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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Group Forum: Hunting in the BWCA
      Grouse Hunt Time     

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ChazzTheGnome
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07/26/2018 12:17PM
On our annual Fall trip i am going to bring my shotgun along and see if i can get a bird or two in the frying pan. I will have my year old lab with, this will be her first wild bird hunt - i am planning on getting her to a game farm for a trial run before this trip.

I have a good amount of bird hunting and BW experience, just not together. Looking for any tips or advice you are willing to share.

Thanks!
 
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nofish
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07/26/2018 01:33PM
I'd probably look for a trip route that takes you near a ski trail or other trail you can get on. Then walk the trail and look for birds.

You can't discharge a firearm within 150' of camp or portage so you'll need to find spots away from both that you can get out and put some miles on. The hard part is finding places open enough that allow for some visibility.
 
bposteve
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09/20/2018 08:38AM
nofish: "I'd probably look for a trip route that takes you near a ski trail or other trail you can get on. Then walk the trail and look for birds.


You can't discharge a firearm within 150' of camp or portage so you'll need to find spots away from both that you can get out and put some miles on. The hard part is finding places open enough that allow for some visibility. "


The above didn't seem quite right from my memory so I just looked it up. It's actually 150 yards from a campsite or 'occupied area'. To me that would mean a vacant portage would be ok. Walk it once with your stuff to spot a grouse and verify it's vacant, hunt it on the way back to grab your canoe.
 
nofish
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09/20/2018 10:41AM
bposteve: "nofish: "I'd probably look for a trip route that takes you near a ski trail or other trail you can get on. Then walk the trail and look for birds.



You can't discharge a firearm within 150' of camp or portage so you'll need to find spots away from both that you can get out and put some miles on. The hard part is finding places open enough that allow for some visibility. "



The above didn't seem quite right from my memory so I just looked it up. It's actually 150 yards from a campsite or 'occupied area'. To me that would mean a vacant portage would be ok. Walk it once with your stuff to spot a grouse and verify it's vacant, hunt it on the way back to grab your canoe."


Ok the rules do specifically state campsite or "occupied area". Since you can't see both ends of a portage at the same time how are you going to know that your portage has remained vacant while you're portaging your first load of gear across? Its entirely possible that a group lands behind you and will be on the portage as you're hunting on your way back.

In theory its a workable plan its just not possible to be 100% certain the portage is going to remain vacant for the duration of your walk back as you're hunting. That's why I'd try to get off the portages and find trails that are more likely to be vacant and remain vacant. Of course no matter what you can't be 100% certain, i'd just look for places where you are least likely to run into someone. On portages you also have the possibility of past groups flushing the birds, or even you or your dog flushing the bird while you're making your first trip across the portage with your gear before you can hunt it. I'd rather be somewhere that people haven't been recently.

Also if you take up your plan of hunting on the way back to your canoe make sure to have a plan for how to carry your canoe along with your shotgun in a safe manner as you head back toward your gear.
 
Zwater
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09/21/2018 02:55PM
Do you have a GPS that shows where campsites are? I use my lowrance H2O. It shows campsites. It saved my buddy and I going to angleworm in the dark. Check out the burned areas with all the new growth. Grouse love it. Good luck and send a report.
 
Pinetree
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10/04/2018 10:29PM
Well anybody went out? Been up to Longville area a couple of times and for like 40 years you usually see a lot of birds.
Have seen zero birds and there just not there anymore. Something more than the usual down cycle is happening. What I am not sure. Very poor reports I am hearing from much of the state except maybe the Northeast which I am not sure?
 
nofish
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10/05/2018 01:38PM
I'm bow hunting near Duluth and have had several grouse hanging around one of my stands. One flushed right under my ladder stand and then came back and was dive bombing me trying to get me out of the tree. I had to smack it with my hat to get it to leave me alone.

I'm seeing less overall than I have in the past on this property but still seeing ok numbers for as little of the property as I've walked. Since I'm bow hunting it I try to get in and out with minimal impact so I'm sure there are birds I'm not seeing.

 
Pinetree
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10/05/2018 02:25PM
nofish: "I'm bow hunting near Duluth and have had several grouse hanging around one of my stands. One flushed right under my ladder stand and then came back and was dive bombing me trying to get me out of the tree. I had to smack it with my hat to get it to leave me alone.


I'm seeing less overall than I have in the past on this property but still seeing ok numbers for as little of the property as I've walked. Since I'm bow hunting it I try to get in and out with minimal impact so I'm sure there are birds I'm not seeing.


"
I tried getting one with the bow in the past while deer hunting but did not connect.
 
nofish
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10/05/2018 02:30PM
Pinetree: " I tried getting one with the bow in the past while deer hunting but did not connect."

