It is difficult to improve on October – the last good weather before winter coupled with the onset of the first morning frosts. Besides, it’s the peak of grouse and woodcock season. There are few better things.
For a few days of such fine things, my friend Dave Fronczak and I traveled to Minnesota. We hunted north to south through a variety of habitats and landscapes. Each day presented something new and challenging and something wonderful to see.
On the twenty-second of October, Cass County beams fall colors. Woodcock are everywhere, and Dave’s Labrador Jesse seems to find them all. We push through cover just off a county road and work our way east into a tangle of young aspens that she works methodically, quartering until she locates a scent and zeroes in on the bird. She rarely gets too far ahead of us, though a couple of times I have seen her give in to her senses and rush toward an area where there are several birds sitting in the leaves.
I can’t say I blame her. It is a sensory overload that only dogs understand. The scent of birds infuses their souls the way our dreams command our unconscious psyches. I believe dogs relive smells the way we recollect images from our lives: a first love, a place unique in memory, the transition from night to dawn. A 7-year-old golden retriever spinning dizzying circles upon entering a patch of cover where she found rooster pheasants the prior year is clearly aware of some portion of her past. Last year, in good quail country for the first time in several years, my 10-year-old English pointer lay down and cried at the distant scent of a covey – he was home.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
The birds came in a rush, like a scatterbrained phalanx of fighter jets on low-elevation maneuvers.
Make Your Adventure – and Your Dog's – Easier, Interesting and Fun
The devil is in the details” is an axiom for a reason: It’s easy to say. It’s infinitely harder to actually do.
In the Swing
The Quartering Away Shot: A “Spearing”-Type Move
Think Like a Dog, and “Shhh!”
Meemo’s Farm, a prime bird hunting destination in north-central Michigan, was the setting for dog trainer Ronnie Smith’s “Foundation Seminar,” a two-day introduction to the “Silent Command System” of dog training. Participants ranged in experience from those working with their first dogs to professional handlers/guides to veteran trainers with more than 40 years of experience.
The Check Cord
Try a Different Approach
Flushes & Noteworthy Points
Quite a Story from One Little Bird
From Flying Feathers: A Yankee's Hunting Experiences in the South
If you have youngsters coming on, let them read these tales.
Smarter persons would have stayed home in harsh conditions, but among the fanatic grousers I partnered with, no one had the temerity to stay indoors when Saturdays or Sundays were the only times many of us could head out to the woods after a week of work.
Classic Upland Guns
Baker Gun and Forging Company: Batavia Leader
Bird Dogs - Health Matters
Joint Relief Made Easy
Gaming the Gig Economy
A group of DoorDash workers are trying to set a minimum rate for deliveries
VOICES IN THE SKY
PLINI — the guy Steve Vai once called “the future of exceptional guitar playing” — discusses the perils of “guitar fame,” the challenges of a modern prog-rocker and his breathtaking new album, IMPULSE VOICES
The Foo Fighters return with a new album, Medicine At Midnight, with the low end taken care of as always by the great Nate Mendel. Has he fallen for a five‑string yet? Find out here...
INDIAN LARRY'S BLOCK PARTY - REVISITED
Born To Ride continues to look back at our relationship with Indian Larry. Here is a reprint of an article BTR published in August 2004
Nothing Goes Over His Head
Despite movie delays, Dave Bautista is bigger than ever.
Hi-Tech Lighting - Installing A LED Headlight!
All headlights are not created equal; they are available in four basic light sources: incandescent, quartz halogen, HID (high-intensity discharge) and LED (light-emitting diode). Some riders think that brighter headlights are better, when in fact it is the color temperature of the light source that gives a rider the ability to see objects at night. A whiter light gives a rider a greater depth of view at night. Incandescent and quartz halogen lights have a yellow cast and HID lights have a blue beam, while hi-output LEDs emit a true white light; their light color is the closest to sunlight’s color.
GLAMIS BLACK BAG PROJECT
Keeping Glamis clean for all to enjoy
The United States of Amazon
How the giant company has transformed the geography of wealth and power
HEAVY CLASSIC ROCK SUPERGROUP THE DEAD DAISIES ENRICH THE CROP BY BRINGING TRAPEZE, DEEP PURPLE AND BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION LEGEND GLENN HUGHES INTO THE GARDEN. HUGHES AND GUITARIST DOUG ALDRICH TAKE US ON A TOUR OF HOLY GROUND.
Scout Spotlight - SCOUTS IN THEIR OWN WORDS. THE PLAYERS. THE JOURNEY. THE STATE OF THE GAME.
Perseverance pays off for a Tigers area scout