Hunting Grouse


November 28, 2011, 05:36 PM

For hunting grouse with a 12ga, what kind of choke and shot size should one use? Do you have to shoot them in the air or when they are on the ground? And is there a 3 round limit to shots like for waterfowl (i.e. do you need the plug in the mag tube)?

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November 28, 2011, 05:59 PM
I like to use 7-1/2 shot and a modified choke, but I'm no pro.
And I usually put 5 in a tube mag for Ruffed Grouse.
I haven't checked the rule book here in Maine recently,
but I never heard of mag tube plug requirement for 'Partridge',
only for waterfowl.

November 28, 2011, 06:03 PM
That depends on where you are, in Montana you can shoot mountain grouse on the ground or in the air; with a bow, muzzle loader, rifle, pistol or shotgun. For me I like an accurate .22 for head shots. The grouse here are about the easiest thing to get, they are called fool hens for a reason, most shots are with in 10 yds. This year I have killed them with; 2 different .22 pistols, 3 different .22 rifles, my bow, a 1911, an HK USP 40 Compact, a 12 ga and a little bitty 20 ga (18.5"barrel/27OAL). I think a 12 ga is a little too big because of the short range but I just use a skeet choke and back up to 15-20 yds when I find them.

Frozen North
November 28, 2011, 06:06 PM
Mag capacity restrictions vary state to state for non migratory birds. In most cases, yes, you will need to put a plug in your mag tube.

I use 6 shot with a mod tube.

It depends if I have a dog to flush them or if I am finding them the hard way.

November 28, 2011, 06:08 PM
I use modified choke with 2 3/4 in #6 shot. Although, I never specifically hunt grouse, more a target of opportunity when hunting squirrel or pheasant.
# of shell restrictions vary by state and sometimes locations in states. It is best to pick up one of the free DNR hunting reg magazines when you get your license, and see what it says.

November 28, 2011, 06:10 PM
Could I use my trap loads by Remington? Gun Clubs: 2 3/4'', 3 dr equivalent, 1 1/8 oz shot, #8 shot. 1200 fps?

I probably will have to use a IC choke if it's real close? Mod if farther out?

It it like shooting skeet, trap, or sporting clays but harder? (and more fun!)

November 28, 2011, 07:35 PM
For sharptail grouse, here in South Dakota, 2 3/4 7 1/2 or 8s are fine. Later in the season or when the birds are spooky, it's time to move up to 6s or 5s. Ruffed grouse or Blue Grouse, I have no idea.

November 28, 2011, 08:32 PM
Could I use my trap loads by Remington?

Sure, when I shoot them with a shotgun, I use 7 1/2's or 8's, whatever's cheaper. Got a few with bow and centerfire this year too, I like to get em' on the ground myself...

November 28, 2011, 08:57 PM
Here we shoot them is some pretty thick brush, shots are usually less than 20yds. I shoot 6's or 7 1/2's through skeet or i/c choke. For the close in shots, gauge or shot size doesn't make a huge difference. I shoot a 28ga, and my wife has shot a lot of grouse with a .410.

November 28, 2011, 09:39 PM
I prefer plinkin one or two with a .22 in the head out of Russian Olive trees.

November 28, 2011, 09:53 PM
12 ga. auto, 6 or 71/2 shot/improved cyl or modified depending on woods thickness, would not think of shooting one on ground,made a couple doubles, super fun one of the best hunting sports IMO, sure miss it no longer in an area with the ruffed grouse nor have the pesos to get me to where they reside. The sound they make when flushed will get the blood pumping.;)

November 28, 2011, 10:50 PM
Could I use my trap loads by Remington? Gun Clubs: 2 3/4'', 3 dr equivalent, 1 1/8 oz shot, #8 shot. 1200 fps?

I probably will have to use a IC choke if it's real close?
This will work perfectly for you. And I'm going to assume you mean Ruffed Grouse (Partridge) In the woods they live in, IC will get you as far out as you need. If they get farther than IC range, you won't see them in the woods anyway...

