Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ruffed Grouse Hunt September 23rd 2011 - Bigfork, MN

Tina With Her First Grouse Of 2011

Friday Sept 23rd 2011

We left the St. Paul, MN area at about 5:25 am and headed north to the Bigfork area for our first hunt of the season.  After a stop over in Grand Rapids we started to hunt at about 11 am.  There were no vehicles parked at our favorite spot.  It soon became apparent why when we started to walk the area as the telltale signs of logging we everywhere.  We decided to walk the trails that weren’t being traveled by the logging trucks.  Unfortunately the logging was taking place in the areas that produced the most birds last season and not in the older areas that we ended up walking.  We didn’t move any birds in the older growth.  We got to an area of younger growth that has usually held a bird or two in the past so I was hopeful of some action.  Tina didn’t get too birdy until we were almost through the area.  As we got close to the end of the cover she became birdy and I could see the grouse holding just up ahead.  Two steps towards it and it flushed and after the shot we had the  first bird of 2011 in the bag.

The next spot we hunted I call “ the field “.  When I showed it to some friends last year they wondered why “field” was part of the name and I told them that when I started to hunt the spot 10 plus years ago it was a clear cut at the end of the trail and that you could see all the way around it.  Now it is fairly filled in with different types of growth.  Tina and I made our way around the area and were lucky enough to find a grouse on the edge of the cover.  After another nice point I was able to add it to my game bag.

On the way back we followed the edge of a beaver pond and got to really solid points on woodcock.  I was wonder if they knew that the season hadn’t opened on them yet and that is why they presented me with such nice easy presentations.

After moving to a new location I got out Marge, my 15 year old setter.  I was wondering how she would do this season as she has been off a little bit on our walks this summer but after 15 minutes on the trail she was off into the cover.  She did pretty well except for where she had to climb over downed logs.  I had chosen a trail that I thought would be 45 -60 minutes of walking.  We didn’t move any birds on the way out so on they way back I was daydreaming a bit when Marge’s beeper went off.  I could here her not too far off in some older growth so I wasn’t too optimistic and didn’t really hurry to her.  By the time I got close to her one grouse decided it has waited long enough and flushed off to safety.  As I congratulated Marge for the nice point another three more flushed off into the deeper cover.  Lesson relearned.  Always Trust Your Dog.

We ended up getting two birds for the day and moved a few more.  I think I only saw 1/3 the birds that I saw in the same area that I saw last season.  The cover is definitely still in full force whereas last season I think we saw the leaves drop two to three weeks early.  It was still nice to get out and test the woods.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

17 Landowner Habitat Tours Across Nebraska Hosted by Quail Forever

Nebraska Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever (QF) wildlife biologists from across the state are hosting 17 different landowner habitat tours during the next four months. These tours are designed to demonstrate habitat management practices, available conservation programs, the financial benefits of conservation programs and how to create the best results on your next habitat project.

The tours, which are free of charge, kick off on Thursday, May 16 with the Cedar Tree Removal for Recreation & Wildlife Tour at Camp Moses Merrill in Linwood and conclude with a Rangeland Management Workshop on the 16 of August in Holt County. Click here to view the complete landowner habitat tour schedule.

Notable dates during the landowner habitat tour circuit include five tours June 18 through June 21 as part of National Pollinator Week. (Pheasants and quail share a common need for habitat featuring flowering plants with pollinating insects like honey bees, butterflies, beetles, and bats.) Click here for all tour locations and descriptions.

The wide range of topics being offered this year cover many different wildlife management topics and will offer opportunities to see first-hand results of local habitat projects. A sampling of tour topics includes Co-existence of Pheasants, Quail and Agriculture; Pollinators and Habitats; Making Your Farm or Ranch Operation Work with Wildlife; Fire in the Pine Ridge; and Habitat Hayrack Ride: CRP Upgrades and Long Term Management.

In addition to Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, the 2013 landowner habitat tours are made possible with support from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Nebraska Environmental Trust. The tours are free of charge and a free meal is also provided. To register for any of the 17 habitat tours go to www.NebraskaPF.com or contact Pheasants Forever's Pam Grossart at (308) 850-8395 / email Pam.

Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 135,000 members and 720 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.

Rehan Nana (651) 209-4973 or email Rehan

Original QuailForever Post

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pierre SD prime place in nation for bird hunting - Pheasant, Sharped-tail, Prairie Chicken, Hungarian Partridge

By David Rookhuyzen david.rookhuyzen@capjournal.com

South Dakota and Pierre are known for good pheasant hunting, but the capital city recently received another acknowledgement as a place where bird hunters can find everything they want.

The city and surrounding area, including the Fort Pierre National Grassland, was recently named as the number one place in the country for bird hunting by Pheasants Forever because of the diversity of its hunting opportunities.

Pierre was followed by Lewistown, Mont., Hettinger, N.D., Huron, S.D., and Valentine, Neb., on the 25-slot list.

Anthony Hauck, the online editor for Pheasants Forever who compiled the rankings, said it started last year as the 25 best areas for pheasant hunting. While South Dakota was well represented, Pierre was not mentioned, in what Hauck said was a “glaring omission,” while trying to be representative of the whole country.

“The reality is you can pick 25 towns from South Dakota (for pheasant hunting),” he said.

For the overall bird hunting list, Hauck said the area gained the number one spot because there are not too many places in the country that provide the mix-bag opportunities at the level offered in Pierre. Within an hour’s drive of the town there are opportunities for a hunter to bag “the grand slam” of the Dakotas: sharp-tailed grouse, prairie chicken, Hungarian partridge, and, of course, pheasant.

Also, the ability to hunt on public lands solidified Pierre’s standing, Hauck said. Public access is crucial for people who want to travel and hunt, and not necessary rely on a lodge or hunting guide, he said.

Hauck gave special mention to the Fort Pierre National Grassland, saying it’s managed specifically to foster bird populations.

Ruben Mares, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Forest Service at the grassland, said the whole theory behind the grassland’s management is to provide habitat for various birds, using the greater prairie chicken as an indicator species.

Read the rest of the Capitol Journal article