FLOODWOOD TOWNSHIP, Minn. — This is what the Fries family looks forward to all year.
Not 100 yards out from where we parked the trucks, Viper, their diminutive female Gordon setter, was already locked on point in a scruffy patch of tag alder. The cowbell she wore on her collar that clanged when she moved was dead silent.
Dean Fries, 60, was circling in from the left. Sons Lukus, 17, and Caleb, 16, were closing in on Viper’s stiff tail.
Each held their double-barrel shotguns chest-high, ready to go. Whatever was in the cover was holding tight just beyond the dog’s nose.
The Fries family — including Jill, wife and mother — have made Gordon setters and grouse a big part of their life. Breeding, raising, training, boarding and hunting behind the dogs have become a family affair for the Fries family at their home and Clearcut Kennels in Culver, Minn., just northwest of Duluth.
And it’s in October when they really get to see the fruits of their yearlong labor.
“We’ll be out every weekend. Plus this is when I take most of my vacation,” Dean Fries