In some states it's legal to shoot then on the ground. Minnesota, for one. And no, I never have. Just 'cause...

November 29, 2011, 08:38 AM
I couldnt speak to the choke or shot size issues but i will say this, a few years ago friends invited me to grouse hunt on their property near Beckley West was, hands down, the most brutal 2 days of hunting i have ever experienced. i think i would have really enjoyed it 40 years ago when my body was more able to go along with what my mind said...beautiful place.....hard on old bodies.

November 29, 2011, 12:19 PM
Why was it hard on the body vs other types of hunting?

I hear the Ithaca Model 37 is good for upland. What do you guys know about it? I hear it's good at a lot of things too.. like in the jungles of Viet Nam, in the duckblind, in the forest slaying deer..(oh and in Los Angeles :P)

November 29, 2011, 01:16 PM
Here in upstate NY on ruffed grouse I use #4 shot from my 12ga model 12 Winchester pump. Improved cylinder. I found the smaller shot pesky for cleaning, not as much knock down power as the #4. They drop fast with the #4.

Pete D.
November 29, 2011, 02:01 PM
I hunt grouse in PA. Three shells are all that are allowed in the gun.
I use 2 3/4" 12 gauge, #6 shot. The choke depends on the time of year. Early on, I use IC and then switch to M when the leaves drop (or when I am hunting more open areas.
No shooting on the ground. I wait till the little boogers fly.
Some of the terrain which we hunt is quite rough - Rocks, Huckleberry, more rocks, Barberry, rocks, Autumn Olive and ---did I mention rocks?
PA grouse hunters see, on average, one bird per hour.

November 29, 2011, 03:47 PM
the year before i went grouse hunting i had open heart surgery to replace a bad valve, so that probably didnt help. West Virginia near Beckley is dang near verticle and my god the jungle tangle of brush was nearly impenitrable. lots of boulders, rock out cropping, drop offs and from where i stood it all looked straight up. in days past ive hunted in the rockies and in alaska, canada etc but West Virginia kicked my tail those two days.

November 29, 2011, 04:51 PM
The rules up here are; tube plugged for two + one in the pipe. The grouse here are in a bit of a down cycle. I use a Browning B2000 in 20 ga., straight cylinder with a cut down barrel and #7 1/2 upland game loads. Fits nicely between the fenders of my Polaris ATV.

November 29, 2011, 05:14 PM
Yeah it's 2 in the tube and 1 in the chamber here as well.

November 29, 2011, 09:29 PM
Ruffed grouse are common in Northern parts of this state and I love hunting them when I get a chance. They mostly live in thick cover. You only get a quick shot when they flush into more cover btu if you hit them they die easy. A light good pointing shotgun with an open choke and 6, 71/2 or 8 work best. This is when quality pays in a shotgun.
If you don't get scratched up you haven't been hunting right. Rarely do you see them in a branch or on the ground in the open but it does happen in good years and early in the season where I hunt. There are several types of grouse and partridge.

Pete D.
November 30, 2011, 08:43 AM
If you don't get scratched up you haven't been hunting right.
Ha! LOL.
That is a very true observation about hunting ruffed grouse.

November 30, 2011, 11:12 PM
No grouse in my area, but in times past, as well as present for upland game birds, I use a double barrel side by side (2 triggers) with an IC choke 1st barrel and Mod for 2nd. 2 3/4" #6 shot.

December 3, 2011, 05:13 PM
I like my 16ga side by side. But when I use my pump or auto, I do plug it to 3 shots. Grouse inhabit the same cover as woodcock which are covered by the legal requirement of migratory birds and then comes the 3 shot rule. Also, 7 1/2 or 8's should work well. Have fun, Jim

December 3, 2011, 06:42 PM
7 1/2 IC early season. 6 modified late season when the leaves are off and the birds are skittish.

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