Brute’s Bleat: September 24, 2014


Not a whole lot of fishing information has come my way the past week and I don’t have a handle on where the sunfish are this time of the year.  I did get a hot tip on walleye angling, but I was sworn to secrecy so that doesn’t help a whole lot either.  My brother, Charles, and his neighbor, Wayne, who both live on Buchanan Lake near Ottertail fished Lake of the Woods for three days out of Prothero’s Resort on the Northwest Angle last week. He said fishing wasn’t as good as they would have liked, but they caught walleyes to eat and limits to bring home so who’s to complain.  My suggestion to anglers is to get out this week while the weather is still mild. The fall lawn work will always be there tomorrow!
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The urge to try grouse hunting finally got the best of Daryl Hennen and myself last week and we made a half-day hunt Thursday to a couple of spots we were familiar with north of Motley. I was surprised to see our breakfast stop, Mr. Ed’s, in Motley closed when we went through there about 1:30 p.m.  I’m a sucker for sweet rolls and they always had trays of cinnamon and caramel rolls on the counter and I seldom got by them without including one in my breakfast order.  Anyway, the first spot we hunted with Daryl’s Brittany-Springer cross, Coco, and my English Setter, Vanna, has a groomed trail. It didn’t produce any birds until one flushed off the ground as we were nearly back to our starting point.  I heard it and Hennen saw it, but he didn’t get a shot off.  Our next spot, a designated Hunter’s Walking Trail (HWT), was near the First Crow Wing. There was plenty of clover on the trail, but we didn’t see any of those green berries the grouse seem  to like. We had four flushes off that trail which both of us heard. I didn’t see any and blamed that on the dense cover. Hennen saw one, but again, didn’t get a shot off.  I didn’t get any points on birds out of Vanna although she covered a lot of ground. Coco also pointed and would get birdie, but ruffed grouse seldom sit still, and neither dog got any flushes.  We had one deer dart across the trail behind us after we heard it running. Neither of us figured we would have been quick enough to get a shot off had it been in season. Anyway, it was fun watching the dogs hunt, hearing some flushes, and enjoying the other activity in the woods.  We came across this tree which a beaver apparently has been working on in the evening hours. Our first impression was why would a beaver be cutting down a large tree like that when it was so far from the Crow Wing river.  But when we crested the bank and saw the river we had our answer.  We should have taken a right when we hit a T on the trail instead of a left.  It cost us about an extra half-mile of hiking. The trees are showing color and should be at their peak within 10 days. On the drive home we spotted a covey of six Woodcock and another single in the gravel road, something neither of us had seen before. Other wildlife was a flock of geese just outside of Motley and a large flock of sandhill cranes as we headed north on Highway 64. We didn’t see any turkeys and very few ducks.  Hennen said the two grouse he saw were adults which leads us to believe the grouse in that area didn’t have much of a hatch. It’s not unusual to see a covey in the early part of the season and all we saw and flushed were singles. The answer is to find a more populated grouse area for our next hunt.