By November, the vibrancy of fall has been stripped bare, and the clear cuts leave little to the imagination.
Winter grouse are a hunter’s paradox. Birds that have run the season’s gauntlet are proven survivors, and some argue they’ve earned their reprieve. Others insist that a percentage will be lost through attrition anyway, so why let the goshawks and owls reap the benefits? As usual, the answer likely lies somewhere in the middle, and culling a bird or two probably doesn’t hurt populations in the end.
Walking amid the leafless aspens once had me pondering the notion of winter grouse limits. What qualifies as enough? Legality? Morality? Neither? Both? One thing’s certain: Bird hunting looks different now than it did when Burton Spiller and Corey Ford tramped the uplands years ago.
Today, a measure of “voluntary restraint” goes a long way. At times, conscientious hunters intentionally stop short of a limit, even when they could tag out. After all, bulging game bags hardly justify an afternoon afield. Savoring a hard-won game bird, smoothing its feathers and reveling in superior dog work lie at the soul of the upland experience, and quality trumps quantity every time.
Take woodcock, for example. When the flights arrive, shooting a trio of birds can be quick and easy. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Unlike their long-billed brethren, however, ruffed grouse rank among the toughest game birds to harvest, and bag limits are often laughable. In some states, like Michigan, hunters are legally allowed as many as five ruffed grouse per day. Five. And they say fly fishermen are optimists … Truth is, killing even a single grouse on the wing demands straight shooting, staunch dog work and no shortage of luck – even for veteran hunters.
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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
Trump’s GOP support is strong. But mainstream Republicans worry HIS FOCUS ON “THE STEAL” could hurt the party in the midterms—and 2024
“PETOSKEY STONE” Michigan's State Stone
WINTER WELLNESS: 5 TIPS FOR PROTECTING YOUR Gut and Brain Health THIS NEW YEAR
This new year may look socially different than years past, and considering the added stress, limited sleep and typical holiday overindulgence most of us experienced last month, it’s even more necessary than usual to let our bodies recover and regenerate in this post-holiday season.
A Teacher's Lifesaving Call
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Julia Koch began what was only her second year as a first-grade teacher in a virtual classroom at Edgewood Elementary School in Muskegon Heights, Michigan. One September afternoon a few weeks into the school year, she received a call from Cynthia Phillips, who was having technical difficulties with her granddaughter’s tools for online learning.
STATE POLICE DROPS PHONE APP THAT MAKES TEXTS DISAPPEAR
The Michigan State Police told officers to remove a phone app that keeps no record of outgoing text messages, a newspaper reported this week.
WHAT’S NEXT? THESE SEVEN TRAILBLAZERS ARE HELPING DEFINE THE FUTURE OF SPIRITUALITY.
Please note, as these dates approach, some events may be modified, postponed or canceled to protect the safety of both event organizers and attendees. Check online or call ahead to confirm details. Throughout the year, visit MyNorth.com/Events for current community happenings.
Discovering the Splendor of SLAG
A pile of slag remaining from copper smelting operations of 1930s Cottonwood, Arizona is one area of focus for Minerals Research, Inc. (MRI), the company pursuing a 15-20 year process to remove the pile using innovative recovery technology.
A DOG SLEDDING ADVENTURE THROUGH THE U.P WILDS
LUSCIOUS. LOCAL. HANDMADE CHOCOLATES.
INDULGE IN THE SWEET CREATIONS OF FIVE NORTHERN MICHIGAN CHOCOLATIERS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON.