hadn’t seen any roosters until the afternoon the day before. It was a bit of a nicer day but my strategy did not pay off as we only saw a few hens and no roosters at all. It was still an enjoyable afternoon and the dogs had a good time.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

My Review of Bob Allen Leather Shooting Gloves (For Men)

Originally submitted at Sierra Trading Post

Closeouts . In the field or at the range, these Bob Allen shooting gloves are ready for a long day of shooting with genuine leather construction for durability and maximum performance. Material: Leather Closeouts . Pakistan. Size (girth): S (8”) M (8½”) L (9”) XL (9½”) 2XL (10”)

Great Gloves

By from St. Paul, MN on 10/4/2009


5out of 5

Sizing: Feels true to size

Pros: Lightweight, Warm

Best Uses: Bird Hunting

Describe Yourself: Hunter

This is my third pair of these gloves. I used and abused my first pair for 5 years. I now have 2 pair so that I can have one set as a back up.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hunting Gear For Sale

Columbia Hunting Gear For Sale
Columbia Hunting Gear For Sale

1)Ptarmigan Jacket - Flax / Olive - L - Like New

2)Quickloader Vest - Blaze - L - Like New

3) Cover Rise Vest - L - Camo - Used

Just selling some of my spare gear.

Check it out

Ely MN Grouse Hunt Sept 2009

This past weekend I was able to go up to Ely MN to grouse hunt. I've been going up there for the 2nd weekend of grouse hunting for the past 10 years.

One of the challenges is that we've been hunting the same areas for 10 years now. The spots that were hot 10 years ago are now about 10 years past peak.

On Friday we got out at about 1:30 and it was 70 degrees, sunny, and not much of a breeze. We hit our usual spot. I ended up seeing/hearing 6 birds - shot at 3 and ended up missing all three shots. The cover was thick and I didn't really feel like any of the shots were that doable but I've made tougher. We ended up quiting at about six as the dogs were hot and tired.

Saturday we got out at about 11 am. Cooler at 60 degrees but more humid as the weather was changing. We went back to the old reliable spot one more time. Saw 3 more, shot and missed one more time. As we were pulling out 2 1/2 hours later we saw two separate trucks pulling.

I decided to drive down the main road a little bit further. I ended up seeing a nice looking fire road and decided to try it out. I unloaded Tina, my seven year old English Setter, and started to walk. After walking about 100 yards I could hear a chainsaw just up the trail. We went back loaded up and drove up to the chainsaw area. I stopped and spoke with the two guys cutting wood and they said the trail went a bit farther up and that they had seen some grouse now and then. Drove another 100 yards parked and unloaded Tina again. We went a little ways and got a nice point and proceeded to miss another shot. Five more minutes of walking and another point. Finally I connected. 10 minutes another connection and a miss. We worked out way back to the truck and took turns working Marge and Fergie. Marge had a nice point on a ridge but the bird went straight out in front of her so I didn't get a shot off.

Took a bit of a break for a Snickers and a Dew. Unloaded Tina again and decided to rework the original portion of the trail that we had gotten our birds on. We got another point after a short while and I was able to connect on a double so I felt pretty good about myself. I ended up taking 4 out of the last 5 birds that I shot at. We didn't see any more birds and called it a day at about 6:30.

I think we saw/heard about 16 birds on Saturday between the two spots. I think the numbers are up from last year but not to the crazy numbers that I'd seen 8-10 years ago.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Flush with grouse but not hunters

For Minnesota's ruffed grouse hunters, it might not get much better than this. ¶ The "Ol' Ruff" population is up a remarkable 43 percent from last year, based on spring drumming counts, and the population index is the highest it's been in 37 years. ¶ This is the fourth consecutive increase, and the grouse population probably is at or near the peak of its 10-year boom-to-bust cycle. That means the hunting season, which opens Saturday, could be one of the best in decades.

"I think we'll see a noticeable increase in birds out there, said Dan Dessecker of Rice Lake, Wis., an avid grouse hunter and director of conservation policy for the Ruffed Grouse Society.

Said Dave Schad, Department of Natural Resources fish and wildlife section chief: "Hopefully, we're approaching one of those really special years with peak bird abundance. I think there's a lot of excitement and a lot of interest.''

But two key questions remain: Will hunters actually find significantly more grouse this fall? And how many hunters will show up in the woods to seek them?

The last time the grouse index was nearly this high, in 1998, an estimated 142,000 hunters bagged almost 1 million grouse.

Yet no one expects that kind of harvest this fall. A major reason: Despite the expected huge increase in bird numbers, it's highly unlikely that 142,000 hunters will show up. Though grouse hunter numbers historically have climbed and dropped along with the grouse population, the long-term trend has been a decline in small-game hunters.

Last year, the DNR estimated there were 87,000 grouse hunters -- or 55,000 fewer than 11 years ago. And the agency sold 290,000 small-game licenses in 2008, 30,000 fewer than in 1998.

Last year, grouse numbers also were up from 2007, but hunter numbers dropped slightly.

Read full article in the StarTribune

Saturday, September 12, 2009

New Videos Loaded

I just uploaded a few more videos of our hunting properties. I don't think any of the Film Schools will be calling but hopefully they will give people a good idea of the typle of land we have available for hunting.

Please feel free to check them out at YouTube



Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fall Training Review

Tina is almost finished up with training camp, I’ll be picking her up this weekend. She has been getting tuned up on a few things before the season starts up. A little whoa and backing work.

The most fun for her is probably getting to be roaded. She gets hooked up to an ATV and gets to go running with a bunch of her dog buddies. My yard at home isn’t fenced in so this helps to get her in shape for the early season when it can be a bit warmer. As the season progresses the dogs get enough work that by the time we have to work harder for our birds they are in shape to make a whole day of it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Game Fair Review

Game Fair has finished and the unofficial start to the hunting pre-season has started. I didn't see any gun vendors this year. Plenty of training electronics. The one thing that really stuck out was the number of dog food vendors. I didn't know that there were so many dog food vendors.

It was fun to visit some of the different trainers and breeders to get their views and opinions.

Whenever I visit Waterfowl Hill I keep thinking I should take up waterfowl hunting. Lots of cool stuff to buy. Maybe this will be the year I get a goose. Have to check out early goose season I guess. Don't want to give up any grouse or pheasant hunting to chase them.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A good hunting mid-summer weekend

This weekend was a good one to stay psyched up for the fall.

Saturday morning I drove up to Sandstone MN to drop off ,Tina, one of my setters, at NorthWoods Bird Dogs for pre-season conditioning and some training tuning up. Jerry had a client coming in to look at the training progress of the two Brits that he had there. One was a young dog and the other was about 10 years old. I got to hang with them and play bird boy while they watched the improvements the two dogs had made. I also got to watch him work a pointer, gsp, viszla, and a french brittany. I had a great time seeing the different stages the dogs were at and picked up a few pointers.

Sunday I went to Metro Gun Club and shot 2 rounds of trap. I'm averaging about 3-4 birds more per round than I was last summer. If I keep at this rate of improvement in a few years I'll be halfway decent. During the first round there was just two of us shooting and the second round there were three of us. It was kind of nice to get in and out pretty quickly. I think it took me mor etime to drive there and back than it did to get in my shooting. After shooting I took the other two dogs out for a walk. There was a bit of a difference in energy level of the pups on Saturday and my 11 and 13 year olds.... I'm pretty sure they will be excited when I first start to load up the hunting gear though.

Game Fair starts in about two weeks so if you are out there please stop by the Minnesota Outdoor Sports booth and say Hi.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dog Training

The way I think of the need to get my dogs trained for the season might be a bit different than most people. I think the less you hunt the more important it is to have your dog fully trained and ready to go right at the start of the season. I usually can hunt 20-30 days per season ( still less than I want but until I win the powerball.... ) and if it takes me 4 or 5 hunts to iron out any issues that have cropped up over the summer I still have 15+ hunts left after I’ve gotten the issues straightened out. During the years when I could only get out 10-12 times that means that about half of my hunts were spent working with a dog who wasn’t fully ready to be in the field. Hunting season is too short to spend it with a dog that hunts out of range or breaks their points.

Even though my dogs have been to a trainer almost every year I still like to have them get a preseason tune up. Even if it is just to get them on birds on a consistent basis. I’ve noticed that they are much more ready to go the first day I put them in the woods.

I’ve worked with two different trainers over the past 10 years and have been really happy with them. ( and no I don’t get a kickback or free training from them...)

