Take a journey on a hunter mentor trip in New Hampshire for ruffed grouse and American woodcock.
If there is one candid and honest reality of good mentoring, it’s that it requires a level of sacrifice and selfless courage — from surrendering one’s own uninterrupted time in the field to the revealing of our sacred covers that we hunt. We also live in a time of changing ideology and culture where leaving one’s own political and judgmental baggage at the door has become paramount. Ruffed grouse hunting is not considered for the faint of heart, as many continue to find out that challenge itself is very much a part of the allure.
The ruffed grouse is my outlet from life. I live my life for October and to be in the uplands it is just a release from all the stresses in life. Nothing is really going on other than me being in tune with my dogs and the woods… Some of my best memories hunting have been empty tailgate days.Joe Levesque – Northeast Regional Director of the Ruffed Grouse Society
Joe Levesque, Northeast Regional Director of the Ruffed Grouse Society, took it upon himself to mentor someone from a world that is often far from our nostalgic and vintage lifestyles: the black gun community. Alex Costa is owner of ANR Design, a company specializing in the manufacturing of holsters in Manchester, N.H. Alex’s love for the outdoors and family history of fishing (and eating the fish caught) drew him into taking a step towards hunting. But with barriers of entry — like learning ruffed grouse habitat, bird dogs, and other knowledge vital to this pursuit — it makes the want and need for a mentor prevalent.
“You can’t put a cap on how much nature is around you and how much wilderness is ingrained into you when you are just out there mucking along with your dogs . . . ”Alex Costa – Live for October
Converging on the north woods of New Hampshire along with friend Zach Hein, they took a journey into ruffed grouse and woodcock country at the end of October. With an unpredictable winter front, the hunting went from some of the best populations in recent years to hard days with minimal contacts.
From scoring American woodcock flights and first birds, this story shows the difficulties, the culture, the food, and the idea of being at the mercy of Mother Nature.
Going to hunting cabins elsewhere you just don’t see this level of heritage. You might have a couple photos from back in the day but you don’t have an entire cabin lined with the memories of two dozen people . . . To some people it might just be a trophy but that’s a memory for that entire group of folks that were here. And to just see that they have done this for forty, fifty, sixty years, that’s a lot of heritage. Its not something you see a lot of places.Zach Hein – CZ USA
A.J. DeRosa is an American filmmaker and the Founder and Creative Director of Northwoods Collective. While he is most widely known for the award-winning Project Upland series, he made his first mark in the hunting industry as the critically-acclaimed author of the cult classic The Urban Deer Complex and, more recently, The Urban Deer Complex 2.0. A.J. expanded his work toward the larger mission of recruiting and welcoming millennial hunters by conducting and applying cutting-edge market research across the Northwoods Collective brands. Now a passionate bird hunter, you can find A.J. following Grim, a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, through the uplands with his wife, Sabrina, and oldest son, Marty McFly.