North to the Northwoods!

Discussion in 'Small Game Hunting' started by JonDunn, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. grouseguy

    grouseguy 12 pointer

    Just got back in KY last night. The past 6 days have been the week from HELL!!! On top of a terrible wind storm that provided a ton of "horizontal" timber and a 24 hour power outage Tuesday into Wednesday ... I got to spend most of this time flat of my back and finally in the Park Falls hospital with a case of anaplasmosis (a tick borne illness similar to Lyme Disease) ... did I mention how much I HATE deer ticks???

    Anyway, once diagnosed, the recovery is pretty quick once the antibiotics kicked in, and I feel almost back to normal now.

    From talking to my partner, after the storms passed through, the moisture really helped to woods and scenting conditions and the grouse hunting has finally picked up and became consistent, so if any of you guys are still considering going north ... you just may have lucked into the best hunting of the season.
  2. bone hunter 74

    bone hunter 74 Spike

    Apr 26, 2009
    Just got back fri. from the Up plenty birds 30 plus up the first day and my setter pointed great.Weather kicked our tails middle of the week.The count is not what it was past two yrs but plenty of birds to hunt no berries any where so they are on the edges of the swamps ,eating the long looking pine cones not sure the name.
  3. GSP

    GSP 14 Pointer Staff Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Pretty sad. Killin a poor ole grouse while shooting a popple tree. Me and Ribsplitter were hunting together in the UP 4-5 years ago and I was able to cut down 3 popples emptying an auto in one stance, all without putting nary a scratch on the grouse that flew though the holes I seemed to open.
    I will give you credit, you cut down a larger tree than the ones I shot. Mine were not the wall hanging caliber you went for.

    Now be careful out there, we got trees every where for you to shoot. Make dern certain there ain't no grouse flying behind them!
  4. KY Grouse Hunter

    KY Grouse Hunter 6 pointer

    Nov 2, 2007
    Southeastern Kentucky
    Im living in Ireland right now working in the thoroughbred industry but I sent me dogs with my dad to Wisconsin this year and I'm afraid they got pretty much the same results that grouseguy was talking about. What days they did get to hunt the scenting was good, dogs worked well and managed to nail down some but the birds were hemmed up in pines and didn't cooperate at all. Not afraid to admit it all but it was a terrible year for my camp. Hopefully next year is 360 turnaround.
  5. jarrodcombs

    jarrodcombs 6 pointer

    Feb 23, 2007
    salvisa ky
    The reports from park falls are excellent if anyone is still thinking about heading north. All of the swamp birds have finally come out to shootable cover after all the crowds of people, rain, and the 60-70 degree days all left. I have some friends who live there that are trying to get me to come back up.
  6. grousec

    grousec 6 pointer

    Jan 15, 2009
    mt sterling ky
    Left for Wisconsin on Oct 19th found unseasonabily warm days and high wind first day. Heavy rain all day Saturday and Sunday, great day Monday and extreme wind forcasted for Tuesday- Thursday. So we cut the trip short left early-early-early Tuesday 26th.
    My worst trip ever simply because of the weather. However I took three young dogs that had never pointed a grouse and they all did better than I expected I shot birds over all of them. Two I believe have found a permanent place in my kennel. One I will sell simply because I don't need two full littermates. So glad I went, wish I had went later now probably would be a great time to be up there.
  7. grouseguy

    grouseguy 12 pointer


    I thought I would share one of my northwoods experiences from this season that is outside of most of our financial frame of reference.

    On my first day (Sunday, October 10th) of guiding this year, I took a couple of out of shape Wall Street executives (that claimed they wanted to "go") that booked 4 days of guiding with different guides each day ... nothing particularly special so far. It was a sunny day that reached the mid 70's and since it was my first day out, I took them to one of my consistently best producing covers, which is a moderately difficult hunt that takes 2.5 to 3 hours to hunt, with the last 1.5 hours being following a tag alder swamp/mature timber edge back to where the truck was parked.

    The unusual part is that one of the clients had commissioned a portrait to be painted of him in a northwoods upland setting, and to that end, had flown in his portrait artist to follow him through the woods and take photos as reference material for all four days. The artist is very acclaimed, was very personable and I really enjoyed our time afield. You can check out his work at this website:

    The clients were getting good looks at several grouse and woodcock, but were "struggling" with their shooting, but did manage to bag a woodcock apiece. The artist took the following photos of "Junior" during this portion of the hunt and recently forwarded them to me:



    By 11:00am that morning one of the clients was showing bad signs of overheating and we decided to head back to the truck. It took some time, taking many breaks, but we got him back to the truck and rehydrated him with plenty of water and gatorade and decided to break for lunch.

    After lunch the clients decided to call it a day, but the artist asked if he could trade his camera for a shotgun and if I would take him out for an hour or so that afternoon, which we did. Now the clients may have been out of shape and less than great shots, but the artist was just the opposite. He could keep up with the dogs and in about an hour he had bagged a woodcock and two grouse over solid points with only 3 shells being fired. We have kept in touch and he has developed into a new, very interesting cyber-acqaintance.

    If you like sporting art, take some time to look around his web page and imagine a life of travelling to and experiencing all of these special places, and then being able to transfer those images onto canvas. Personally ... not many people really IMPRESS me, but this man surely does.

