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#29 | All About Grouse Dogs with Jerry Kolter of Northwoods Bird Dogs – Project Upland Podcast

#29 | All About Grouse Dogs with Jerry Kolter of Northwoods Bird Dogs – Project Upland Podcast

an English setter being trained as a grouse dog.

On this week’s episode of the Project Upland Podcast we are joined by Jerry Kolter of Northwoods Bird Dogs.

Jerry has been hunting with, training and breeding English setters and pointers for decades. Jerry, along with his wife, Betsy, owns and operates Northwoods Bird Dogs in Sandstone, Minn.

On today’s show Jerry and I discuss his upland hunting history as well as how he got into field trials, training and breeding English setters and pointers. We talk about hunting methods and techniques as well as some of Jerry’s training processes. Tune in to this episode to learn all about grouse dogs!

For more about Northwoods Bird Dogs, check out their website — and excellent blog at:

Grouse and Woodcock Hunting Magazine Ad Fall 2022

From the website:

Northwoods Bird Dogs was founded in 2002 by husband-and-wife team Jerry Kolter and Betsy Danielson. They are adjacent to 2,000 acres of private land and are surrounded by thousands of acres of public land. A healthy mix of habitat holds populations of ruffed grouse and migrating woodcock in the woods while the fields are home to coveys of sharp-tailed grouse. The kennel itself has only 20 runs and Jerry and Betsy like it that way. They purposely limit both the litters they breed and the number of dogs they train. Individual care and attention are primary concerns for them. Together Jerry and Betsy move south for several weeks during the winter. They bring their own dogs and a select group of client dogs for specific training on quail.

Listen: Breeding and Developing Wild Bird Dogs with Jerry Kolter of Northwoods Bird Dogs – Episode #107

Get it on iTunes: Project Upland Podcast – Episode 29

The Project Upland Podcast is brought to you in part by: Pineridge Grouse Camp – Adventure Awaits & OnX Hunt

View Comment (1)
  • I enjoyed the talk with Jerry, I especially noted a couple points you covered:

    I got a kick out of Jerry’s story of the early English Setter that would make difficult retrieves but if a bird fell nearby on dry ground “he’d look at you and just say, hey you get it”. My setters, especially the younger one are that way!

    You referred to “an old wive’s tale” 🙂 . Jerry said he’s seen dogs circle around ahead and pin birds with quail, heard of it on pheasants, but has never seen a dog do it on grouse. This topic also came up with your recent talk with Kyle Warren and he said they are rare dogs and he has 2 grouse dogs that will circle around and pin birds and they’re the only 2 he’s ever had and he refers to them as “superstars”. The reason I’m interested in this is because my younger dog has been doing this increasingly over the past 2 or 3 seasons but I didn’t realize it was that unusual until I heard these 2 trainers speak about it and they’ve seen and worked many dogs over many years. So I guess I have to count myself as very lucky!

    It also ties in to the technique you’ve been doing when approaching the dog’s point by circling wide and coming in from ahead of the dog, which is something I’ve also been trying to do more, because it helps on birds that might otherwise run out from the point. I think it also tends to get the birds to flush higher which offers better shooting than a low flushing bird. My favorite scene is coming up on my dog on point and she is pointing right at me because it means that bird is likely pinned between us and that gets my adrenaline going!

    I don’t know if you’ve seen this on “how to prepare to shoot a grouse” but it looks like a tip that is worthwhile and I want to try it out this year:

    I really liked one of his wrap up statements that one of the most important things you can do is get your dog on lots of wild birds and let them develop naturally because that sums up my strategy with my dogs.

    Thanks for another great listen!

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