|Tony, Quetico and a Bigfork MN Grouse
The weather in the Grand Rapids, Mn area was supposed to be wet snow on Friday so I decided to head up early on Saturday morning. I met my buddy Tony and his dog Quetico in Deer River and we decided to head up to Bigfork to try an area that we’ve had good luck with in the past. This area can be entered from two different roads so we thought that we’d try parking one vehicle and then driving to the other side and hunting our way back to the first vehicle. This way if we got into birds we could always hunt out and back and if the birds were scarce we could bail at the first vehicle, swing back to the second and then head to a new spot.
We put the two dogs on the ground and started down the trail. It looked to be a good morning for a hunt as there were still spots of snow on the ground. Within the first 5 minutes we got a wild flush and didn’t get a shot off. The trail comes to an intersection with two side trails and if you go forward you hit a clear cut that has started to have islands of growth. It the past few years these islands and the edges of the field have held good numbers of birds. We worked the area pretty thoroughly and did not move a bird so we headed down one of the side trails towards the parked car.
As we hit the main loop on the lower portion of the trail the dogs started to get more excited. They started to work an area of newer growth when you could hear them slow their search. Tony went into the area to check on the search when a grouse got up in front of Quetico ( Tony’s GSP ) and he was able to drop the bird. We kept moving along the trail to an area that was an awesome hotspot in 2009 and 2010. There is a large beaver pond along one side and a small pond on the other. In ’09 and ’10 I’m certain I moved multiple birds in this small area every time that I hit it. Tina started to get excited first as I’m guessing that she remembered all of the birds that we had seen there in the past. We were close to the end of this area when the dogs started to tighten up their casts and narrowed their search to some softer ground. A lone woodcock decided to make its escape and I was able to bring it down and put it into the game bag.
We finished up this trail and decided it wasn’t worth hunting our way back so we loaded up the one vehicle, swung back for Tony’s truck and decided to head to an area close to Deer River that I had excellent hunting a number of times last year.
The dogs worked the cover well but we only moved on woodcock and we didn’t take a shot at it. I found it odd that we didn’t move any other birds from this area. As we were leaving I did notice that the cabin across the road had 3 or 4 trucks at it with lots of guys wearing blaze orange and I don’t recall seeing any vehicles at it last year.
Even though we didn’t move a lot of birds it was still a great day to be in the woods with the dogs.
|Tina and I with our Bigfork MN Woodcock