Weekend adventures in the woods

Open water fishing started for me way back in January when I left home, towing my boat to Florida for the start of the Bassmaster Elite Series season. Up until last week, I never had more than a couple of week long stretches where I didn’t use my boat. I put almost 100 more hours on the motor of my boat this year than I do in a normal year, which is good I guess. Because we stayed in the U.S. for much of the year, my wife Shelby and I spent a lot more time on the water.

After my fishing commitments were completed last week it was time to hit the woods over the past weekend. I’ll still get out in the boat a few more times but I’m good with a little break from the fishing. Yes, I said I’m looking forward to a little break from fishing. I’ll probably get out one more time for bass, maybe a trip for crappie and walleye and at least one trip for musky.

Grouse hunting is one of my favourite outdoor activities. It’s social, in that we can do it with another person, we’re usually going to experience some action and I look forward to eating grouse probably more than anything else. Their tender white meat has excellent flavour and they are good any way you prepare them.

Over the weekend Shelby and I made plans with another couple to go for a ride north of Kenora and spend the day cruising some old logging roads looking for grouse. You typically don’t have to go far from Kenora to find these little wild chickens but it seems like the more remote you get, the better the hunting is. I enjoy getting away from cell phone service and spending the day in a quiet area so that is a perk as well.

Jeff Gustafson with a pair of ruffed grouse from the past the weekend. With fall here, and fishing commitments done, Gustafson took some time to switch gears and spend some time hunting.

We brought a couple of ATVs with us on this trip so we could cover a little more ground. It’s fun to ride on a good trail and we found a few good ones. We also did some walking. At this point of the season with most of the leaves on the ground, it’s a lot easier to spot birds on the ground but you would be surprised at how many you hear before you actually see them. If you’re on an ATV the whole time you miss hearing some of them for sure. A little exercise is always good as well!

Our day started off kind of slow with no bird sightings on our first trail but at around lunch time our luck started to change. We started to run into a few grouse on the trails and by late afternoon we had enough to make a nice dinner. While it was cool weather, the winds were light so it was a pleasant day to be outside. The days with little wind are always the best for grouse hunting because I think they are a lot more relaxed and active.

It looks like the weather is going to hang in there and remain decent for at least a couple more weeks so watch for those nice days and take advantage of them either in the woods or out on the water. Another long winter is coming so enjoy those nice days while we have them!