STONEYBROOK OUTFITTERS & GORDON SETTERSWhether guiding clients for grouse and woodcock in Minnesota, Virginia, or his home state of North Carolina, Stephen Faust is at home behind his string of finished Gordon setters. His has been a nearly 40-year obsession with birds as wild and unpredictable as the terrain in which they live. It’s also been the endless pursuit for the perfect dog, that one-in-a-lifetime setter that brings immeasurable joy and pleasure whether the bells rings or the clapper’s stop. Faust’s pursuit for Ruffed grouse and American woodcock has lead him far from his home coverts in the Virginia highlands and mountains and lowlands of North Carolina. His season begins in September in the alder and poplar runs in Northern Minnesota. When his time in the Great Lakes concludes, Faust follows the woodcock south. Faust guides in Virginia and in North Carolina from November through late February. Bird hunting trips are held on a combination of private and public land, with double-guns and pointing dogs. Faust is a dog man, and each of his fully-broke Gordon setters has been part of a 20-year breeding program. In addition, every setter in the Stoneybrook Kennels’ string has been trained exclusively on wild birds. Come join him for a hunt in Minnesota or the Mid-South. The bird counts, like the weather, varies from time to time, but the quality, tradition, and passion in each hunt is unsurpassed.
NORTH CAROLINA GUIDED HUNTS
VIRGINIA GUIDED HUNTS
MINNESOTA GUIDED HUNTS
ABOUT THE GUIDED HUNTSIt’s difficult to beat fall in the Northwoods of Minnesota. The abundance of primary and secondary-growth forests is what generates strong Ruffed grouse and woodcock populations. Expect full foliage and challenging shooting until the middle of the month when the leaves fall from the trees. Grouse are traditionally bunched up at this time of year, and depending on the spring’s hatch, flushes average between 15-20 per day. Last year’s record of 47 starts represented the peak. As resident woodcock are replaced by migrating birds, daily numbers average between 20-30/starts-per-day. The terrain is flat which makes for easier walking through the dogwood, multi-flora rose, aspen stands and alder runs. Virginia and North Carolina is in the Southern Appalachians and is a region characterized by hilly terrain. Faust’s bird coverts are a mix of abandoned farmland and hard and softwood stands pockmarked with numerous small, mountain streams. The Ruffed grouse counts average between 6-8 starts per day. The combination of resident and flight woodcock adds to the daily bird contacts. Southern Appalachian grouse hunting requires a lot of walking along river bottom lowlands and upland hillsides, so good physical fitness is helpful to enjoy the day.
ABOUT STONEYBROOK GORDON SETTERSFaust’s expansive bird dog experience across numerous breeds led him to the settle on the Gordon setter. The black and tan Gordons were first developed in the mid-1500’s by The Duke of Gordon in the Gordon Castle of Scotland. Bred to hunt the Famous Red Grouse of the Highlands, the Gordon comes from a lineage of uncanny scenting ability and memory. For two decades Faust has maintained his own breeding program to expand upon the breed’s superior characteristics, and his string of finished dogs represents the peak of his career. Your dogs are welcome, too! Of course, bring them along and we’ll give them some work. All dogs must have current vaccinations including kennel cough. Bring as many as you wish, we love dogs.
GUNS & GEARGauge isn’t as important as action, but break-action guns are a requirement. Over/unders or side-by-sides please. Shot sizes for grouse range from #7 1/2-8, and woodcock loads of #8-9 are ideal. Wear your normal upland bird hunting clothing. Shooting shirts, blaze orange hats and vests, and your choice of brushpants or chaps. Weather temperatures fluctuate so be sure to pack along warm clothing such as fleece or wool vests, waxed-cotton jackets and shooting gloves. Eye protection is recommended. We’ll walk significant distances each day, so good boots are a must. The choice is yours, but consider knee-high Wellington-style rubber boots. These boots are especially helpful in both Minnesota and the mid-South. What’s Provided Faust provides transportation to and from the coverts, bird dogs, and a field picnic lunch. Lunch includes sandwiches, soft drinks and water, and dessert. Faust is a former chef, and for an additional fee gourmet lunches served streamside may be prepared on request. Examples range from gourmet burgers to bison filets. Cheeses from around the world make a great starter and a Crème Brulee always ends a meal nicely. What’s Not You are responsible for your gear, licenses and any permit fees for state or national forest lands. Please check with the state we plan to hunt for their particular requirements. Woodcock hunting requires a HIP stamp. Your dogs are welcome, too! Of course, bring them along and we’ll give them some work. All dogs must have current vaccinations including kennel cough. Bring as many as you wish, we love dogs.
There is a reason why there aren’t a tremendous number of bird hunting guides that focus on Ruffed grouse and migratory woodcock. Simply put, it ain’t easy. Stephen Faust has devoted his life to these wonderful birds and it shows on every trip. He’s knowledgeable, has a string of outstanding Gordon setters, and a tremendous number of coverts. The fact that he has logged many hours outside of his home area is a plus, for that experience further contributes to his hunting style. Faust works hard, he works smart, and its always a pleasure to spend a day in the woods with him. Tom Keer
After hunting with Stephen and his Gordons for the last five or so years, I can honestly say he and his dogs are top shelf. Stephen is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet and he knows his birds. As a professional outdoor photographer, who specializes in bird hunting and sporting dogs, I can tell you there is nothing better than following classic dogs in classic coverts. Walking in on a Gordon Setter on point is like stepping into a painting. Chip Laughton
Stephen took my son and me on a woodcock hunt in December 2016. This was the first chance we’d had to hunt together in nearly 5 years due to his numerous military deployments. Thanks to Stephen’s experience and the excellent work of his Gordon Setters, we flushed 16 birds. My son got his 3 bird limit and I got 2; but only due to my poor shooting. I’ve not seen my son so relaxed in years. He was finally able to talk about what he had experienced overseas. Stephen is a great host and the Gordons are a pleasure to hunt with. We’ll definitely be planning another trip. Don Mallicoat