Over 4,000 acres of Potlatch land in Northern MN transferred for public use

Greg Seitz

Almost 4,400 acres of land located between Duluth and Minnesota’s northern border have been acquired by St. Louis County, thanks to efforts by two conservation groups. The deal will transfer lands from forest products company PotlatchDeltic to the county for permanent protection and public access.

The county will manage the lands for recreation, wildlife, and sustainable timber harvest.

“PotlatchDeltic was one of the largest private industrial forest landowners in St. Louis County, and the impact of that land being sold and developed would reverberate across the North Woods,” said Daryl Peterson, director of restoration programs with the Minnesota Land Trust. “Once land is sold off to a hundred different parties, it is nearly impossible to manage the incredible forest ecosystems native to northern Minnesota.”

The Minnesota Land Trust and The Conservation Fund purchased the four large parcels with $4.2 million provided by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment, and then donated them to St. Louis County. The deal was the biggest in Minnesota Land Trust history since it was founded in 1991. Additional funding came from the Four Cedars Environmental Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, and the Wallin family.

The protected land fosters many types of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, gray wolves, Canada lynx, and ruffed grouse. It also provides habitat for sensitive bird species, located at the edge of breeding ranges for the Golden-winged and Blackburnian Warbler, as well as the American Woodcock.


Read the full Quetico Superior Wilderness News article

A Hard Look at the Future of Grouse Hunting

Bruce E. Mathews


With bird numbers down, what does the future ruffed grouse hunting realistically look like? Michigan’s Ned Caveney has astonishing memories that point to many uncertainties

Teddy died two days before grouse camp.

Ned e-mailed the news, and that my 2-year-old Brittany would now be our “A-team” for our hunting visit. His English Pointer, Karen, at 9 months wasn’t coming along as fast as he’d like, and Charley, his 3-month-old Gordon Setter was still chewing up his rubber ducky. Cute as the dickens but not ready for the big grouse woods. You felt the loss and heartache between every line. Teddy lived to hunt for Ned and took his last slow breaths as Ned held him close, telling him what a good boy he had been.

Ned hoped Teddy would make it through this season, but it wasn’t to be. We arrived two days later, with the only certainty for grouse camp being broken hearts and unproven bird dogs.

“The last bird season I didn’t have a good dog was in 1977,” Ned lamented as he greeted us.

Teddy was only 11, but he’d been ailing for some time. He died with a lifetime total of 460 points on grouse and 773 on woodcock. Ned said later as we hunted a certain cover that “Teddy’s last grouse point was in those thornapples. Joe was hunting with us, with his flintlock shotgun. He missed.”

When you hunt with Ned, you see his grouse woods through the eyes of a professional forester, an insightful and talented land manager, a keen-eyed hunter and a man carrying on a full-bore love affair with dogs, birds, and the grouse woods of the North Country. Retiring from the Michigan DNR in 1998 as the regional forest manager for the northern lower peninsula, Ned’s 31-plus-year DNR career and an additional 21 years of private consulting give him an intimate knowledge of the northern Michigan landscape, not to mention a record of every clear-cut and potential bird cover in the area. We’ve been hunting together almost every fall since just before he retired.

Ned keeps meticulous records—since 1970 reporting annually to the Michigan DNR the results of his woodcock and grouse hunts. His records include hours hunted, the numbers of ruffed grouse and woodcock flushed, pointed and bagged, and by which dog.

“How many hours do you think a dog hunts in its lifetime?” Ned asks rhetorically. “Teddy hunted 836 hours, and he pointed 1,233 grouse and woodcock. The only dog I hunted more was Bit, when we hunted in the ’70s and ’80s. She hunted 948 hours.”

Read the full Field and Stream article  



Woodcock Banding – An American Woodcock Society Film

Woodcock banding is probably the closest thing to actual upland hunting you can do in the spring, and is an extremely rewarding activity for any bird lover turned dog lover or dog lover turned bird lover, depending on the category of upland bird fanatic you place yourself in. Love for the dog work and love for the bird are the greatest drivers for the few hundred permitted individuals in Minnesota and Michigan who obsessively take to the dense covers where American woodcock nest during the spring. Ticks, poison ivy, indescribable mosquito hatches, and navigating the thickest of thick covers through thorns and eye-poking branches is not for the faint of heart, but once you hold a fuzzy timberdoodle chick in your hand for the first time, it is worth every moment of the search.

Grouse Hunting Video At Tim Pond Camps 2020 Parts 1 and 2

Bird Dogs Afield visits Tim Pond Camps in Maine For A Grouse Hunt. This is Part 1 of a 2 Part Series. Good action in both parts.

 Part 1


Part 2


Ruffed Grouse Covert - A Sporting Classics Daily Story


Once upon a time Bob Sohrweide had a ruffed grouse cover. He’d had other covers before and since but this one was his best. Bob found it in his eighth grade Latin class. Let me tell you…

As Bob walked into his classroom, he overheard Robbie Trotta finishing a story to Aram Schroeder. “And those birds busted up all around my dirt bike. Made a noise like a loud window shade going up fast. Brrrrrrup. Five, six of them. Scared the crap out of me and I slid the bike into an apple tree.”

Bob put his briefcase on his desk and turned to the boys. “Where was this, Robbie?”

“Up in the old apple orchard above my house. I have a bike trail that I ride along that ridge.”

“What’d the birds look like, Robbie?”

“Brown, the size of a small chicken, with a band along the tail. I got a real close look at ‘em. They got up all ‘round me. I thought they were pheasants, but Dad said they were pa’tridge.”

“Thanks, Robbie. Who’s picking you up after soccer practice?”

“My Dad.”

“Well, I want to talk to him about those birds.”

“Sure thing. We won’t leave ‘til you see him.”

Bob smiled and nodded at Robbie, picked up a piece of chalk and turned his attention to the class.

“Let’s talk about third declension nouns.”

Two days later, on a cool, blue-sky Saturday afternoon, Bob followed a scampering Boykin spaniel up Robbie’s bike trail to the crest of the ridge. Bob’s hunting partner and the owner of Tessie, Jim Heath, was coaching a football game that afternoon, but upon hearing Bob’s plan to hunt/scout a new bird covert Jim had lent Bob Tessie for the afternoon’s hunt.

“She needs a workout,” Jim said. “She hasn’t been out bird hunting for ten days. Football practice and games get in the way.”

“I’ll give her a good one,” Bob said. “It’s a long walk to the top and Robbie says that it’s thick cover up there. Whether we see birds or not, Tessie’ll sleep tonight.”

Bob walked up the ridge watching Tessie work the thin undergrowth between the mature trees. He carried his twenty-gauge Ithaca over/under at port arms, with thumb ready on its tang safety, and listened to the merry music of the dog’s small cowbell. If a bird flushed, he meant to be ready.

Bob took his time walking the long way up to the flat plateau on top of the ridge. He picked his way through several clumps of blow-down in a gully, letting Tessie work her way through the brush ahead of him. The ground cover was sparse, the forest mature, with no apple or pine trees in sight. Not much of a place for a ruffie, but a great place for Tessie to run off some energy before they got to the cover on top that Robbie had described.

“There’s apple trees, barberries, pines, a small creek, a marsh, thorn bushes, a cellar hole,” Robbie said. “The birds got up out of the apple trees and flew for the pines. Five, six of ‘em. One after another. I got a good look.”

Read the rest of the Sporting Classics story