Northwoods 2016

Discussion in 'Small Game Hunting' started by Happy Camper, Aug 30, 2016.

  1. grouseguy

    grouseguy 12 pointer

    Got the trailer nearly packed and ready to hook up and point north early Saturday thru the 29th. Should be a busy, but very fun trip. Looking forward to some Northwoods sanity maintenance.
     
    JonDunn and Happy Camper like this.
  2. grouseguy

    grouseguy 12 pointer

    Jake also said it's very wet and leafy. He can't take clients in to the thick stuff and is mainly hunting trails. He's flushing a lot of young birds, but mostly singles.

    Kind of a strange pattern year, but there seems to be birds.
     
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  3. jarrodcombs

    jarrodcombs 6 pointer

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    Feb 23, 2007
    salvisa ky
    Getting awesome reports guys. I have 5 of the longest days ever to wait till its my turn. 40 to 50 flush days is what I'm hearing from some of the guys there now.
     
  4. JonDunn

    JonDunn 10 pointer

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    Dec 26, 2005
    Up the holler
    Deadbeat is suppose to give me a report tonight. I'll report in when I hear from him. Today was his first day.
     
  5. KY Grouse Hunter

    KY Grouse Hunter 6 pointer

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    Nov 2, 2007
    Southeastern Kentucky
    Just got back. Had a 17 flush day and 10 a day the rest of the week. 70 degrees everyday with the leaves way way way behind schedule. No sign of young birds. Locals say their 15" rainfall bout got them. Who knows.
     
  6. JonDunn

    JonDunn 10 pointer

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    Dec 26, 2005
    Up the holler
    I've not heard from Deadbeat except for 1 static ridden phone call. Couldn't make heads or tails from him. I did speak with a local logger on the phone yesterday and was told you wouldn't have no problem finding birds this year.
     
  7. KY Grouse Hunter

    KY Grouse Hunter 6 pointer

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    Nov 2, 2007
    Southeastern Kentucky
    I've spoke with two other KY hunters who just got back (with one up there now) who had the same results as I did.
     
  8. grouseguy

    grouseguy 12 pointer

    I went out for a couple of hours this morning with my 2 year old. Flew 9 grouse and 5 woodcock. She was just running the 1st 45 min, but then calmed down and stuck a grouse and 2 wc, and I killed 2 grouse. Didn't get a shot at either pointed wc. She needs feathers ... hopefully she'll find plenty in the next 3 weeks.

    I'm in Park Falls this afternoon with grousegal picking out a new mattress set for the cabin.

    Gonna try and get out for the last hour of hunting time.
     
  9. PCoGrousehunter

    PCoGrousehunter Spike

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    Jan 21, 2008
    Butler Kentucky

    Grouseguy: Is it really wet in southern Price? Will we need to wear our rubber boots?
     
  10. grouseguy

    grouseguy 12 pointer

    It is a normal water level year, which means it's "wet".

    I'm sitting out a shower right now and will be wearing rubber boots this afternoon.

    I hunted in leather boots yesterday, but after this rain and what's predicted tomorrow, it'll likely be rubber the next few days.
     
  11. Bee

    Bee 10 pointer

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    Mar 14, 2005
    This is NOT the Chamber of Commerce report. Just returned from five days of hard hunting in northern Minnesota. Compared to other northwoods trips In Mich, Min< Wisc , and Canada I was very disappointed in bird numbers.

    Some local guys said it was the lowest they had ever seen. At the motel and cafe the reports were dismal to say the least, with veteran hunters seeing very few birds. And despite the poor bird numbers the pressure from hunters in public ground rivaled the highest I have ever seen anywhere. A lot of road hunting and four wheeler hunters--more than I have seen anywhere.

    The northern tier of Minnesota and UP and Wisc had record rains in hatch time. We saw one young bird out of few we harvested. With good dogs and two of us who have killed truckloads of appalachian birds for five decades each we may have killed an average of one grouse a day/man for the trip. Those are days in the woods of 8 hours/ ten miles +- in a bunch of different courts and types of cover. . Cover is heavy from the rains, with ground fern and grass very high and there has been no killing frost till one day while we were there. Leaves are down for the most part but birds just not there==due to hatch time torrential flooding and rains. I should also say that the birds were far more skittish than prior years, clearly because the bulk of them are adult birds and the young dumb ones perished in the summer flooding. I have experienced late season birds running from hunters and pointed dogs many times in the northwoods, but this year was even worse, especially considering how early in the season it is now. The enormous public ground pressure has made the older birds even wilder.

    Another report: An excellent grouse hunter friend went the last few days to UP in areas he has hunted for 25 years. He left after two days on the ground. Saw three birds in two days. Trapper friend of his there in UP who is a superb woodsman told my friend that he had been on 80 miles of 4 wheeler trails in two days and never saw a grouse on the trials, Folks--it is bad.

    Perhaps further south in northwoods the rains did not affect hatch but up north is is worst I have ever seen on any prior trip since 1973. Not trying to rain on your parade but just two actual factual reports from two prime grouse areas . And yes, I do understand that any days with some grouse contacts may beat what we have left down here, but check your sources and I hope you have better bird finding trips than we did in the last week if you plan to go. I would say a good snow and a week f cold weather might help get the cover down.

    edit to say that the leaves in northern Wisc along Hwy 53 are still on and most;y completely green from Duluth south if that gives you any more info you might need.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2016
  12. KY Grouse Hunter

    KY Grouse Hunter 6 pointer

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    Nov 2, 2007
    Southeastern Kentucky
    Exactly the results I have found and three other groups within our network have reported. Of the birds we harvested, none were juveniles. The birds that were found were in small pockets, very skidish, and were either found near water (considering the heat) or on high ground I assume to escape the flooding. If your hunting private areas then you may or may not experience this but I would venture to say that anyone hitting public forest will find very similar results based on the feed back I'm getting.

    BTW, if your in for a laugh, ask any forest or wildlife official in WI how their KY Elk re-plant resulted. Very interesting.
     
  13. Bee

    Bee 10 pointer

    1,520
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    Mar 14, 2005
    Tempering my comments above a bit to say that if you are out of the flooding rain areas you may be in a whole different world of birds...bottom line is that if you have options for where you go check out the rain in early summer to see where you might want to go if you have an option.
     
  14. grouseguy

    grouseguy 12 pointer

    Just got in, showered and sit down with a bourbon. Heavy rain last night and this morning ... didn't start hunting until 10:30. Flew 23 grouse and 15 woodcock in 5 1/2 hunting hours at 2 places in Sawyer Co. Wet, but birds were holding much better after the rain.
     
  15. Deadbeat

    Deadbeat 6 pointer

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    Feb 4, 2008
    Frenchburg
    Got back from my trip yesterday. I hunted 10/8 - 10/12 with my father and I have to say it is the least amount of grouse we had seen in the years we have been there (1998 - present). We walked more this year than the previous years and hunted more areas just trying to find birds. Jon put me on one spot that had a few and I found a couple of the old spots I hunted that had a few, but overall there were slim pickings. I did notice that I seen more turkey than any other year as well. Our first two days we put up a little over 20 birds each day, mostly singles. The last 3 days we put up anywhere from 12 - 15 a day. There were no young birds sitting by the road or running across to be seen driving between hunts. I would guess we seen only around 6 or 8 on the road the whole 5 days of hunting. I will say that I seen more clover than any other year I have been there and don't recall flushing any grouse down the roads with clover. I believe it is possible that the grouse may still be in the maples because there are leaves and are going to be for atleast the next week, maybe even a few days longer. Not sure, but this was my experience this year.
     

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