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21 hours ago, Jack L said:

Guy's discussion in "Making Game" on how to cook woodcock medium rare (and likewise all red breasted game)  was a game changer for me on ducks.

 

 

Woodcock are my table favorite bird: breast fillets and legs simply sauteed in butter with a dash of Lawry's and eaten while still pink in the middle.

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In the realm of modern outdoor (upland) writing, there is Guy deLaValdene and Mike McIntosh and everyone else,  as they are erudite and educative. Many of the other praised and lionized writers will n

Which brings me to my absolute favorite book on grouse and woodcock:  Hill and Smith's "The Whispering Wings of Autumn", written for the Ruffed Grouse Society back in 1981.

Not all! Some of them spend the winters in Arizona with me!!   I received the woodcock book as a gift. Found it quite engaging. There's probably some truth to his take on our love affair wit

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19 minutes ago, Larry Brown said:

IMO, the easiest game bird I've ever hunted is the sora rail.

 

I find their king, clapper and Virginia cousins all much easier, as none are so apt to land about the time you get on them as the soras, which at least present that race. 

 

'Course they're all as easy as "give" when the dog's catching them for you:

P1010468a.thumb.jpg.1c1a8f48a10517e0b8f08bf23b0f1af2.jpg

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On 7/5/2019 at 8:09 AM, Larry Brown said:

Disdain for woodcock . . . several years back, I was showing a couple internet friends some hunting spots in the UP.  One of them, a very good shot, said that he'd never hunted woodcock but thought from what he'd read that they wouldn't be much of a challenge.  Result:  Wheels start turning in my brain.  I took them to one of my "seldom fail" woodcock coverts.  Always seemed to be at least a few birds there--sometimes a lot.  Nice stretch of young aspen right above an alder bog.  On that particular day, they were there in good number.  My "not much of a challenge" friend made several comments like "How in the hell do you guys shoot in this stuff?"  He did collect a couple doodles, but I think more than half a box of shells were expended in the process.

I usually take the scoffing doubting Thomases to where the birds are located in good numbers (thick impenetrable alders), then watch the frustrations grow!

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Larry Brown
7 hours ago, Rick Hall said:

 

I find their king, clapper and Virginia cousins all much easier, as none are so apt to land about the time you get on them as the soras, which at least present that race. 

 

'Course they're all as easy as "give" when the dog's catching them for you:

P1010468a.thumb.jpg.1c1a8f48a10517e0b8f08bf23b0f1af2.jpg

I've seen that before . . . and shortly after, when the feet have disappeared!  I've had hunting partners who've said their dogs never ate a bird before.  Well, you can scarcely blame them with a sora rail, which isn't much more than a mouthful.  And, after all, they are only rail.  Not like they swallowed a grouse or a quail.

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Well, neither of the B&Ns I visited this week carry Covey Rise magazine.  B&N isn't what it used to be, imo.  

WRT woodcock, the best I've ever eaten were the first I ever ate.  Several friends and I, as teens, got into them thick in a low area among the pines in a Louisiana forest.  We picked and cleaned them, stuffed apple slices in the cavities, rubbed with butter, salt and pepper, and broiled them in the lower broiler of an old propane-fueled stove.   Good times.  

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Don Steese
On 7/6/2019 at 12:27 PM, Ben Hong said:

I usually take the scoffing doubting Thomases to where the birds are located in good numbers (thick impenetrable alders), then watch the frustrations grow!

 

I've been there. If you knock your hat off it never hits the ground!!

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Excerpt from an article I wrote for Game & Fish Magazine some years back.

Mixed Bag Hunting Tips Article

 

MAKING THE SHOT OPPORTUNITY COUNT

Grouse require a hunter to be ready at all times, regardless of what type dog is being hunted over. I'm not talking about a white-knuckle march through a cover, but a relaxed readiness to mount the gun and click off the safety all in one motion at the flush -- and get on that bird. Grouse get out of Dodge in a hurry using every tree available for cover.

 

In early season when the covers are leafed up I'm a 'poke and hope' grouse hunter and make no apologies for it. Later in the gray November woods I may have the time to actually swing on a grouse.

 

It's that keenness for connecting on a grouse that causes the problems with woodcock. Woodcock hold tighter, the time to prepare for a flush is longer, and they fly slower. Hunters who are geared up for grouse shoot too fast on woodcock and a load of shot connecting at 10 yards isn't a pretty picture.

 

That's where experience in mixed bag hunting and reading your birddog comes into play. Once you recover from the thunderous flush, a grouse is relatively predictable in its speed and ability to use the surrounding cover as a shield, which is why getting on the bird fast is so important. A woodcock, once its feet leave terra firma with its signature twitter, is less predictable -- so cool your jets. Despite what you may have read, all woodcock don't rise up like a helium balloon, level off at canopy, and slowly depart like a ponderous blimp. Woodcock flushes have more accurately been compared to a major league baseball pitch. Sometimes they blast out straight away like a fastball, sometimes they dive like a curveball, and sometimes they corkscrew like a knuckleball. You can find yourself waving your shotgun barrels around like a baton, and never getting the shot off.

