Is this Heaven? No, Minnesota in October

By Joel Schnell

for Ruffedgrouseminnesota

Grouse week. 

What a glorious concept. Nothing to do but hunt, eat, sleep, and repeat. It’s about good friends, loyal dogs, and ruffed grouse in the coverts. Where else but Minnesota would you want to be when the woodcock moon comes around?

It all changes so fast this time of year. At the start of the week, it was a riot of colored leaves. By the end of the week, the leaves were down and snow covered. 

Don’t blink, you might miss it.

Our best hunt. 29 woodcock and 6 grouse flushed in 2 hours and change. Oh sure, there could be- should be- more grouse, but I got two of them so all’s well. Dave got a limit of woodcock, and I picked up the one I needed, to fill out myself. Those are the memories we cherish through the long winter.

We had a little bump in the road, with this thistle seed. Lodged squarely in Levi’s eye. With help from Jim, we got it out. Then I gave Levi the day off, he deserved it.

This is the road to Nirvana. Leaves off the trees, a clear, cold, blue sky, and ruffed grouse in the aspens. Sprinkle in a few woodcock dropping in overnight on their flight. Can you smell the fallen leaves? Taste the gunpowder swirling in the air? Hear the jingle of dog tags on a bird dog? 

I give a single tweet on the whistle, and they reply. It reveals where my buddies are, busting brush off to one side. 

Hunt, eat, sleep, and repeat.

Joel Schnell is publisher of Ruffed Grouse Minnesota

He can be reached on facebook messenger.

© 2021 Joel Schnell, All Rights Reserved.