Now that the snow has fallen and the winter has set in, our birding guides finally have some time to look back at the season just concluded. Here are their reports:
Dave Trahan, Head Guide
As guides, we always like to reflect on the season just completed to reflect on the hunting and see if there are any things we can do to improve our services for our clients.
I’d say the 2019 hunt was good to average. The woodcock came down a little later than planned, and we did have more rainy days than average this year.
At the start of the season, the birds were found in very dense and deep cover, which always makes it tougher for our clients to engage with them. I like to tell my clients that I want to hear both barrels going off: the first is to clear the branches and the second is to hit the bird!
What I like most about my job is the people I meet. I have guided everyone from retired FBI agents to pipefitters. Many of my clients used to own hunting dogs and they are always excited to work with my dogs.
The weather and the birds are always variable, but one thing we always do for our clients provide a good lunch and a fun day of hunting in our beautiful North Woods. If you’re thinking of coming up for the 2020 hunt, I recommend you book early: the season is short and our calendar fills up quickly!
Sean Searles, Guide
I thought the 2019 grouse and woodcock season was pretty successful! We found birds on every trip, and a few days we had good numbers.
Early in the season, I noticed a lot of young birds, which tells me that the hatch was good this year. Later on, when the grouse began to spread out and get smart, the woodcock flights came in, so we had good contacts on most days.
Just to show you how fickle the hunt can be sometimes, let me tell you about one client I have had for the last three years. He was much more interested in woodcock than grouse. The first year he came up, he came early in the season, and the woodcock flights had not yet come in. So we had a pretty uneventful three days. The second year, he signed up for a later date in October … and it snowed for all three days! The weather pushed the woodcock flights right past us. This year, he came again in October, and finally got lucky! I was worried because we had some early flights of woodcock, but there were still plenty of birds around when he was here, and the weather was good for two of his three days. Persistence pays off!
We’re already looking forward to next year’s hunt. And as Dave Trahan said, you should book early.