Jerry Kolter @ 320-245-6988
Gregg Arndt Kennels 320-983-2021

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Spring Training

Went to the gun range for the 2nd time this spring.
Shot a couple of rounds of trap. I was a bit disappointed with my shooting this trip. I actually shot about the same as my average shooting but the previous trip had been better than usual so I was hoping that I had made an actual improvement that was going to stick.

Oh well, just have to keep trying and see if I can still make the jump.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Consider A Recue Dog

If you would like to help sporting breeds please consider adopting a dog.  has Pointers and German Shorthair Pointers available for adoption.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

New Training Collar From LCS

Bird Dog Trainer 2

Now In Stock!!

New for 2009 – the Lion County Supply Bird Dog Trainer II has been completely re-engineered and improved ease-of-use. The really big new is you can now program a second collar to your transmitter, and train two dogs simultaneously. The choice between dog 1 and dog 2 is easily accomplished with a switch conveniently located on the side of the transmitter. The sensitivity on the beeper has been redesigned and provide immediate audio feedback on your dogs location, and whether he is moving or on point.

The most exciting development with this new unit is it is the primary component to a complete bird dog training system. The transmitter to the Bird Dog Trainer II also operates the electronics supplied with our Universal Bird Launcher and the electronics supplied with our new LCS Backing Dog! Think of it – one transmitter to train your dog, activate a bird launcher, and deploy a backing dog – in one training session!

There is no other remote training collars available today that provides you the capability to customize a training system to your individual needs, and a such a great price

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cabela's Gun Buying Event

Cabela's Gun Library® is interested in acquiring functional firearms of nearly every description - old and new, plain and fancy - field models and collector grades. Whether it is a single piece or an entire collection, we are always looking to purchase quality inventory. Cabela's will travel to your location for larger quantities of arms.

* Cash will be paid up to $2,000 per gun collection. If the purchase is over $2,000, the form of payment will be by check or Cabela's Gift Card the same day. All firearms must be legally owned and pass a Serial Number cross-check. Valid Government issued ID is required. No modern muzzleloaders, black powder or airguns.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2008 Hunting Season Wrap Up

2008 Hunting Season Wrap Up

It was an interesting season. Started out hot and then switched to pretty cold over the course of a week. Not many nice 45 degree days where you didn’t have to worry about the dogs getting hot or me getting cold....

We got the most Pheasants we’ve ever gotten for a single season. Just a couple of Ruffed Grouse though.

The dogs did pretty well. Marge, English Setter, was just over 12 years old at the start of the season and held up well. She wants to hunt like she is in her prime so I have to hold her back a bit these days. Fergie, Pointer. was 10 1/2 years old and is mostly blind. She still loves to hunt and would work hard. She didn’t get as many chances at birds since I usually ran the two English Setters first and sometimes we would fill out before she would get to hunt. We would fake hunt most of the time. She did get some hen points but it was on the last hunt of the season that she got a rock solid rooster hunt so that was a blast. Tina, English Setter, turned six shortly before the season. We added her to the team two weeks before our first hunt of the season. She did really well on the grouse the one weekend that we hunted them. It was her first time on pheasants and it was a little bit of an adjustment but she came along fast and was locking them solid by the end of the season.

We hunted a fair number of different farms this fall but did have a few favorites that we hit a bit more often. The new ones were also some of the farthest ones away. One was by Springfield MN and one was by Montevideo MN. Only hunted in Minnesota this year. I used to usually hunt in three different states and hope to expand out a bit more again next year.

The big new piece of gear that I got was a Garmin Astro dog tracking unit. It worked really well and I used it to find dogs that had wandered a bit farther than usual. I think it gave me a bit more confidence to let the dogs stretch out their range a little bit farther. If I was running two dogs I used two of the tracking collars and it made it easier to follow one dog that might be working scent without having to worry about where the other dogs was at any one moment. If they were out of sound range with the remote locate on their beeper collar I would just pull out the receiver unit and it would point me in the right direction. It was a good purchase.

All in all it was a good season and the dogs had a good time and I had a blast hunting with them, which are the two most important parts of it anyway.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Late Christmas Present

A Late Christmas Present

December 30th 2008

It was a long drive to Springfield MN to hunt a farm just south of town. The toughest part of the drive was just getting out of the Metro and the start of rush hour. A little bit of snow and it was down to a crawl in some areas.

