Jerry was first introduced to the great sport of grouse hunting at the age of 10. His father, Randy, took him hunting with the “Lundeen Boys” near Little Falls MN. He took along his single shot, hammer 20 gauge H&R. With his trusty sidearm and a great shot he bagged his first grouse. For a young boy on his first hunt and the success of having something to put in his bird bag it was enough to fuel what has turned into a constant love affair with grouse and woodcock hunting.
He received his first setter, named “Winnie” from a family friend. “Winnie” was not the greatest of bird hunters but had a passion for pointing chipmunks in the back yard. These points created a curiosity and need for more information on pointing dogs and bird hunting. Over the years and a few good setters later, marriage to his high school sweetheart, Brenda, 3 kids and a move to Michigan for work gave Jerry the opportunity to hunt anything that flew under the “guise of work.” Jerry worked for a sporting goods rep group that represented some of the largest names in the sporting goods industry. Remington Arms, Zebco, Zeiss, and Quantum to name a few. Rather than have meetings at a golf course he would take customers shooting sporting clays, talking business at a pheasant club or grouse and woodcock hunting in the U.P. of Michigan. As his inventory of good dogs grew, one dog “Gauge”, set himself apart from the pack as a great hunting dog. It wasn’t long and Jerry’s co-workers started asking him to guide their customers. This is when Jerry started guiding rather than hunting. He just wanted to get birds for the dogs. He answered every offer with a yes to places that brought him to Maine, Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and back home in Minnesota. It only took a cordial invitation and he was on his way.
Jerry and Brenda had an opportunity to purchase a small rep group that was focused on the outdoor gift and home décor business. It was great to be back in Minnesota for family and of course the bird hunting. The latter was the main reason he settled his family in Grand Rapids, the heart of grouse hunting in Minnesota and a half hour drive to the family cabin, now known as Pineridge Grouse Camp.
It was in in the tail end of a busy travel schedule in 2006 that Brenda noticed he wasn’t his usual upbeat self. He reluctantly went to the doctor for a battery of tests and soon was told he had a rare form of cancer, cancer of the appendix. After 9 surgeries, selling the gift & home décor business and taking stock in what is important, the family decided to create Pineridge Grouse Camp on the family deer hunting camp in Remer Minnesota.
The fall is the best part of the year as Jerry gets to share his passion for grouse, woodcock and bird dogs with people from all over the country coming to Pineridge. A full kennel of English Pointers from Hampshire Kennels and of course, “Big Al” his lead guide dog, Jerry has never looked back at his decision to create one of the best-kept secrets in grouse & woodcock hunting in the country.
Kyle spent his first 18 years in southern Ohio, not too far from the Kentucky boarder. His childhood consisted of exploring the woods and fields with Labrador retrievers, catching crawdads in the near-by crick, and fishing walleye on Lake Erie. Kyle studied wildlife biology in college and his vocation for wildlife conservation has so far taken him to move to Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and finally, Minnesota; a true Midwesterner.
Kyle first experience in the “north woods” and with timberdoodles was in 2009 while working at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge near Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Kyle fell in love with the upper Midwest and moved to Minnesota permanently in 2011. Kyle spent his springs and summers of 2009 – 2013 researching woodcock at Tamarac. During this time he spent over 5,000 hours walking woodcock cover, finding birds, and talking woodcock biology, habitat, and management with fellow guides Donna Dustin and Earl Johnson. Kyle’s research on woodcock resulted in a Master’s degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management from the University of Minnesota. During this time he also met the Jerry and Randy Havel, whose passion for woodcock rival his own. Since graduating, Kyle works as a wildlife biologist in the Twin Cities Metro Area.
Time chasing woodcock in the spring and summer led him to pick up a side by side shotgun and chase them in the fall as well, along with grouse, waterfowl, and any other winged game. Wanting a versatile hunting partner after finishing up graduate school, Kyle has a three year-old Wirehaired Pointing Griffon named Leopold (“Leo” for short). Kyle and Leo get “up north” as much as possible and look forward to spending time at Pineridge each fall. Leo works fairly close and is hard on point which is ideal for a relaxing hunt through the golden aspen leaves.
Kyle is happy to share his knowledge about woodcock, but will also talk at length about any and all wildlife and share some good hunting tales as well.
