Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Ruffed Grouse or Partridge?

      It is a ruffed grouse, Bonasa umbellus, but up in the neck of the woods where we now live the old timers refer to them as partridge. So is it ruffed grouse or partridge? It depends on who you are talking to.
     A couple of years ago I called up a friend who was laid up during bird season. I asked him if he wanted a ruffed grouse. He said, “A what?” I said ruffed grouse, and he said again, “A what?” I thought there must be a lousy phone connection. I said, “I just shot a ruffed grouse and I’ll bring it over for you. It’s cleaned and everything.” Again he said, “A what?” Then I remembered this gentleman always referred to Bonasa umbellus as partridge.
      It seems everyone under fifty years old calls them ruffed grouse or just grouse, but everyone over eighty calls them partridge. It’s that age group in the middle that makes for confusion.
      Up here, if you are going bird hunting, bird means ruffed grouse. If you want to hunt woodcock or ducks or pheasants you had better be specific.

Maggie says there's a ruffed grouse there.

Saturday, April 18, 2020


      April is a long month when you live in the North Woods. Snow still blankets much of the ground and everywhere the ground is bare the soil is soggy. Fishing really doesn’t get going for another month. A cold north wind has been blowing snow squalls through almost hourly for several days now. About the only thing to do is try and stay in shape while waiting for better weather. And that means lots of walking for us and the dogs.
      For the last couple of weeks I’ve been teaching Maggie, our younger German wirehair, to hunt shed antlers. The lessons are simple. I ask her to sit outside while I walk around the other side of the house to hide an antler somewhere in the woods. When I walk back to her I say, “find the antler”. She loves it and dashes off to search.
      Today, like a lot of afternoons, we took a little walk up on a favorite hill. The dogs ran about, as they always do, and by golly Maggie came out of the woods with her first “shed”. Needless to say, she was quite proud and so were we.