Minnesota: An Overlooked Wingshooting Destination

This evening I'll board a plane for what I consider to be the most underrated wingshooting destination in the country: Minnesota.

The pheasant hunting in many areas, especially the southwest corner, can be practically as good as in the Dakotas. The duck hunting can also be very good (though a few pessimists have bemoaned recent harvest reports) along the Mississippi River, on the state's famous lakes and potholes and the northern rice fields; the best mallard shoot of my life occurred on a flooded Minnesota rice field. Then there's the grouse and woodcock hunting!

Minnesota is perhaps the best ruffed grouse destination in the country. Its northern stretches boast not only an ample population of grouse (particularly during the last population cycle's peak), but huge stretches of public land. Is it any wonder that the Ruffed Grouse Society holds its "National Hunt" in precisely this location?

My buddy and I have come up with a fairly stellar plan to take advantage of all these wingshooting opportunities: We will make camp, hunt public land and cook whatever we kill over a campfire. The goal is to bag what I've dubbed the "Minnesota Grand Slam:" a northern drake mallard, woodcock, ruffed grouse and ringneck pheasant. Either that or go hungry, I suppose.

Want to follow the action (or laugh at the lack thereof)? I'll post updates and photos— Verizon permitting—to Twitter and the all-new "Dogs, Shotguns and Other Vices" Facebook fan page.

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1 Response to Minnesota: An Overlooked Wingshooting Destination

Bruce G wrote:
February 12, 2011

Northwest Minnesota harbors some of the best ruffed grouse and woodcock hunting in the U.S. It is true the ruffed grouse do have ten year cycle that goes from famine to feast and on and on. The good news is the abundance of woodcock that migrate to our area. When the ruff's population is leanest, those of us who crave unpland bird hunting in the thickest of habitat can still enjoy the hunt. Without the help of your favorite four legged bird finder, one might as well stay home. I am a little partial to English Setters since they are such fine pointing dogs and so graceful in there approach. I enjoy watching them work as much as the hunt itself. If you have the opportunity to hunt the greatest upland bird there is, make northwest Minnesota a destination. There are hundreds of thousands of acres of puplic forest for your enjoyment. Who knows, maybe I'll run into you out there. Happy hunting!