Donna was born and raised on the seacoast of New Hampshire (yes, NH does have a seacoast!). She was always drawn to dogs and the great outdoors. Most afternoons you would find her wandering the woods behind her house with a goofy labrador – old English sheepdog cross. She studied natural resource management at Cornell University, although she had no idea how she would make a living at it. Along with a hefty dose of science, college also offered the opportunity to learn trap shooting and bee keeping as well as to become a rabid hockey fan. A career did in fact develop for her, as a series of jobs plus pursuing a Master’s degree led her to upstate New York, Saskatchewan, and Wisconsin, before finally landing her first permanent job with the Minnesota DNR. Since 1998 she has been a fisheries research biologist with the DNR in Detroit Lakes, where she lives with her husband.
The worst part about years of schooling and renting apartments was not having a dog. After rescuing an elderly English setter cross, she wanted her next dog to have a job, but wasn’t sure which dog sport to pursue. Then she moved to Detroit Lakes and met Earl Johnson, who introduced her to upland bird hunting and helped her find her first bird dog (a four year old English setter). That spring, he took her out to band American Woodcock, and a passion was born. Although her setter never did learn the secrets of nesting woodcock, she was determined to band birds. A wish list of traits for her next dog and a lot of research, led her to buy a small munsterlander, one of the German versatile pointers. Donna and Annie went on to become a productive woodcock banding team, and they spent many happy hours enjoying the ‘catch and release’ season. Together they banded over 300 woodcock. In 2015, Earl Johnson retired from his volunteer position of managing Minnesota’s woodcock banding program and Donna was convinced to take over the administrative duties. With the help of Jerry and Pineridge Grouse Camp, a training program for new banders has been successful in getting new banders certified each year and the program is growing.
Of course, fall hunting is a big part of Donna’s life as well, although if you get her started talking about woodcock banding you might not know it. The majority of her time is spent pursuing grouse and woodcock, but she also hunts pheasants and prairie chickens from time to time. The thrill of working as a team with a dog who is doing the job they were born to do is the best part of hunting, be it spring or fall. Her current bird dog is a two year old Kleine Munsterlander (the name for a German bred small munsterlander) who is proving to be quite a bird dog and an excellent woodcock finder. Always ready for new adventures, Donna is looking forward to guiding at Pineridge and talking birds and dogs around the campfire.
Tony was born in Evansville, Indiana and lived there until the age of 10. He then moved around a lot, living in a total of 6 different states due to his father’s career. They finally settled down in Anoka, Minnesota when Tony was a sophomore in high school.
Tony was introduced to bird dogs by a neighbor in Anoka who field trialed English Setters and Pointers. He spent many days in the field learning how to train dogs with his new friend and soon bought a dog of his own. A well bred German Shorthair named Jud was the start of his passion. He raised several litters of pups, trained his own dogs and dabbled in field trials but his true love is chasing grouse and woodcock behind his dogs. So much in fact he and his hunting partner won the National Grouse and Woodcock hunt put on by the Ruffed Grouse Society every year in Grand Rapids Minnesota.
Tony became a Minnesota State Trooper and served the citizens of Minnesota for 24 years. He pent 13 years on the SWAT Team with his good friend and fellow Pineridge guide Tony Follen. He also became a K9 handler and was the K9 trainer during the last 6 years of his career. Tony also trained the handler and the dog that won the 2011 National Detector Dog Championships held in Mississippi. He retired in June of 2013 and started a full time fishing guide business on Rainy Lake.
Tony and his wife Roz live in International Falls with their son Andrew. Tony also has 3 boys, Jared, Jake and Joel who are avid outdoorsman as well. Tony has been friends with the Havel family for 30 years and has been guiding at Pineridge Grouse Camp since its inception. He loves being a part of the PGC family along with his two English Setters, Ace and Buzz.
Tony was born in Milwaukee, WI and moved to the Minneapolis, MN area later that year. His family built a cabin near Longville when he was about 7 and that became his favorite memory of childhood. He spent every summer and fall vacation and many weekends there. His parents fostered a love of the outdoors in him although they might not have realized the extent of his passion for hunting. He took the first fall off after HS and skipped college to live at the cabin with his Golden Retriever and hunt upland birds and deer until it was time to come home for Thanksgiving.
