Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Deer River Mn Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock Hunt 10/21/2015

Tasha and Tina with a limit of Ruffed Grouse and a bonus Woodcock
I’ve been slacking off on keeping the blog up to date but we had such a good day hunting that I thought today would be the right time to get it all rolling again.
We drove from St. Paul up to the Deer River area this morning.  It was gray and kind of gross looking when we started at 2 pm.  I wasn’t too hopeful. 
I put the 13 yr old setter Tina down first.  We started down the first trail and she was working scent pretty quickly.  She made a nice point on a woodcock but I couldn’t connect.
The trail comes to a T and we usually go to the left but Tina decided to go to the right and locked up within 15 yards.  I walked in and could see the grouse holding tight by a pine tree.  Three steps in and it jumped up and with one shot it came down.  As we doubled back down the trail we worked for a good period of time.  We had a tailwind and Tina was working hard but wasn’t having much luck until we hit an area that is a bit wetter and Tina swung to a stop after she had passed by the area.  I walked in and the bird went straight away and I was able to bring it down.  100 yards later it looked like the situation was about to repeat itself but as I walked in for the flush I only managed to shoot a tree in half…  We made it to the end of the trail and turned around and worked our way back.  Towards the end of the trail Tina went into the woods a little bit farther than usual.  I heard her beeper go off and I started to walk towards where I thought she was on point.  I couldn’t see her but I thought I was getting close.  I was about to activate the beeper again to get a better idea of where she was when I heard a leaf make a crunchy noise and the grouse came up and I was able to snap off a shot and bring it down.  When I picked up the bird I could tell that I had just hit the wing.  Covering the last bit back to the truck I missed on a wild flush.
After loading Tina into the truck and swapping out the 12ga for a 20ga Tasha and I started back into the woods.  The first spot that we hit was an area that had been cut over 4 or 5 years ago.  We haven’t moved many birds out of this area yet but it doesn’t take to long to hit it.  A short walk into it Tasha pointed and then relocated.  When I walked in a woodcock went up and I took an off balance shot and was lucky enough to connect.  Tasha went right over to where it went down so we didn’t lose this one.  She has been getting better about going to where the bird has gone down.  We finished up this area and hit a spot that usually holds a few woodcock.  She had a nice point but it flushed low and straight away from her so I didn’t get a shot off.  We continued to work the area and at the very end of the cover she locked up again and the grouse came up and offered me a straight away shot and I was able to hit it on the 2nd shot.  We doubled back and started to work part of the area that we don’t hit too often.  It is a bit older growth but we have been seen birds in this type of cover in other areas that we have hunted this year.  We hunted this area for quite awhile but didn’t get any action.  We worked our way back towards the area that I had hit with Tina in the hope that more birds had moved in.  Just a few minutes down the trail and I got a nice point and I brought down grouse number 5.  We hunted for a bit more trying to get Tasha some more woodcock points but didn’t move any more.  About 50 yards from the truck Tasha busted a grouse. Oh well, it wouldn’t be a hunt without one busted flush.
I checked my hunting log and the last time that we had filled out on grouse was 4 years and 1 day earlier and it was in the same spot.

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