March 2023 hunting report

Come adventure with the Wildman

It’s the in-between time of year – when there is no open hunting season in Minnesota. If you read my fishing report, you know that I had surgery on my right arm a few weeks ago, to take care of carpal and cubital tunnel issues. I just got the cast off, and am healing. Soon, it will be time for turkey hunting, and bow fishing. Somewhere in there, my cronies and I will likely be shooting some feral pigeons. I’ll also be taking care of some nuisance critters (beaver trapping).

Can’t wait!

Meanwhile, I’m reveling in a great fall season – the first where I have been in Minnesota for the entirety in about a decade – as I am usually in Alaska for a good part of the fall and winter. Since I was only working part-time, I was able to put in a lot of time in the woods. I harvested a nice buck, lots of pheasants and grouse, and a few ducks and geese too.

Deer Hunting Minnesota

A highlight was when I scouted some new country for grouse – up near the Canadian border. A friend and I went somewhere we’ve never been, and shot limits on two consecutive days. There was a lot more birds than in my home area of Crow Wing and Cass County. Sam had some tremendous points both days – the kind grouse hunters dream of. Each fall, I make several trips to the Western part of the state – where I have connections with quite a bit of pheasant ground. We don’t hunt them too hard early in the season, as we hold the ground sacred for archery deer hunting, but when deer season is over – all hell breaks loose on the pheasants. As the snow hits and the grass gets buried – pheasants move to the cattails and the shelter belts. They are cagey – that’s for certain, but a couple of skilled guys with a good dog can pattern them, predict them, and score.

Grouse Guide Minnesota

Then another highlight happened: A good friend and I got tired of winter in early January, and made a spontaneous trip to Southern Arizona to hunt quail. We were shooting Gambel’s Quail regularly, while scouting some ranches for future deer hunts. Toward the end of the trip, we got a wild hair, and drove down nearly to the Mexican border, to hunt the highly coveted Mearns Quail. We did some internet research, decided on an area to try, and let er rip! We didn’t really know what we were doing – but figured that with Sam working hard, and if we worked just as hard, we’d get a couple of cracks at birds and learn a lot.

Hunting Guide Minnesota

Sam had some amazing points first thing in the morning. I can’t ever remember a day when he actually pointed wild turkeys (Rio’s) but he did it several times, and believe it or not, they held tight right under his nose. We were on edge, ready to fire when those huge birds took flight, fanning us as they went. What a rush…

Hunting Guide Minnesota

The second spot, Sam pointed his first covey. About a dozen of Mearns burst at once, and unnerved, I blew my shots. My friend Lauren couldn’t shoot as I was in the way. The quail were up and out so fast! It’s so hard to focus on one bird, let alone pick out a boy bird. But we watched where they went, and found that singles were much easier to pick off. We headed back to the truck with a few birds in hand, and ran into another hunter named Bob – who invited us to throw in with he and his dogs for the afternoon. Good fortune smiled down on us – and we were able to shoot more birds. With an invite for the next morning, we rejoined Bob, and had a great mornings hunt – with his three dogs and Sam pointing at least 8 covey’s.

Grouse Guide Minnesota

Watching pointing dogs do their thing is always a thrill, but I learned so much being around diehard quail hunters who have numerous dogs, put collars on them all, watch a GPS tracker, and just let them do their thing. – even if it is 200 yards away. This was foreign to me, but I became fascinated with it. Fascinated enough to get more dogs, new collars, and spend a couple months down there during the coming winter. Right now – hunting the desert mountains sounds a whole lot better than winter in Minnesota.

Stay tuned for more hunting reports. The next thing to come will be turkey hunting, and bow fishing – two of my favorite forms of hunting.

Hunting Guide Report
Pheasants Forever
Quail Forever
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