This farm is two separate areas totaling about 280 acres. It was windy and about 20 degrees. On this hunt I was joined by two other hunters. Mark Leyhe, who I’ve hunted with for about a dozen years. Mark Hoekstra a high schooler who is really getting into hunting. Mark L had his Golden Retriever Sasha with him and Mark H had his young Springer, Diesel, with him. I think Diesel is under 9 months of age. I started with the two English Setters, Marge and Tina.

There was a lot more snow on the ground than 11 days earlier when I first hunted this farm. As we walked in we saw a number of birds flush. Some flushed too close to the farm house and some flushed out of range. We worked a fair amount of cover before we started to get into the birds. It was a pretty good day and the dogs all worked well. There were a few times during the day that stood out for me. The first was when we were working back to the area where we started out and Marge locked up. I was kicking around and had basically had given up an finally a nice rooster popped up. Both Mark H and I shot and dropped it cleanly. I think it was the first time Mark H had seen such a solid point. A second instance that stood out was some what similar with Tina locking up and I started to kick and nothing got up so I backed off a step and Tina went into a tiny patch of weeds covered with snow. I started to see something trying to get out and couldn’t tell what it was right away. Fortunately a big old rooster popped up and was treated to a triple hit as all three of us shot. Another thing that was fun to see was Diesel working hard for four solid hours of hunting. The little dog was working scent and pushing through the cover. It was a blast to see him so full of energy and excitement.

The final thing that made the hunt and quite frankly was a huge highlight of the whole season was hunting with Fergie. As usual she stayed in her kennel until Marge and Tina had their turn. In most instances she would get hunted on ground that we had hunted already or after we had filled out already so it would end up just being exercise. I kept Tina out to hunt with Fergie and Diesel. We went to cover some new territory and it was a fair amount of work just getting there. Watching her hunt knowing that with her blindness it was all scent, shadow, and sound that she was working off of. She was working scent a fair amount of time as we pushed through snow drifts, cattails, and thick cover. We were about an hour into our second hunt and hadn’t seen any birds within shooting range so we started to head back. While we were reworking some areas from the earlier part of the hunt Fergie locked up more solidly than she had locked up all season. Yet again, I started to stomp around what little cover I could see. Nothing. I thought it might be scent from a bird that we had moved earlier. She still didn’t budge so I went back in and started to kick even closer to her. The rooster got up less than 2 feet from her. He didn’t stand a chance. I would have emptied my gun and thrown it at the pheasant if I would have had to. I didn’t have to. Mark H and I both spanked him good. I was so excited to get that bird for her. It was the most excited I’ve been since her first point over 10 years earlier.

We ended up taking a total of six pheasants and 1 rabbit in about 4 hours of hunting. We called it a day as the snow was coming down and the wind was picking up even more. It was fun to hunt with others and to have the chance to hunt with a new hunting partner.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Back To Reality

12/26/2008 Friday

The last 4 hunts I have fortunate enough to limit out or even take a few more to help our group hit its limit.

I hunted my favorite farm south of Hutchinson. It had gotten a fair amount of snow since the previous time that I had hunted it. Just to get into the hunt-able portion of the farm I had to climb through a snow drift that was over my knees.

I put Tina and Marge on the ground and as we worked the edge of the field 2 roosters and a hen got up a ways out and flew to the cattails. Oddly none got up off of the hot corner, we’ve seen a few there the last couple of times.

We worked the heavy willow area and got a nice point in there and were able to take a large rooster. After the willows we worked the edge of the field towards the highway. As we got towards the end of the field a few hens got up and we watched them fly towards one of the smaller cattail sections. We turned and cut across the open CRP area towards their landing area thinking that maybe one would have turned out to be a rooster. We waded through the cattails and put up another 3 or 4 hens. Going through the cattails was a wet process as they held a lot of snow up high and I was getting soaked. We worked the edge of the cattails towards a second area of willows and put up another 5 or 6 hens there.

It was fun to see so many hens but it was getting nerve wracking not seeing any roosters.

I took the dogs back around to some of the thicker areas of cover hoping that perhaps a rooster had moved back in after we left. More hens.

After 3 hours of hunting we called it a day. All 3 dogs and I were getting wet and tired of working through the snow. All in all it wasn’t a bad day. 1 bird in the bag and over 20 more hens moved. Probably a little more realistic of a late December day of Pheasant hunting in Minnesota then some of the bountiful days I have been having.