Grouse season opened Saturday, Sept. 16, a sure sign of fall. As the fall colors start to progress around the Whitefish Chain, the cooler days and bright leaves practically beg hunters to take to the woods.
The DNR reports that this year, grouse drumming counts were up 57 percent! That puts this year's grouse drumming count at the same level as the last cycle peak in 2009. Read the full report here. All signs are pointing to a great grouse season for hunters.
Everything you need to know about hunting from a legal standpoint- and more- is on the DNR's grouse hunting page. Be sure you pick up a license online or anywhere licenses are sold (at nearly all convenience stores in the Whitefish Chain Area) and wear your blaze orange. Remember that hunting within 500 feet of buildings occupied by humans or livestock without written permission is illegal.
Wondering where to hunt? There are plenty of areas to choose from! The county and the state both have acres upon acres of hunting lands and miles upon miles of trails. At a state level, Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), hunter walking trails and state forests are all open to hunting. The county has a lot of forest land that is also open to hunting. Some of that land may fall within city limits, which means it's subject to (sometimes stricter) city laws. Ski trails in Cass County are also open to hunting.
There are several county non-motorized hunter walking trails near the Whitefish Chain, listed here. The closest include Scrub Oak, which is southeast of Crosslake, and can be accessed from the Greer Lake Campground. White Pine Non-Motorized Area, located north of Manhattan Beach, is also just a short drive from the Chain. Hunters might also want to check out Pine Ridge Non-Motorized Area, Thompson Creek Non-Motorized Area, and Cranberry Bog Non-Motorized Area. Farther north and east is Daggett Brook Hunter Walking Trail (follow link and click on the name of the trail to see its location).
Whether you bag your limit of grouse or not, enjoy the beautiful fall weather and lovely colors. Don't forget to stop in at a local restaurant- whether it's for an early breakfast, lunch break or hearty dinner after a day of hunting. Good luck hunters!