Sunday, May 6, 2012

During the off season…

     I find myself daydreaming a lot this time of the year, counting the days until October.  Not too long ago I discovered a great app for my smart phone.  My phone is a Android, but I’m sure it’s available for iPhones too, and there’s probably other apps that do similar things.  It’s called BackCountry Navigator, and it basically turns your phone into a standalone GPS.  No phone coverage is needed, so it works out in the middle of nowhere, which is one of my favorite places to be.
My girls, showing off again.
     USGS type topographical maps are available from, or, better yet, USGS Color Aerials are available too.  Downloading them on the phone is painless and takes almost no time.  Now, whenever I find myself waiting, whether it’s for an oil change or lunch at the diner, I go to my favorite coverts in the palm of my hand. Or better yet, I search the color aerial photos looking for likely new coverts. Technology, you have to love it.
     It’s not a free app and I don’t remember what I paid, but, being a New England Yankee, you can be sure it wasn’t too much.  Whatever it was, it certainly was worth every penny for all the hours it has entertained 

My older wirehair, when she was just a pup.


  1. Jerry,

    I just stumbled across your blog and I have been reading older posts. I am a very avid grouse hunter, and I can't stop reading your blog.

    I was just wondering what the season is up their in New England? I live in Minnesota and do the vast majority of my grouse hunting in Northern Minnesota, with a couple of weekends in Norther Wisconsin sprinkled in there. Our season ends Dec. 31st, so I was just wondering when yours ended. Might have to make a trip out that way and try to find a few birds. Keep writing. I could read about grouse hunting all day.


    I just noticed that I had to use my google account to post a comment. "My final out" is a long defunct poker blog that I started that never went anywhere. Just thought I would give you a heads up.


  2. Hi Nick,It's always a pleasure to meet another avid grouse hunter. We aren't overly abundant in number, but that is perhaps for the best.

    Our seasons in the northern New England states all end December 31. Sometimes the snow in the northern parts is deep enough that dogs can't work by the time December rolls around, but that can vary between years. This past season there was almost no snow in the woods the first weekend of December, and that is almost unheard of. Most bird hunters with dogs have quit for the year by then in that country because of the snow.

    We have good seasons and bad, just like your part of the country. Last fall was the best I'd seen in years in our neck of the woods, but not too far away it wasn't even an average year. It all depends so much on the survival rate of the young. The flush rates we had last fall I may never see again, but I can always hope!

    Where I hunt the most is fairly mountainous, so there is little flat country. It is also logged HARD, which is great for the grouse and the woodcock, so it should be good hunting for the rest of my lifetime. Northern New England has a long history of landowners keeping their land open to others, so country to hunt is abundant.

    Do you do the Facebook thing? There are some bird hunting groups on there, a good one is called Bird Dogs and Fly Rods, and the Ruffed Grouse Society has a page with interesting stuff. If you find my page and message me I'll send you my email.

    Do you have a dog??

    Thanks for reading my blog!!

    1. Thanks for the info Jerry. I will try to find those groups on facebook this weekend.

      It is great that you had such a good season last fall. Where I hunt is quite the opposite. It was tough sledding finding the birds this year, but I scouted some new areas that I have never been and they look promising for the future. The places we go, are places that I started going to 30 years ago with my Dad. We would go every weekend during the season. These places are also very heavily logged. Which is a good thing.

      I do have a dog. I have a 3 year old male Springer Spaniel named Sam. He really is a great dog. He has always been good at finding and flushing the birds, but just this last season he really started to get the hang of retrieving the birds and bringing them to me. For some reason though, I can not get him to retrieve birds that either my Dad, or brother, or anyone else shoots.

      It seams like there is such a long wait between seasons, so I try to take him to a couple of the local game farms every month or so, just to keep him up to speed.

      Great chatting with you about the birds and dogs. I look forward to finding you on facebook and chatting some more. Have a good one.