By Joel Schnell October 16, 2015
It’s upon us, the prime time for ruffed grouse and woodcock in Minnesota. Rejoice in this narrow window of time that we’ve waited for all year. Crisp wood smoke evenings and blustery sunny days await. The woodcock stop by to say hello on their way to Louisiana. Thundering wings of flushing grouse await those walking the old logging roads of the North.
There’s no better time to see the splendor of colored leaves, grasping for grip on bare branches. The sweet smell of decay and moist earth in the air. Rafts of waterfowl on yet-unfrozen ponds. My dogs, muddy and full of briars, lap up eagerly at a mud puddle. A distant shot rings out, and ears perk up. Someone else is rousting out old ruff. A crash ahead in the brush and a whitetail deer decides we’ve gotten close enough. His time under the gun will come soon enough.
My weeks are short and hectic between hunts. Throw a load of clothes in the wash. That boot with the duct tape holding the heel on, that gets a coat of gorilla glue. Then a coat of boot oil. The gun gets a bore snaking, and a drop of oil on a swatch of cotton to wipe down the action. Batteries go on the charger, for e-collars and flashlights and devices of other kinds. The dogs get checked for ticks, who have yet to hibernate in my neck of the woods. I’m filling the cooler today and water jugs for the cabin.
A few birds already reside in the freezer, hopefully more to come. Work will just have to wait on Friday.
Joel Schnell is publisher of www.ruffedgrouseminnesota.com
He can be reached at info[at]ruffedgrouseminnesota.com