  8. Birdman

    Birdman Cyber-Hunter

    Feb 26, 2002
    Paintsville, KY, USA.
    Sounds to me like, this guy is sharpe at both ends. Great work. Your a lucky man to have encountered an individual with talent at this level and sounds like his work is his life.
  9. BirdBuster

    BirdBuster 6 pointer

    Apr 4, 2010
    Great looking photos of a great looking setter.
  10. grouseguy

    grouseguy 12 pointer


    Yes, it was indeed one of those rare experiences we run across every now and then. Admittedly, Mr. Corbin's sporting heritage and elevated socio-economic status runs generations deep, but unlike "most" of those I've met that fall within either of these categories, he is a "genuine" person that just happens to possess a true talent and was a pure pleasure to spend a day with doing what we both enjoy. Not only is there the obvious artistic talent, but he also has a keen eye and appreciation for dogs and upland birds, plus knows how to swing the business end of a shotgun. He shared a wide variety of GREAT stories about exceptional locations and experiences, but did it in a very humble and unassuming manner. He was a truly accomplished sporting gentleman, and you know me well enough to understand that I don't offer up that type of praise without it being well "earned".


    Thank You. I take a lot of pride in my dogs, and compliments from other "dog men" are valued much more than others.

    Junior is still in the northwoods, helping my partner, who runs a 2.5 year old son of his, finish out the month's guiding duties, while I had to return to the Monday-Friday real world.
  11. grousegal

    grousegal 6 pointer

    May 9, 2008
    Grayson, KY

    What grouseguy hasn't talked about yet is the progression of the baby of our kennel, Max, who also happens to be MY dog!! :) He is now 15 months old, and did quite well on his first trip up North. Maybe when gg gets more time, he can do a little boasting for me, and relay some of his finer moments. Unfortunately, I was unable to go hunting this year, due to time constraints and company at our house for the first leg of the trip, and other, more pressing issues on the last leg. But I always enjoy going to WI, whether I'm hunting, shopping, or just enjoying a good book with a glass of wine and looking at the lake. Beats the heck out of working for corporate America, which is what I have done for over 22 years!!
  12. Bee

    Bee 10 pointer

    Mar 14, 2005
    Corbin is quite an accomplished artist, and I have some of his etchings myself. Sounds like fun.
  13. grouseguy

    grouseguy 12 pointer

    Just to clarify and expand on grouegal's post ... some of you may be wondering why we are posting on the same thread ... I am out of town in the 5th day of an 8 day business conference and this is one way we keep in contact in addition to more traditional means, so please indulge us a bit.

    grousegal has a right to be proud and refer to Max as "her" dog. Some of you may remember a much anticipated litter we had last July, that turned out to be a litter of only one pup, which is now known as Max. Right after whelping, the dam developed an intestinal blockage and combined with the lack of stimulation from a larger litter, she quit producing milk. At 5 days old, he was cold and not nursing ... after a trip to the vet, the blockage was diagnosed and treated, but it would be several days before milk production would resume. The vet told us that if the pup was to survive, we would have to bottle feed every 2-3 hours until the dam came to her milk. grousegal took on the responsibility by herself and bottle fed that pup round the clock every 2-3 hours for the next 5 days, so her attachment to the pup was well earned and deserved.

    Fast forward to this season ... I had decided to go "old school" with Max and start him solely on wild birds ... as I knew I was spending 5-6 weeks in the northwoods and would have a lot of opportunities to put him on plenty of wild birds. Training leading up to going north consisted of a lot of socialization along with normal obedience yard work, but no training on pen raised birds. His first bird contact was a grouse that he ran right through without ever realizing it was there until it blew out right in front of him. Surprisingly, that encounter startled him to the point that some instinctual "cautiousness" surfaced and from then on he has been much more aware of what is happening around him. While I can't describe him as "honoring" the other dogs points at this point, from that first contact, he started "paying attention" to the other dogs, when a hawk scream would go off, and just watch and learn from what was happening. Soon, he pointed a woodcock on his own ... then one day, he came across that young, dumb grouse that held tight as his body instinctually tightened up ... the bird flushed perfectly and my partner folded it cleanly within Max's sight and he went straight to it and brought it back, although he didn't want to give up "his" bird.

    After that, each day the light bulb got a little brighter and after 6 weeks, he had pointed a couple dozen woodcock and a half dozen or more grouse, was mostly honoring his kennelmates on sight, and had developed a real enthusiasm for hunting dead and retrieving. In fact, he had progressed enough to where we felt comfortable taking him out with clients. Now don't think I'm blind ... he also bumped several birds in the process and "crunched" numerous dead birds and had various episodes of hardheadedness, but overall I left WI VERY happy with his progress. He has a lot to learn and experience, and his overall performance will have to get more consistent before he can be described as a "bird dog", but grousegal has a right to be proud of the pup she kept alive, when that fragile fact was very much in question.

    Thanks for reading and allowing me to relay the early story of "grousegal's dog" Max.
  14. grousegal

    grousegal 6 pointer

    May 9, 2008
    Grayson, KY
    I'm sitting in the Charlotte airport with a tear in my eye after reading this! Thanks, gg!! Love you!! BTW--for all of you UK fans out there, I'm wearing my UK2K shirt with my UK duffel bag and UK pull along suitcase getting MANY dirty looks along the way here in Tar Hole land.
  15. predator

    predator 12 pointer

    Nov 23, 2006
    Leitchfield, Ky.
    Good luck with the young dog and good luck in Charlotte, been there, done that!! Great story GrouseGuy, we are about the same age, let me know sometime how you are able to take off so much time to guide as I have the opportunity to maybe do a little waterfowl guiding myself, but business interests at this time prevents it.

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