I was wondering how folks did with the ruffies this year? Anybody try the Turttle Mountains and how was it? Visited with a fellow who hunted woodcock out east and it sounded like fun. Any experiances with them? Maybe along the Red? In late Sept. I often see jack snipe migrating thru, and although I have never hunted them, they look like the plains version of woodcock. Anybody try them?
I hunted woodcock once and it was challenging!They dont fly real fast but are erratic as hell(kind of like a good knuckle ball in baseball).They are considered a bonus bird when hunting ruffed grouse and live in similar habitats.To bad they dont taste as good as a ruffy.
IFYOU SEE ANY SNIPE TAKE EM! AT LEAST TWO TO MAKE A SMALL SAMPLE. I LIKE THEM. BESIDES WHEN SEPT 1 COMES AROUND HERE SNIPE AND RAIL ARE OPEN GAME TO GET ME BACK OUT INTO THE FIELD!ROUGHYS IN MN THIS YEAR I DID ALRIGHT AFTER A BAD LAST YEAR! DONT KNOY ABOUT THE PROSPECTS FOR THIS NEXT SEASON THOUGH, LOOKS AS THOUGH IT MAY NOT BE TO GOOD... NO SNOW COVER, TOO COLD, LOTS OF PREDATORS TOO! ANY OTHER THOUGHTS?
Face, 4 years ago I tried ruffies north of Brainerd MN. Had never hunted them before, had 5 flushs in a forenoon. No shots. Didn't know what to expect. If I ever hunted them in MN again, I look for an area that had more evergreens, maybe they would hold better. It was 38 below that morning and knee deep snow, but perfectly still. Too quiet. Is it better farther north?
Dick: I have found that the habitat just isn't what it used to be. A friend that I hunt with has told me that since logging has pretty much stopped(environmentalist?) the young growth that you would find large numbers of grouse just do not exist anymore. I end up hunting the north shore snowmobile trail between Duluth, MN and Two Harbors,MN with much success. Otherwise I hunt the southeastern bluff country around rushford and houston,mn.the southeast means an awful lot of hill climbing that can quickly exhaust a person if not in shape.
Face, thanks for the tip! I stayed at a resort that catered to snowmobilers. The owner was a great guy, (not an outfitter), and asked me to come back to hunt with he and his son in another spot farther north. I thought that was really nice. Just haven't made it though. Did you ever run into woodcock? I heard about a couple spots here in ND.
Dick, I always run into woodcock during the MN pheasant opener at a pheasants forever public hunting area near Dodge Center,MN the habitat is perfect for the little buggers when they migrate through. The problem is these little buggers are a pain in the @## to get because of their erratic flight, but it sure is fun trying
There is excellent ruffy hunting up north in MN. I haven't hunted up there for 10 years or so. The cycle is way down. They should start on the up swing again here pretty soon. Once that happens I should take you up to our old stomping grounds and show you "Gods Country".
Sorry for the late reply! I cannot remember exactly but I think the woodcock come through early to mid october. I know I've gone to the SE MN bluff country the weekend before MN's pheasant opener to hunt woodcock and have usually run into them and if not there are grouse to chase also. But I have found that the moisture level of the forest where I hunt them makes a huge difference as to when they move through, temp also. But I alway have ran into an abundance of them on the land I hunt on pheasant opener, just can't alway get a clean crack at the little SOBs :evil: Perfect conditions for them every year! Always run into snipe and rail during opening duck season and then for about three weeks is all, then chase them around Iowa when duck hunting there.
Mn grouse numbers appear to be on the rise. during trout fishing in the southeast the drumming was non stop! According to the Mn dnr website the drum counts showed some improvements throughout the state. Sounds like good news for those who like to chase down the ruffies here in Mn! :lol:
Face, our paper reported the same today for the Turttle Mtns. A huge % increase, but the population bottomed in 2002, so numbers small yet. I always wondered if they crash nation-wide at the same time? Our sharptails are really up in numbers this year so I'll be chaseing them instead once again. Before I get too darn old I am going to try ruffies though.
Dick the cycle crashes west to east about one year apart Mn then wisconsin and the Michigan UP then on to the east coast Vermont, New hampshire, and finally in Maine. A bad year in MN is a good year in the vermont/ New Hampsire range. The Western Michigan UP is always a great place to hunt cheap and lots of birds and lots of public land. There are some concerns about the populations of woodcock so I've been letting them fly the last couple of years I take only 5 each year. I think its mostly a habitat issue on the east coast development everywhere. There is fantastic woodcock hunting in Lousianna after all the seasons close everywhere else. I've had 100 + points per day.
Moved here last year from the Easter Upper Penninsula of Michigan. Fifteen minutes from my house was the motherlode of woodcock. My Gordon setter averaged nearly ten birds and hour during the first month of the season....local birds.
Three weeks ago I was at my archery club in West Fargo with the dog. On the 3-D course Sage locked up. I told her there were no birds around; so what did she do? She flushed a woodcock!!!
Just returned sunday from a week long trip to Marquette county in the MI Upper Penninsula. Grouse flushes were down quite a bit from last year. The weather did not help much as it was hot and very windy. Looks as if the cycle has finally hit the bottom and hopefully will be climbing starting next year. We pretty much missed the woodcock flight as there was 4 inches of snow a week or so before we got there. We were only getting about 5-10 points/flushes on woodcock and 10-18 points/flushes on grouse per day hunting hard 6-7 hours in good cover, with a brace of decent dogs.
All in all it beat a weeks worth of work, not a real expensive hunt. not a lot of hunting pressure and the locals are great. Will be in ND this saturday for my first trip to your great state. Hope the hunting will be a bit better then my MI trip.
Ruffed Grouse hunting in Minnesota (at least for this guy) has been consistently good this fall. Have been averaging between 2 and 3 grouse per hunt (half days) plus a bonus woodcock or two per day. Typical flush count has been 8 to 16 birds in about 3 - 4 hours of walking.
Numbers of birds seen/heard are certainly less than '97 - '99, but the ruffies appear to have had a good nesting season (shooting mostly young birds this year).
One advantage that many on this site can relate to :
When the population is near the low side, the number of hunters decreases. Little hunting pressure - guess everyone is in the Dakotas hunting waterfowl and pheasants. :wink:
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