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So Far: Grouse Season

With our local grouse numbers being on a downturn in the cycle last fall, after two outings and not a flush I gave up on them at least around home. Over an hour's drive from the house it was on the third bird hunt in early November that turned me back on to the fun that is ruffed grouse hunting. The exercise, fresh air and heart attack flushes along with lots of shooting when you’re in a good zone left me with intentions to do more of it when the season opened again in 2021.

A brace of ruffed grouse, not bad for the first day of the season with a new shotgun.

Determined to not make the same mistake of waiting until November to bird hunt in a good area, my first day off after the opener had me boogying northwest with a friend who plans on getting his license and wanted to tag along on a hunt. As soon as we started climbing up what constitutes a road, a bird ran across in front of the vehicle and before we arrived at our destination we spotted several more. Needless to say I was stoked. Being it was early September the vegetation was still on and the shooting was tough, but the day ended with a couple grouse in the bag and I think Mitch came away with a favourable impression of what the hunting life can be.

A single bird can feel like a great achievement after a dry spell in the grouse woods.

To date the grouse season has been fantastic, lots of shooting, a few delicious meals and a few partridge still in the freezer. There’s been a mix of weather, sunny, overcast and even days of hunting in the rain, I’ve experienced the sensation of walking with a full game vest and a few days of not seeing a bird. The skunks came in time to keep me humbled and honest just when I was starting to think I had the area figured out, as well as making me appreciate the next birds that came to hand even more. While it’s not done by any means the season is winding down, having to drive at least an hour to get out when the deer are just starting to rut locally is hard to do. Now if I can just put some venison in the freezer I’ll have time to get the over/under out for another walk in the grouse woods.

See you on the water or the mountains.

-Matthew Mallory

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