Photos of a Gorgeous November Grouse Day


Written by: Phil Monahan

Grouse Hunting with Steve and Cayenne

That is one pround dog and a beautiful grouse.

photo by Phil Monahan

On Saturday morning, Orvis Rod & Tackle merchandising manager Steve Hemkens showed up with his field-bred Springer, Cayenne, to hunt the grouse cover behind my house. For those of you who have never chased ruffed grouse through the northern woods, this is a pretty labor-intensive affair. However, we got off to a great start: the very first piece of cover produced two flushes and one bird in the bag, courtesy of Steve’s shooting.

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In one corner of a log landing, there’s a stand of young pine trees that runs up the edge of a steep ridge. It’s a tough place to hunt because the birds can flush in any direction, and I rarely get a shot off. But on this occasion, there were two birds. The first flushed straight out the other side of the pines, and we never saw it. The second, however, came right over Cayenne’s head. I was just a few feet behind her, so the grouse was up and gone before I could raise my gun. However, Steve was out in the open in the landing, and the bird flew straight across his field of vision. After a brief search in some thick brush, Cayenne made a great retrieve.

We put up four more singles over the next hour and a half, as well as flushing a healthy whitetail doe. Two of the birds flushed wild, too far ahead of us. On the others, Steve and I each pulled the trigger once, but didn’t connect.

That afternoon, Steve and Cayenne headed out again with our Orvis colleague Mike Greenleaf, and they shot another grouse and a woodcock. All in all, it was a fine November day to be in the woods, we saw plenty of birds, and we even bagged enough for a fine meal. Check out the photos below.

Grouse Hunting with Steve and Cayenne

Steve and Cayenne after a fine morning, in which we put six birds in the air and one in the bag.

photo by Phil Monahan

Grouse Hunting with Steve and Cayenne

This ruffed grouse was one of a pair flushed from a small stand of young pines.

photo by Phil Monahan

Grouse Hunting with Steve and Cayenne

All that training has paid off, as Cayenne hunted beautifully all day.

photo by Phil Monahan

Grouse Hunting with Steve and cayenne

Cayenne looks exhausted after the day’s second hunt, but she has a woodcock and another grouse to show for her efforts.

photo by Mike Greenleaf

Grouse Hunting with Steve and Cayenne

The day’s bag, which represents a lot of walking through the woods.

photo courtesy Steve Hemkens

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