He started college that winter at the University of Minnesota – Crookston majoring in Wildlife Management. He worked for Professor Gordon Gullion trapping and banding Ruffed Grouse as part of an internship and later worked for him again at another grouse research site, again trapping and banding birds. Tony started working for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources during the summer season. One of his bosses turned him onto pointing dogs. He field trialed German Shorthairs and Brittanys and also had English setters. He started bringing Tony to horseback field trials and it was not long before Tony had a Shorthair puppy and started field trialing locally.
Tony had changed his college major after 3 years in Wildlife to Law Enforcement. It took a couple more years to get the required classes to become a licensed police officer in MN. During that time he guided at a shooting preserve while he was attending classes to help pay the bills.
He became a Trooper with the Minnesota State Patrol. During the first few years of his career, Tony became interested in grouse dog field trials. Grouse hunting was still his passion in the fall. He made the switch to English Setters and English Pointers and a couple of Tennessee Walking Horses. He trained off horseback on the prairies in the Dakotas during the summers on Sharptail Grouse and trained / competed in the woods during the spring and fall on Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock. Tony’s best dog finished in the top 12 grouse dogs nationally and was invited to compete in the National Invitational Grouse Championship. Much of this time was spent learning from Jerry Kolter and how he handled his grouse and woodcock setters and pointers.
Tony’s trooper career was getting busier; he started teaching as an instructor in Firearms and Police Combatives. He also was assigned to the departments SWAT Team. Tony was married and has two wonderful sons. The oldest, Hunter is a junior in college majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Jack, is a college freshman majoring in Marketing.
Tony was assigned full time to his departments training unit. With more job responsibilities and travel and a change in marriage status, field trialing bird dogs ended.
He married his sweetheart Cheryl and has been married to her for 10 years. Cheryl has a daughter named Caroline. She is a freshman in high school. Tony retired spring of 2013 from the Minnesota State Patrol after 27.5 years. When he retired he was Team Leader of the state’s SWAT team with 21years of service and took a job with Metro Transit Police Department (he worked for them for 21years part time) full time and is assigned to their training unit. Tony and Cheryl live in Shakopee, MN (until Caroline graduates HS) with 3 dogs, Bria and Piper, small mixed breed dogs and Lucy an English Pointer.
Tony was first introduced to Jerry about 20 years ago through a mutual friend training dogs. Tony Snyder, a long time friend, SWAT brother and guide at PGC asked if he wanted to have some fun every fall. With his English Pointer Lucy he’s now a part of the Pineridge Grouse Camp family.
Earl N. Johnson
Moccasin Wood Setters
Earl “ The Pearl” Johnson as he’s known at Pineridge Grouse Camp was raised in the town of Fertile, MN hunting with his brothers in the rich farmland as the towns name suggests. Earl attended University of MN receiving a BS in Wildlife Management in Aug 1970 and Worked for MN Department of Natural resources from Jan 1971 and retired in 2010 as the Area Wildlife Manager, Detroit Lakes, MN.
One of Earl’s passions is spring woodcock banding. He has been very influential in the Minnesota banding program and helps every year with the Woodcock wingbee with other Timberdoodle aficionados. One of his jobs is to age and sex every grouse and woodcock that is harvested at Pineridge so we have very accurate numbers and to compare them with the numbers nation wide.
“The Pearl” now enjoys a retired existence in rural Detroit Lakes with Dotz who has kept him out of jail since Sept 1969 and four English Setters who help find birds and the way back to the truck each day of spring banding woodcock and each day of fall hunting prairie grouse, ruffed grouse and woodcock. He was Pineridge Grouse Camp’s first guide and has been a very vital part of the success of Pineridge in such a short time. And if you’re really lucky Kevin will play the Earl song around the fire.
I have guided grouse hunters at PineRidge Grouse Camp for the past two seasons. But… I have also guided at the National Grouse and Woodcock Hunt for 30 if its 32 years with my assigned hunt area being northeast of Remer, Mn. But… I have also been hunting the area north of Remer since 1970 when I started dating my now wife of 39 years that had a cabin and tree farm on Vermillion Lake. I do know the Remer area well.
I currently have three dogs to my pack:
Cricket is an 11 year old Pointer with loads of experience on Grouse and Woodcock, and anything else within a long days drive of Minnesota.
Fannie is a 6 year old Drahthaar in her prime as a Grouse dog, with training up to the point of running in the NAVHDA Invitational. A no muss, no fuss dog that gets it done no matter what.
