2019 Hunting Recap
Susan, the dogs and I had a very busy October chasing ruffed grouse and woodcock. We made three trips to different locations. Here’s a short report on each destination.
Our fist destination was The Hungry Trout Resort in Wilmington, NY. We had never hunted the Adirondacks so when owner Jerry Bottcher invited us, we excitedly said “yes”. The Hungry Trout Resort is a very fine complex catering to fly anglers, upland hunters and general tourism. It features both a fine dining restaurant and a pub style restaurant. For fly anglers, it sits directly on the West Branch of the iconic Ausable River. For upland hunters, it’s surrounded by tens of thousands of acres of prime grouse and woodcock habitat. In fact, the grouse habitat might be the best I’ve ever seen…anywhere. And, for general tourism, the scenery is breath taking.
For our three-day hunt (October 7, 8 & 9), Jerry arranged for guides each day. The first day we hunted with Scott. Scott took us to one of his secret spots deep into the Adirondacks. It was well worth the drive. We had 21 grouse flushes and nine woodcock flushes. All three of our dogs, Dena, Blaze and Cordie, did fine bird work. Our woodcock flushes demonstrated how unpredictable these birds are. Scott had been in this woodcock cover the previous day and didn’t have a single flush. One day later, we moved nine woodcock in that exact same cover. A high light of this day was Scott giving our birds to the chef at the resort. They were prepared for us for dinner. Of course a ruffed grouse breast is always delicious and that was especially true with the touch of a professional chef. However, the woodcock tasted like a fine cut of prime beef. Not sure what the chef did to that woodcock breast…we were unable to obtain a recipe.
The next two days we were guided by Matt; another outstanding guide. Both days we had between 15-20 flushes per day. Those flushes were evenly divided between woodcock and grouse. A special touch the guides provided each day was a warm lunch prepared on a propane stove.
If you’re looking for decent bird numbers with very comfortable accommodations, take a look at The Hungry Trout Resort. Their website is www.hungrytrout.com.
Our next trip (October 16-20) was to Grand Lake Stream, Maine. Grand Lake Stream is also a popular upland hunting/fly fishing destination. We stayed at Canalside Cabins right in Grand Lake Stream. The cabins are owned and operated by John and Mary Arcaro...both very nice people. Our hunt here was also three days. We didn’t have guides, however, John is a professional guide and available to guide guests. Without a guide, a short three-day hunt is difficult. By the time you’ve identified coverts, it’s time to leave. However, John gave us a couple of roads to check-out and that was a big help. Since Grand Lake Stream is in the middle of a major migration flyway for the American woodcock, we expected more woodcock flushes than grouse. That wasn’t the case…daily, woodcock and grouse flushes were about equal. During our short three day hunt, we did locate two woodcock covers that consistently produced several flushes. And we identified one very good grouse road. We had great fun in Grand Lake Stream and hope to return soon. And, we’ll definitely stay at Canalside Cabins. Check them out at www.canalsidecabins.com.
Our third October trip was to Allagash, Maine. We traveled directly from Grand Lake Stream to Allagash with plans to hunt October 21-26. As we do each year, we met several hunters shopping at the grocery store in Fort Kent. Everyone had a different opinion on grouse numbers. We would have to decide based upon our own experience. For Susan and me, it was the same as last year. We averaged about ten grouse flushes per day. Some days more and some days a few less. Still worth the trip and still great fun. By the way, a local man told us he was hunting moose about 80 miles south of Allagash and saw about 100 grouse in four days of hunting. We were going to hunt the two logging roads he told us about on Friday. Unfortunately, our two year old Blaze cut his pad badly on Thursday afternoon, and we had to pull out Friday morning and head home. No vet in the North Country could find time to see Blaze. Very disappointing.
Overall, it was a great October and we feel blessed to be able to hunt so many different places. Susan and I hope to meet you in the field someday.
Copyright 2019 Paul Fuller