Outdoors column: Greener pastures

Reports of decent numbers of birds have been coming in from most of the grouse range and includes Grand Rapids, Bemidji and the Arrowhead region.

The author was looking for greener pastures when he ran into this nice ruff.

The author was looking for greener pastures when he ran into this nice ruff.

It takes at least a few birds to make it fun and there’s all of that and more. They’re not everywhere though and if you’re not seeing enough to keep you interested you might have to make a logistical move and try somewhere new.

One my best sources for finding new hunting ground is the Sportman’s Connection out of Superior, Wis. which produces an outdoor atlas that is packed with information including public hunting lands and logging trails. The maps have unbelievable detail and have been a big help in saving me time and getting started on the right foot when I’m looking for greener pastures.

The Minnesota Gazetteer is another great source and includes much of the same info.

Although the maps help, you still have to check an area out for yourself – and I have gone on some wild goose chases.

It’s not that the trails and public land aren’t there; it’s just that what you find might not be exactly what you’re looking for. Instead of the mix of old- and new-growth aspen you might find low boggy land that goes on for miles.

Another move of 10 or 20 miles might produce the same, so be prepared for a little disappointment. It’s all part of the investigative process but can still be well worth the effort especially when you find the good stuff.

The “good stuff” includes managed woods with a combination of growth. A logging trail that works its way through younger aspen is high on my list of preference and is a good place to start a hunt in unfamiliar territory.

Instead of hitting the road early on, I like to start with an area I’m familiar with and get in my workout and then do some investigative travel while resting my weary bones in the comfy seat of my truck.

Uncovering and exploring new ground is fun and exciting even if doesn’t always work out. When it does you’ve got another starting spot you can hit before looking for something better and right now is the time to do it.

These next few weeks before the deer opener are prime for hunting ruffs. The leaves are down and the bugs are gone and the birds are easier to see and get on when they do get up.

See you in the woods.

Ron Anlauf is a frequent contributer to the Outdoors page.

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