Gearing Up For A Grouse Hunt

When my hunting buddy Bill told me he was going grouse hunting in Maine, I was thrilled for him, and a little envious. The trip had long been a dream for him, and he couldn’t wait.

I’d returned to live in Pennsylvania, my homestate, but I’d lived in Mainefor seven years. Bill said he’d be hunting in Maine in mid-October, and over the next fewdays I found myself gathering some gear that I thought he might need and which would be good for any upland trip. The list included:

hunter with two hunting dogs
It’s nearly impossible to carry all the water you’ll need for a day in the woods, hunting with your dogs.


These are coverings, which are attached to boots andperform a couple duties. They keep rocks, twigs and other debris from gettingjammed down into your boots. More importantly, they keep your socks dry. Nomatter how waterproof your boots may be, if your socksget wet the boots will get wet inside. I learned about gaiters when I hiked theAppalachian Trail and saw other, moreexperienced hikers, wearing them.

Lightweight, Small, Internal Frame Pack

I hoped that Bill would experience an abundance of mild days, but I knew thiswas unlikely. In a small pack, Bill could carry a spare set of dry socks, snacks, water, extra shells, and even gear he’d needshould an overnight stay in the woods become necessary — such as an emergencyblanket, emergency whistle and fire starter.


Yes, GPS units are fantastic. Both Bill and I have Garmin Astro’sfor our dogs, and the hand-held unit that accompanies it includes easy-to-usefeatures, which would help you get out of the woods. However, I am familiarwith the area of Maine — north of Moosehead Lake — where Bill plans to hunt. There are fewroads in the area, and the spruce/fir forest is so thick that you can get lostjust 50 yards from the road. GPS units are infallible — but humans can breakthem or lose them. I wanted to know that Bill would have a compass around hisneck should something like that happen.

Hunter putting on hunting boot
Use a pair of liner socks with wool socks for comfort and moisture control.

Water Purification System

Water is heavy to carry, and it’s difficult to start out in the morning withall you’ll need for the day. In Maine, and inthe other New England states, it’s common tocome across a seemingly pristine spring of water, trickling in beauty down acedar-shaded hillside. However, if you follow that pretty spring to its source,you’re likely to find a beaver pond. If you drink water that originates from abeaver pond, you’ll be likely to get an intestinal malady known as giardiasis, or “beaver fever.” It’s best not to take achance.

Liner Socks

Liner socks are worn under the main pair (wool or wool blend) of socks. Theliner socks wick moisture away from the feet, helping prevent blisters.

With the extra supplies gathered, I made one last check of my gear area. I could think of nothing else for Bill to borrow, but I had one more thing to give him — my best wishes for a grouse hunting trip of a lifetime!

For the latest upland hunting gear and dog hunting supplies be sure to visit Sportsman’s Guide.

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