 

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On 7/5/2019 at 1:03 PM, Brad Eden said:

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This was a good day. The cover in background was open and they were flushing and screaming away low and fast. I've had plenty of days when I wanted to throw my shotgun up into the trees. 

One day, years ago, in northern PA I shot 5 times at one woodcock: sawed off a couple limbs, hit some trees, etc. After 5 shots I said to hell with it, if I can’t kill the bird in 5 shots I don’t deserve it.  

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Larry Brown
13 hours ago, Brad Eden said:

 

 

 Woodcock flushes have more accurately been compared to a major league baseball pitch. Sometimes they blast out straight away like a fastball, sometimes they dive like a curveball, and sometimes they corkscrew like a knuckleball.

 

Uh oh.  Yet another writer swipes my "feathered knuckleball" line. :)  When I first wrote that in reference to woodcock umpteen years ago, I thought it was original.  At which point someone dug up a quote from an article written in the 50's.  And it was a Major League ballplayer--I think a pitcher (wish I could remember his name)--who came up with it long before I did.

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30 minutes ago, Larry Brown said:

Uh oh.  Yet another writer swipes my "feathered knuckleball" line. :)  When I first wrote that in reference to woodcock umpteen years ago, I thought it was original.  At which point someone dug up a quote from an article written in the 50's.  And it was a Major League ballplayer--I think a pitcher (wish I could remember his name)--who came up with it long before I did.

I never read your knuckleball reference, but have read the baseball pitching analogy in other books over the years. It's an accurate description.  

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1 hour ago, Larry Brown said:

 And it was a Major League ballplayer--I think a pitcher (wish I could remember his name)--who came up with it long before I did.

Ron Guidry, the ragin' Cajun used to live to hunt woodcock. He'd hunt the low bottomlands of bayou country without the aid of a dog. Superb shot, I hear!

 

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2 hours ago, Ben Hong said:

Ron Guidry, the ragin' Cajun used to live to hunt woodcock. He'd hunt the low bottomlands of bayou country without the aid of a dog. Superb shot, I hear!

 

 

Jack Morris too.  I think I remember seeing a pic of Jack in one of Huggler's books hunting in MN.  

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19 hours ago, Brad Eden said:

I'm not talking about a white-knuckle march through a cover, but a relaxed readiness to mount the gun and click off the safety all in one motion at the flush -- and get on that bird. 

 

In early season when the covers are leafed up I'm a 'poke and hope' grouse hunter and make no apologies for it. Later in the gray November woods I may have the time to actually swing on a grouse.

 

White-knuckled is a good description of the tension some "serious" woods hunters profess to carry while after both brown birds. I have found it exhausting and distracting from enjoyment of the hunt and tried to restrict that intensity to points where I felt it most likely to be needed. Got caught flat footed a lot that way, to the birds' benefit usually. Still, spastic in demeanor or not, the balance of a shooter's gun best suited for our pokin' and hopin' shots might be more critical than for other conditions where we pull triggers on game birds.

 

None of my bird guns are balanced to match any other but I have recently added what are likely suitable opposites to try out. One's an Ithaca Ultralight 20ga with some weight-forward bias and the other a very rear-biased (12ga) Winchester 59. Over 15 years ago I added a slug of lead to the stock of my target gun and tried it at Sporting clays. One presentation roared up from below the shooter and that gun was well out of control, thrown ahead of the target. A mag tube weight later balanced it out, but the experiment showed limitations of an imbalance in extreme conditions and the 59 feels similar. In the narrower window of shot offerings presented by ruffs and woodcock a muzzle-light gun may be ideal--other aspects of fit and function being in line as well. Maybe the overall light weight of the 37UL, minus the weight-rearward bias, is a better route to success.  It may be a while before I can find out, and my expectation is each shot will be perfect for a different fit/balance best served by any gun other than the one used at each opportunity. 

 

 

 

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Larry Brown
21 hours ago, C.J.L. said:

 

Jack Morris too.  I think I remember seeing a pic of Jack in one of Huggler's books hunting in MN.  

I remember talking to Tom about hunting with Morris.  But I'd guess maybe MI rather than MN.

 

"Whack 'em and stack 'em" Ted Nugent is another woodcock hunter who's pursued them with Huggler.  Back when Ted was more popular with the teenagers than he is now, Tom took his daughter to a Nugent concert.  After it was over, Huggler asked his daughter if she'd like to meet Ted Nugent.  "Dad, you don't know Ted Nugent!" she said.  Huggler gives his card to a roadie, and soon he gets the signal to head back stage.  They enter a crowded room.  Nugent, from the other side of the room, spots Tom and yells:  "Huggler!  Woodcock!  F . . . in A!"  At which point daughter turns to Huggler and says:  "I guess you do know Ted Nugent!"

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