Maine Grouse Aplenty

Paul Fuller is the gun dog columnist for Northwoods Sporting Journal. The Journal has granted permission to re-print Paul’s articles. Thank you Northwoods Sporting Journal.

December 2012

“Birds are where you find them” is an old saying regarding grouse. And your author found them this fall at Eagle Lake Sporting Camps in Eagle Lake, ME. This past summer, Nathan Theriault, owner of OMM Outfitters, invited me to join him at Eagle Lake Sporting Camps, which is where Nathan houses his hunting guests.

My wife Susan, the dogs and I arrived at the Camps the evening of October 21. It was about a seven hour drive from the Seacoast of New Hampshire. We took I-95 to Rte. 11 at Sherman Mills and followed Rte. 11, almost to the Village of Eagle Lake, which is below Fort Kent. It’s then about a 20-mile drive on logging roads to the camps. During that 20- mile drive, game was plentiful; we saw road grouse, moose and snowshoe rabbits. Both Susan and I agreed that we were in for something good.

And something good was exactly what we discovered. Eagle Lake Sporting Camps is very old but well maintained and quite comfortable. All the cabins overlook Eagle Lake which practically guarantees a daily eagle sighting. The food was deliciously prepared by Gloria and Kristen. But let’s get to the important stuff…hunting birds.

There is substantial cover here for birds and no other sporting camps sharing the woods. We had 19 grouse flushes the first day, 12 the second and 14 the third. Those are very respectable numbers. There were other guests, however, that had as many as 30 grouse flushes in one day. Since these birds had not been overly pressured, many held for the point and provided opportunity for on-the-wing shooting. Although we had points on woodcock, grouse numbers far exceeded woodcock finds. I suspect we were on the tail end of the woodcock migration.

Although a hunter could find the typical thick and heavy New England grouse covert, we located plenty of cover that offered easy walking and good bird numbers. Here’s an interesting story. Twenty miles into the woods, on a logging road, my wife said she saw an apple tree…with apples. Thinking she simply saw some bright colored leaves, I kept driving. On the return trip back to camp, she made me stop and check-out the apple tree. She was right…there were bright red apples on this tree. I can guarantee you that there was never an old farm in this location. This tree must have been the result of a logger or hunter dropping an apple core many years ago. 

Nate had a wonderful group of guests from West Virginia. They had all booked their trip through the Cabela’s store in Wheeling. They were all gentlemen and Susan and I thoroughly enjoyed their company. Many had their first experience with moose. 

The folks at Eagle Lake Sporting Camps run a first-rate operation and Nate is a very attentive host. Nate’s OMM Outfitters is well known for their moose and bear guiding. They have a very high success rate. If you want to try new grouse grounds, enjoy remote country, then give OMM and Eagle Lake Outfitters a try.