Had I swung harder I could have gotten one with my hat.

I've thought about bringing an arrow with a small game head on it for when I'm in the stand but my goal is to tag a deer so haven't wanted to tip my hand by making a lot of commotion shooting at a grouse.
 
Zwater
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10/11/2018 04:15PM
I have heard from several people in northern Mn that the decline in grouse numbers has to do with the range expansion of Turkeys. They say they eat the grouse eggs and young grouse. Don't know if this is true, but they are adamant about it. Any thoughts?
 
Pinetree
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10/11/2018 05:05PM
Zwater: "I have heard from several people in northern Mn that the decline in grouse numbers has to do with the range expansion of Turkeys. They say they eat the grouse eggs and young grouse. Don't know if this is true, but they are adamant about it. Any thoughts?"

A lot of people sat that but there is zero proof of that. Also many areas I know don't have turkeys or just a couple. Something else is happening and this started about 15 years ago on many areas.
Predators like goshawks and great horned owls are hard on them. Expansion and more of them like raccoon are big egg eaters.
Much of the area with the biggest declines like Mille lacs-Brainerd to South of Grand rapids-Longville have also seen huge declines or almost complete disappearance of snowshoe hares also. Grouse and snowshoe cycles often decline and rise at the same time.
West Nile virus I am sure is effecting them some and also mu own theory is that deer populations moved into the areas around 1992 and got abundant around 2000. I believe hare and grouse ended up carrying huge numbers of these ticks and like other ticks(a tiny tick called the rabbit tick) in a study back in the 1940's hare became anemic because loss of blood and died. This study counted like 2400 ticks on a single rabbit and like 1400 on a grouse. Also birds have been shown to get the lymne disease virus or bacteria but I don't know if it killed them or not.
Yes throw in climate change and less snow in some areas could be effecting them.
 
Zwater
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10/11/2018 11:32PM
Pinetree,
You do make some valid points.
But global warming rebuttal? Really? I just saw on channel 4 news tonight that it was a record temp of 93 degrees today in 1902. "AL Gore reaction".
 
Pinetree
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10/12/2018 08:00AM
Cimate change-less winter snow-the snowshoe hare is white a certain length of time,if you have a non -white background they are more vulnerable. Ruff grouse like to roost under the snow for warmth and to be less visible to predators. Longer summer and more warm-hot weather,thus more diseases like West Nile and more ticks. Both species are more of a northern woods bird and nationwide have decreased the most in its southern ranges. Change of climate-snow on ground time may create condition for better survival of predators.

Species stressors:
Temperature changes
Precipitation changes
Changes in winter
Development and habitat loss-human cause changes to habitat.
Drought
New predators
 
gravelroad
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10/14/2018 10:13PM
Pinetree: "Well anybody went out? Been up to Longville area a couple of times and for like 40 years you usually see a lot of birds.
Have seen zero birds and there just not there anymore. Something more than the usual down cycle is happening. What I am not sure. Very poor reports I am hearing from much of the state except maybe the Northeast which I am not sure?"


Hunted a place between Duluth and Two Harbors two weeks ago. Flushed a total of three birds in a few hours. The remains of the third one were last spotted roasting on a couple of sticks over a fire. ;-) Next time I'll remember the pepper, maybe even a marinade.

Other than that, my non-hunting sightings in the Duluth area have been pretty sporadic.

 
Pinetree
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10/15/2018 07:57AM
That sounds good,when we hunted a lot up by Isabella and camped out we always had a grouse supper. Nothing tastes better in the outdoors.
Thanks for the report.
 
gravelroad
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10/15/2018 06:38PM
nofish: "Pinetree: " I tried getting one with the bow in the past while deer hunting but did not connect."


Had I swung harder I could have gotten one with my hat.


I've thought about bringing an arrow with a small game head on it for when I'm in the stand but my goal is to tag a deer so haven't wanted to tip my hand by making a lot of commotion shooting at a grouse. "


It’s worth remembering this from the MN hunting regs:

”When no firearms/muzzleloader deer season is open, a person may not take small game unless the visible portion of at least one article of clothing above the waist is blaze orange or pink. See exceptions noted below.
• Blaze orange or pink camouflage patterns are allowed and must be at least 50 percent blaze orange or pink within each square foot.
Exceptions during a firearms/muzzleloader deer season
• Area open only to archery hunting (no firearms hunting allowed)
• Hunting migratory waterfowl while on the water or in a stationary location
• Trapping while on the water”

This is why I leave the blunts at home if I’m hunting only from a treestand. If I do have a blunt with me, there’s an orange hat or cap on my noggin.
 
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