Northwood grouse trips

Discussion in 'Small Game Hunting' started by jarrodcombs, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. Deadbeat

    Deadbeat 6 pointer

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    Feb 4, 2008
    Frenchburg
    I'll be leaving on the 18th of October.
     
  2. gman47

    gman47 Fawn

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    Jul 15, 2014
    I have two friends hunting in Park Falls and the early report is not good at all. Not seeing any birds anywhere. Four bear hunters have seen only one bird in two weeks! I have a friend that lives in Glidden and the early report of a good hatch wasn't confirmed them. They were seeing fewer birds and it seems to have been true. I know it's early and the weather is warm but would have thought more birds would have been seen.
     
  3. jarrodcombs

    jarrodcombs 6 pointer

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    Feb 23, 2007
    salvisa ky
    I have a friend in that area who is giving much better reports. Birds are still in groups tho. When you find them you find a bunch
     
  4. PCoGrousehunter

    PCoGrousehunter Spike

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    Jan 21, 2008
    Butler Kentucky
    Grouseguy, what have you heard?
     
  5. grouseguy

    grouseguy 12 pointer

    It's been hot and dry ... temps in the 80's. I have two buddies in Tomahawk right now and they aren't seeing anything.

    I talked to them this morning and told them to find a running stream and hunt it the last two hours of daylight ... go up one side for an hour and then back down the other. If birds aren't by the running water, then you're looking at humping it out into the tag swamps ... NOT a fun time in 80 degree heat.

    However, the weather calls for rain Thursday and Friday temps in the 60's for a few days, which should help out some. My partner is still finishing up bear clients and hasn't been grouse hunting yet.

    I'm starting to get prepared and planning on being up north from October 10-31 ... anyone planning on being in the Phillips area during that time?
     
  6. agr_hunter

    agr_hunter 6 pointer

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    Nov 30, 2005
    Over the Hill
    Thank you for the feedback.
     
  7. gman47

    gman47 Fawn

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    Jul 15, 2014
    Will be hunting around Phillips and Park Falls starting Oct 15. If things aren't good maybe I'll go to UP.
     
  8. grouseguy

    grouseguy 12 pointer

    I'll give you guys a tip that almost no one follows. Find an area you like that has good lodging, restaurants, and access to lots of public hunting and keep going back to that same area year after year. Use the down cycle years to scout out new areas and make friends with some locals ... maybe even gain access to some private lands. You will be amazed at how much better your hunting is, even in the down years. You learn to pattern birds based on time of year, weather conditions, food sources, etc., so that no matter what the weather or population cycle ... you will be able to nearly always find plenty of birds to hunt.

    Now, I understand the appeal of hunting new places and going places you've never been before, but I save that for late season quail and pheasant trips. I prefer grouse hunting above all other outdoor pursuits and for the most part, I settled on the area around Phillips 25 years ago. I put in the time and effort to learn how to grouse hunting "up north" with pointing dogs ... 25 years ago, the locals road hunted and/or followed a lab along a road edge ... they thought we were crazy for actually getting in the thick stuff and shooting at the birds AFTER they flushed. I remember one old timer tell me "Hell, if you let'em fly, they get away". I also spent a lot of time on basic northern woodsmanship skills to navigate myself through things I knew nothing about like tag swamps, tamarack bogs, beaver ponds, slash, popple thickets, etc. and find my way back to the truck. I've had to learn to deal with porcupines, wolf sets, bear baits, beaver stobs, etc. that cause injuries and not let them completely ruin my trip. All of those things taught me how to be a better northern grouse hunter by learning my northern hunting areas as well as I knew my hunting places in eastern KY.

    I also hear a lot of complaints of over crowding by other southern hunters. The area I hunt is one of the most popular destinations for southern bird hunters, but by following the plan above, I rarely encounter another hunter while hunting or find a truck sitting where I'd planned to hunt. It happens, but rarely.

    Anyway, like I said, most southern hunters like the travel aspect or bragging about how many they killed, so they bounce around following the bird reports from one area to another, and that's fine, too.
     
