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Thread: In praise of o'l ruff

  1. #1
    Getting the hang of it

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    Default In praise of o'l ruff

    With the weather slowly beginning to feel like fall, my mind can't help but start wandering off, thinking of those magical days in the woods.
    I get asked many times, "What's your favourite game to hunt"? Without question it has to be the King of game birds, the ruffed grouse.

    Years ago, I use to think they got their nickname "King" because of the way they flush wildly at a moments notice and then seem to glide effortlessly away, putting every tree they can between them and harms way. Now I think it's just because they are the most versatile game bird there is with something to offer for everyone.
    Mentored hunters, experienced hunters, young hunters and old, it makes no difference, they can be hunted in so many different ways by anyone willing to take on the chase.

    As a kid I started hunting them with my Grandfather's bolt action .22 rifle. I'd still hunt quietly through the woods trying to find them before they saw me, so I could make a clean head shot. I'll never forget my first and the feeling of pride I felt contributing to the family table. My son Will started the exact same way, with the same gun and it was an incredible tradition and moment to share.
    I have many fond memories spending countless days hunting them walking old trails with a single shot .410 or 28 gauge. I've covered many miles traversing thick alders and wild raspberry canes on the heels of my black labs, golden retrievers and springer spaniels. I'd try to keep up as they worked the heavy cover, flushing birds for this young, fast shooting wingshot, while I worked my Grandfather's old Ithaca 37, 12 gauge pump. I've taken leisurely strolls, with my fine little sxs 20 broken over the crook of my arm. I'd follow my dedicated English and Irish setters, enjoying the dogs, as they worked the cover carefully and then locked up solid on a point.
    I've even taken many birds on the wing with my recurve bow.

    There's almost no way I haven't hunted o'l ruff before. They're challenging and enjoyable to hunt regardless of how you pursue them and are accessible to everyone. They bring families together and have helped me forge friendships which have lasted for decades. Many a campfire has been shared with people and dogs I love at the end of the day, all because of o'l ruff. Yes they truly are the King of game birds in my book!
    Last edited by Jeff Kavanagh; August 24th, 2019 at 02:18 PM.

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  3. #2
    Leads by example

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    They are my favourite excuse to be outside. I started at my dad's heals and now my son is 10 and is keen for his chance in a few years (he can already out shoot me with a pellet gun, I had to get a scope for mine). The smell of the woods in the fall, the cold air but a warm ray of sun are the best sensations. I'm thawing the last 3 birds from last season for dinner today.
    Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening.

    Dorothy Sarnoff

  4. #3
    Getting the hang of it

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    Quote Originally Posted by kickingfrog View Post
    They are my favourite excuse to be outside. I started at my dad's heals and now my son is 10 and is keen for his chance in a few years (he can already out shoot me with a pellet gun, I had to get a scope for mine). The smell of the woods in the fall, the cold air but a warm ray of sun are the best sensations. I'm thawing the last 3 birds from last season for dinner today.
    Yeah, my kids outshoot me all the time now. They're 21 and 22 now. I guess that's when you know you've succeeded as a parent. Haha
    Good luck to you this year on your season

  5. #4
    Has too much time on their hands

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    I had no one to teach me when I started hunting in my 20s. So when I got my first grouse I was in paradise just looking over the feathers and replaying the hunt in my head. The funny thing is I still feel that way about everyone I harvest. The problem is where I hunt them on public grounds nothing is being done to keep them around. I sent emails numerous times to the conservation authority about getting a couple of guys together to re -habilitate an area of woods voluntary on there land to benefit all game but mostly small game. Like planting trees and wild berries for example. I never was emailed back. So my question is other then changing bag limits what is really being done to support future small game hunting.
    "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, Teach a man to fish and he eats for the rest of his life"

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom gobble View Post
    I had no one to teach me when I started hunting in my 20s. So when I got my first grouse I was in paradise just looking over the feathers and replaying the hunt in my head. The funny thing is I still feel that way about everyone I harvest. The problem is where I hunt them on public grounds nothing is being done to keep them around. I sent emails numerous times to the conservation authority about getting a couple of guys together to re -habilitate an area of woods voluntary on there land to benefit all game but mostly small game. Like planting trees and wild berries for example. I never was emailed back. So my question is other then changing bag limits what is really being done to support future small game hunting.
    They need to follow the efforts of organizations such as the ruffed grouse society. It's all about habitat protection and creation. By that I mean cutting trees and stimulating new, young forest growth which is where the majority of wildlife flourishes.
    Also, I still feel the same way you do in that I'll still sit down and just look at the feathers of a bird I have just taken and enjoy the beauty of the moment. Yes it never gets old.
    Last edited by Jeff Kavanagh; August 24th, 2019 at 02:25 PM.

  7. #6
    Has too much time on their hands

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Kavanagh View Post
    They need to follow the efforts of organizations such as the ruffed grouse society. It's all about habitat protection and creation. By that I mean cutting trees and stimulating new, young forest growth which is where the majority of wildlife flourishes.
    Also, .
    What it should look like......
    https://youtu.be/umzLKhE1hjs
    unfortunately what we got is either monoculture pine lots or old growth barren hard woods.
    Time in the outdoors is never wasted

  8. #7
    Has too much time on their hands

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    So when are we planning an OOD forum upland hunt in Michigan LOL
    "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, Teach a man to fish and he eats for the rest of his life"

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by finsfurfeathers View Post
    What it should look like......
    https://youtu.be/umzLKhE1hjs
    unfortunately what we got is either monoculture pine lots or old growth barren hard woods.
    That's why I love beavers as well. They create so much habitat.
    I'm lucky because that's what we have at my cabin. Mid October during the woodcock migration pretty much as many points on woodcock and grouse as you have time for. We flush birds all the time just walking to the sauna, well or the outhouse.
    Last edited by Jeff Kavanagh; August 25th, 2019 at 09:29 PM.

  10. #9
    Has too much time on their hands

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    Quote Originally Posted by tom gobble View Post
    So when are we planning an OOD forum upland hunt in Michigan LOL
    Was hoping to bring Michigan here as hate driving distances.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Kavanagh View Post
    I'm lucky because that's what we have at my cabin. Mid October during the woodcock migration pretty much as many points on woodcock and grouse as you have time for. .
    .waiting on the invite
    Time in the outdoors is never wasted

  11. #10
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    [QUOTE=finsfurfeathers;1090478]Was hoping to bring Michigan here as hate driving distance
    Nither do I, thats why I wanted to do something about habitat here in the south
    "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, Teach a man to fish and he eats for the rest of his life"

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