woodgrain

Growing up in Northern Wisconsin, in the heart of the greatest grouse country in the world, I have always been puzzled by the lack of true grouse specialists on the local bird dog scene. The only explanation I can think of for this phenomenon is that the level of difficulty involved in producing a true grouse dog is too high for most commercial kennels to view it as economically feasible. Most of the local kennels focus on producing duck and pheasant dogs, some of which work passably well on ruffed grouse. For the true grouse hunting aficionado “passably well” is not an option.

In my search for a grouse dog that would meet my exacting criterion, the one name that repeatedly emerged was George Ryman. The Ryman Setters bred by George, his wife Ellen, and following George’s death, Carl Calkins, were, by all accounts the epitome of grouse dogs. They were beautifully built setters with the brains to handle the most challenging of game birds, and personalities that made them ideal companions during the rest of the year.

Ken Alexander, with his DeCoverly Kennels was the heir to this legacy, and although he never presumed to call his dogs “Ryman Setters” they were, in practicality if not in name, the continuation of Ryman's tradition. Ken left DeCoverly in 2009, taking with him a lifetime of experience in breeding the best grouse dogs in the world. The mission of Nudrap Setters is to carry on the 100 year old Ryman Tradition, by breeding old fashioned English Setters with beauty, intelligence, pleasing personalities, and most importantly , inborn grouse sense.

We are a small kennel, located in the heart of true grouse country. Our brood stock has been trained, field finished and proven on wild eastern ruffed grouse. By drawing on the breeding experience and advice graciously provided by Ken Alexander, as well as first-hand experience hunting with these dogs in the grouse woods we are producing a small number of first class setters.

“While other American game birds may well demand the respect of the confirmed grouse hunter, the present day ruffed grouse is far more of a problem for a dog to handle than any other. He is the craftiest of all our game birds.”

William Harden Foster, New England Grouse Shooting.