  9. JonDunn

    JonDunn 10 pointer

    1,728
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    Dec 26, 2005
    Up the holler
    You are spot on Mark. Well said.
     
  10. jarrodcombs

    jarrodcombs 6 pointer

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    Feb 23, 2007
    salvisa ky
    I've been hunting the same general area in wisconsin and in michigan for the past 20+ years. I've had decent luck finding private in wisconsin but michigan is a different story. A bottle of brown water and a country ham go a long way in wisconsin
     
  11. grouseguy

    grouseguy 12 pointer

    Exactly ... I've found clear liquid in Mason jars is excellent currency for landowners, loggers, bear houndsmen, etc.
     
  12. ribsplitter

    ribsplitter Cyber-Hunter

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    Jan 19, 2004
    Greenup, ky, USA.
    I always find it funny how much ky charges for.nonresident hunting liscence . You go up north where there is actually game to hunt and you can buy 3 years for the price of one in this sorry place. I feel sorry for.people who.havent experienced hunting the north lands but on the other hand sometimes I wish I didnt know what a sorry state I lived in for hunting and fishing . But hey we got elk lol
     
  13. grouseguy

    grouseguy 12 pointer

    Oh, I hear you. I had the same experience about 10 years ago ... it seemed every place I planned to hunt that day, there was already a truck, or two, already parked there. However, it was about that time that 2 things happened.

    I realized that most all of the out of state hunters, hunted the same areas. You would see a truck from KY parked at a trail in the morning and when you came back by in the afternoon, a truck from VA was parked there now. It was almost like they all signed up for the same "Here's Where to Hunt Up North" newsletter. The flip side of that is that those places that they didn't hunt, weren't hunted at all. So I started finding new places, where the southern hunters weren't ... usually where the hunting didn't look that great from the road and you could park your truck where it wasn't seen from the road and mostly my problems were solved.

    That is also about the time I made friends with a local outdoor fanatic that had only hunted grouse with a lab. By showing him how grouse are truly meant to be hunted with pointing dogs ... you flusher guys can flame all you want ... we helped each other out. I gave him a pup and taught him how to handle a pointing dog and he showed me just how little I new about northwoods woodsmanship. His woodsmanship helped me to navigate through unfamiliar country and hunt more cross country ... where we often took two trucks and hunted from one truck to where the other was parked completely getting away from the trail systems and hitting places that other southern hunters didn't even know existed.

    Anyway, it all worked out for you as you seem to have found a place that just suits your personality and the way your group prefers to hunt. I, on the other hand, usually have grousegal with me and through this original friend, we actually have a larger social circle in Phillips, than Grayson and we really enjoy the social aspect of meeting for dinner, going to each others places for cookouts, watching the Packer games, etc.

    It's all good ... we've both found our own sweet spots.
     
  14. grouseguy

    grouseguy 12 pointer

    I had some advantages. grousegal's Dad was a bird hunter, so even though he passed away when she was young, she grew up seeing a man bird hunting as perfectly normal.
    Then when we got married in '95, she wanted to see what WI was all about, since I'd talked about "up north" so much. She got to loving the dogs, especially after traveling with them ... plus she used to be an athlete with good hand/eye coordination ... so the hunting part came naturally.
    I also try to keep it easy and fun when she goes with me. I'm not going to take her through a tag swamp to get to a secret poppies/spruce thicket. We usually go on trail based hunts, where she can walk a nice trail and I'll parallel her 50-100 yards in working the dogs between us. I also try to pick scenic trails with plenty of photo ops, cool resting spots, pretty views, etc.
    Also, maybe run by her just taking a camera ... you can never have too many hunting or dog pics.
     
  15. JonDunn

    JonDunn 10 pointer

    1,728
    186
    Dec 26, 2005
    Up the holler
    Not a thing in the world wrong with that. Mine has went 2 times with me. Thought we got into birds and she seen several points, she hasn't gone back with me in 3 years. I kind of like the peace I get by myself anyhow though. Just a guy and his dogs. All worries and troubles in the world are gone for that amount of time.
     

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