Lena is the new dog to the pack. Just a puppy in 2013, she is already producing Grouse and Woodcock to the gun, and just having a blast doing it!
I spent 35 years working for Robert Bosch in Brooklyn Park, MN, starting as an Electrical Engineer, then EE Manager, then Engineering Manager, then Director of Operations, and finishing up as Director of Regulatory Compliance. I accepted an early retirement offer in 2008, hoping to be able to take at least a couple years off entirely. Didn’t even get out the door before Bosch set their hooks back in to me as a consultant, and Purina latched on to me as a Field Consultant for the Sporting Dogs Marketing Group. Since then, Jerry has taken all of my free time in October to guide grouse hunters at PGC. I used to do a fair amount of fishing in my off time, but if things don’t open up soon, I may just sell my boat. Oh, and to add fuel to the fire, I Judge hunting dog tests and band Woodcock for the USF&WS in the spring. A truly catch and release hunting!
W. J. Worrell
W. J. was born in rural Southwest Virginia and blessed with a Dad that instilled a passion for hunting and all things out-of-doors. He grew up hunting quail and grouse with setter dogs where a lifetime of great memories in the uplands was established. W. J. went to college at Virginia Tech and earned a BS in Biochemistry and subsequently went to work for Hercules Powder Company at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant as a Chemist. Besides hunting, shooting and reloading had also become major interests. Fortunately, Hercules needed scientists with interests in gun performance and ballistics. So within 6 months of joining Hercules W. J. became a “Propellant Development Engineer” and for most of the rest of his 30 year career, his job was essentially also his hobby. He felt the need for additional education and went back to Virginia Tech part time while working full time for Hercules and earned an MS in Physical Chemistry. W. J. progressed in various engineering/technical functions to Technical Director, Chief Scientist, Chief Engineer and ultimately Program Manager where he ran the Alliant Powder Business. He holds several patents for propellants, propellant processing and ammunition design. W. J. has traveled extensively for work but most recently spent several months in Australia assisting with a propellant plant start-up (so he might call you “Mate”). After a great 30 year career with Hercules and Alliant Techsystems (ATK) W. J. was fortunate enough to retire and become a consultant which has left much more time for upland hunting. His consulting business is aptly named “UpLand Propellant Technologies, LLC”. W. J. has one other consuming passion and that is shooting Sporting Clays.
W. J. met Donna, the love of his life, at work and they have been happily married for more than 27 years. They have one daughter, Brittney, who is a senior in HS and plans to go into Pre-Med this fall. The Worrells have 3 dogs, a 10 year old setter named Max, a 6 year old Golden named Dakota, and a brand new setter pup named Jazzy. Jazzy was a popular feature at Pineridge as resident pup this last grouse season.
W. J. and his hunting partner Danny met the Havels through a mutual friend about a decade ago and both became infatuated with grouse hunting in Northern Minnesota. After a couple of 1 week hunting trips to the Havel cabin, they wised up and started staying for two weeks. Over the years W. J. and Danny learned how to find the best covers and also became known as the guys to go with if a LONG brisk walk through the toughest cover was desirable (the best birds are typically a ways off the beaten path). Guiding became an unspoken agreement between these two and Jerry with all parties reaping the benefits. So for the 2013 season, being freshly retired, W. J. spent almost all of October at Pineridge guiding for Jerry and as Earl’s roommate. What a great opportunity to meet the most interesting and accomplished people who were at Pineridge to hunt the “King of the Uplands”.
W. J. plans on being a “Pineridge Regular” for a long time, so if you like propulsion science, high performance weapons, and cool stuff that goes bang, he will tell you all about his profession/hobby and he will take you hunting too.
Barry Godwin calls himself a native born Texican. Living his life in Texas, you may wonder how he became a grouse guide in Minnesota. He started young, hunting Bobwhite quail in Texas with his dad. Barry was a bird dog guy from that point on. Introduced to Woodcock hunting in south Louisiana wet his interest and after a bit of research he landed at Pine Ridge as a regular.
Barry and his very understanding wife Cathleen live in Lipan Texas. Together the operate Barb Wire Kennels, raising and training their beloved French Brittany’s. Barry guides wild quail hunts in Texas and hunts upland birds across the US. He also has an affection of field trialing, as a handler and a judge. Barry and Cathleen have two daughters, Jordan of Jacksboro, Texas and Bailea of Sumter, South Carolina.