Bird Hunting in the North Country

Whether it’s been a tradition in your family for generations, or you are trying it this year for the first time, the thrill of bird hunting has a way of captivating anyone who loves the New England outdoors.

When you’re upland hunting, the tension and excitement grips you as you walk through the autumn wilderness stalking birds hidden in the brush. You’re constantly aware of your surroundings, paying attention to every noise and movement, watching your hunting dogs carefully as they scramble through the woods, searching for a scent, before suddenly standing at point. Then there is the incomparable thrill of the moment of action, when a bird takes flight and you need the presence of mind to stay calm, act fast, and shoot straight.

Bird hunting is arguably autumn’s most exciting outdoor activity, and the North Country is home to some of the best bird hunting habitat in the Northeast. With fall around the corner, now is the time to make plans for your bird hunting trip to the North Country.

With its scrub growth and wetland bogs, the North Country offers ideal ground cover for birds such as pheasant, grouse and woodcock. These birds are attracted the region’s native vegetation, which includes high bush cranberry, raspberry, and mountain ash.

If you’re planning to experience the thrill of bird hunting in the North Country this fall, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Birds move fast when they are spooked, so you need to react just as fast. Keep your gun up and ready, especially once you see your dog go on point.
  • Consider the direction of the wind when stalking birds. You don’t want the wind at your dog’s back. If you hunt into the wind, your dog has a better chance of picking up a scent.
  • If there’s snow on the ground, use it to help you track birds. Snow often arrives early in the North Country and can be a big help to hunters.
  • Hire a local hunting guide. These experts know the best places to hunt and the nuances of bird hunting in the region. Also, if you don’t have your own hunting dogs, they often have exceptionally-trained dogs that you can use.

This year, hunting season for pheasant and grouse begins in New Hampshire on October 1 and lasts through the end of the year. In Vermont, the season begins a few days earlier, on September 29, and also lasts through December 31. Hunting season for woodcock begins in both states on October 1 and lasts through November 14.