In a word, the early season ruffed grouse and woodcock hunt is wet. Muddy, sloppy, over-the-boot-top and hop-from-hummock-to-hummock kind of wet. As wet as I’ve ever seen a grouse season. I bring two pairs of boots each weekend, as they get soaked and add a pound or two each boot. My boot dryer never got such a workout. It’s been exhausting, wearing soaked boots and brush pants wet to the knees. And there is no straight line walking in the woods, it’s move from high ground to high ground zigzaging. It’s a season I feel I really have to earn every bird.
When Nature Attacks
Yes, this happened. I ducked under a blackberry cane and it grabbed my hat. It wasn’t giving it up without a tug-o’-war. The forest fights back, sometimes.
A Ruffed Grouse Banquet
Catnip for ruffed grouse, the dogwood is thick with berries in this wet fall. Food and water are plentiful, the birds won’t be grouped on the swamp edges like a usual hot, dry September. Which brings us to that glowing drumming count of last summer, boasting an increase of 57%. Well, it’s not really a count, more like a guideline, I’d guess. Bird numbers seem below last year’s. From what I hear around the web, others say the same. Hunting a popular state forest, I’m not hearing shots when I know other guys are out there. Maybe when the leaves drop, and the monsoon ends, we’ll start seeing more birds. I’ll get out there either way.
Oil your boots, folks. It’s a monsoon out there.
It’s October in Minnesota. The finest time, in the finest woods, out there. Enjoy it!
By Joel Schnell
Posted October 10, 2017.
Joel Schnell is publisher of www.ruffedgrouseminnesota.com
He can be reached at info[at]ruffedgrouseminnesota.com