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What's Up Outdoors: Less is more in grouse hunting

Finally we are having a grouse hunting season like I remember it being when I was a kid. Last weekend I traveled north to check out the deer stands and do a little bird hunting. I heard the grouse numbers were up but you never know until you see ...

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Finally we are having a grouse hunting season like I remember it being when I was a kid.

Last weekend I traveled north to check out the deer stands and do a little bird hunting. I heard the grouse numbers were up but you never know until you see it for yourself. And amazingly after a day of hunting I actually had my limit. It really made for a great day after not seeing much for deer sign, at least we have some grouse to shoot. This got me thinking how different grouse hunting is from other types of game. Usually, at least for myself, we tend to over do it on the guns we shoot. For deer hunting we need the best scopes and big calibers with great ballistics. For waterfowl I have to use the latest and greatest 12 gauge automatic that shoots 3 ½-inch shells. But for most small game hunters it's the opposite. Choosing a 410 or at most a 20 gauge is usually the standard. Also you are not normally worried about having a gun that holds a lot of shells. I will often just grab a single shot and a handful of 7 1/2 or 8 shot and head off into the woods. Some hunters prefer an over and under, but most often you don't get many shots off at once so a single shot is just fine. Another perk is the weight - a break action will usually weigh only half of a pump or automatic shotgun. While usually in the hunting world bigger is better, it is not in this case.

Also the diver ducks are starting to show up in central Minnesota. We are starting to shoot some good numbers of ringbills, redheads and a few bluebills. As always it looks like the best duck hunting will be during the rifle season. Still waiting for some flocks of the big northern mallards. Hopefully that will come soon with the temps dropping and some north winds coming.

JAMIE DIETMAN, What's Up Outdoors, may be reached at 218-820-7757.

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