A great grouse weekend

As a kid, I was very lucky that my dad introduced me to hunting at a young age because since I was old enough to get my hunting licence, this activity always has been something I look forward to each fall.
Those early memories are all about hunting grouse on the dirt roads and old logging trails around the Kenora area.
He used to take my brother and sister and I, along with any of our neighborhood friends who wanted to come along. He taught us to follow the laws and that gun safety always was the most important thing.
Ruffed Grouse, also known as partridge or “chickens” across Northwestern Ontario, are one of my favourite things on the planet to eat. When you consider all of the things that store-bought chicken goes through before it hits the store shelf, grouse are a pretty great, natural alternative.
This past weekend, my wife and I, along with three of our friends, rented a cabin from Walsten Outposts, north of Kenora, and we spent the weekend grouse hunting.
Despite some high winds on Sunday, the hunting was phenomenal and we all had a great time, ate well, and enjoyed a couple of days without cellphone service.
Our strategy was to cover ground on ATVs on many of the old logging trails in the area that we were hunting. Some of the trails were getting pretty grown in and on some of those we walked.
But it was fun hunting—with plenty of action.
Although we had decent action during the day, the last couple of hours before sunset was when things really picked up and these birds seemed to be everywhere.
We all stuck together each day, which made for some fun stops at any of the small creeks or rapids that we found. When somebody missed a bird, there was plenty of heckling that went on and cheers for a good wing shot.
Grouse are really good cooked about any way you can think of, but our favourite is to simply batter them in flour, egg, and corn flake crumbs and cook them in butter. We like to dip them in honey dill sauce and they are so good!
The meat is tender and has a much better taste than chicken from the store does. They are great in a stew, wrapped in bacon, or on the barbecue.
Although our deer and moose populations are in tough shape right now, the grouse population seems to be excellent this year across most of the region. The hunting really picked up over the past week or so since most of the leaves finally hit the ground.
Many of the birds we got over the weekend we actually heard them walking on the dry leaves before we could see them. And hunting should remain good until the snow flies.
It was our second year getting out of town for the weekend to chase grouse around, and we decided since we had so much fun that we are going to make it an annual tradition.
These types of traditions are what makes hunting fun for many of us. We look forward to visiting our favourite spots year after year and sharing the experiences with our friends.
I can’t wait to go again next year!