Peter Patenaude, a registered Maine guide, has been a Filson advocate for over six years. His blog Boot & Canoe, focuses on traditional skills and Maine’s outdoor heritage. Peter shares some more tips for a successful partridge hunt.
Partridge hunting can be a difficult thing. Chasing those small brown and tan chickens through the woods is sometimes a very frustrating experience, even if you have fully prepared for, and researched, the hunt. When starting out, a dog spoiled me by letting me know when a grouse was nearby. She was a great companion that taught me many lessons and will surely never be replaced– I think her last lesson was to teach me how to find small game on my own. Over many seasons spent in the woods, with both successful and unsuccessful trips, I have come to realize certain patterns and tricks for finding birds.
1. Habitat- Look in wet places; I will often jump multiple grouse after originally only spotting one, so be ready.
2. Trees- Do not only look on the ground. Partridge will often sit up in trees and you can commonly see groups of 4 or 5 of them in the same one.
3. Listen- I cannot count how many birds I have found by hearing them walk in the leaves.
4. Time and Temperature- Pay attention to both of these. You will start to notice a pattern of when certain roads and areas "turn on."
5. Stop- When walking, a bird will hold up and wait for you to pass by. If you stop, it will get nervous and bust, giving you your shot.
6. Look- Let yourself take everything in and your eyes will pick up on movement– usually the neck and head.
7. Search- It is very easy to lose a bird after it has been shot. If possible, they will always find fallen trees or brush to bury themselves under, so take your time and search these areas and you will usually walk out with one in hand.