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First Time Grouse Hunter Help

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Axel Larson, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. CmpsdNoMore

    CmpsdNoMore Well-Known Member

    While running a 26 miles trap line on an ATV for two weeks on October I would see 3 - 8 grouse every day. They were generally right on the sides of logging roads (narrow and wide) and wouldn't flush until I was right on them.

    I wanted to get out and get a few for dinner, but I never had the time.

    They are interesting birds. One day I saw 3 on the half mile driveway, one of which thought it was safer to run down the driveway in front of the car rather than fly away. The very same day someone I know was hunting the same property and didn't see a thing.
  2. Axel Larson

    Axel Larson Well-Known Member

    The reason the gun was unloaded was because the hill was very steep, as in almost cliff like, and I thought it was safer unloaded, since my balance would not have allowed me to take a shot if I wanted.
  3. outboard

    outboard Member

    I put grouse hunting in same category as walking the dog. At the end of the day... well at least we got some exercise. I routinely flush several per day with a .30-06 in hand when I'm out for elk, sure do scare the heck out of me sometimes. I'll often see them along side the forest roads when I'm driving up there. However when I go afield with the 870, a pocket full of shells, my dog and a PB&J sandwich I rarely see grouse, but often see a host of other wildlife. I love grouse hunting, I been at it a while, and maybe some day I'll even be good at it.

    As for Chukar hunting I don't know that i'll ever be "good"at it (its a long and dusty road).Someone once told me the first time out for Chukar is for fun, there after its for revenge. Nothing like scaling ledges and steep slopes, huck'in yourself 10 or so miles in the most god forsaken county only to hear them (the chukar) laughing at you from some always distant haunt. I usually go until my dog starts looking at me like I'm nuts, then I call it a day. A good day of Chukar hunting usually means I come home with a rabbit or two.

    Did I mention I'm going out for Chukar again tomorrow?
  4. Patocazador

    Patocazador Well-Known Member

    You're a sick, sick boy. You need professional help.
  5. JohnM

    JohnM Well-Known Member

    I was up on the bench just a few days ago looking for some of those mythical chukars. The "bench is a layer of glacier boulders and gravel covered with sagebrush just south of the house.
    Gotta wait for another day when the Wyoming breeze is blowing enough so you need a stampede string to hold your hat on and I'll have to go again. :)
  6. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Well-Known Member

    Grouse tend to make all look stupid. You have to be cat-quick with your shotgun.
    Not much aiming going on ...........................just point and pull.
  7. Axel Larson

    Axel Larson Well-Known Member

    Managed to take a shot at one the other day, missed though:banghead: did not have a big enough lead.
  8. Jason_W

    Jason_W Well-Known Member

    Yeah, once they get in the air, they're usually pretty safe.:D

    Over the years I learned a few dirty tricks that often enable me to shoot them either when they're on the ground or perched in trees.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  9. Patocazador

    Patocazador Well-Known Member

    If it's tight cover, you can't worry about lead. Snap-shooting is the order of the day.
    Any time a shotgunner starts using his brain instead of his instincts, he's going to miss. I didn't learn that valuable lesson until I was 66 years old. I could have saved thousands of dollars on shells over the years if I learned it in my 20s. ;)
  10. shafter

    shafter Well-Known Member

    Nothing is guaranteed with grouse (or with anything else) and they can be found just about anywhere in the woods, however there's a few good places to look.

    1) Edges. Grouse like edges such as hardwood meeting softwood, overgrown fields, stone walls, logging roads, and lightly traveled gravel roads.

    2) Hunt early mornings and you will probably flush them from trees. If you flush one be ready, there is often more.

    3) BE READY! This means at all times. Grouse have a nasty habit of flushing when you're bending over to climb under a log, or even when you're taking a leak. One flew in just as I was doing that one day and I got him.

    4) On rainy days hunt the pines. Grouse don't care for getting soaked and prefer the shelter thick pines provide.

    5) Learn to spot them on the ground or in trees. If you're hunting old apple trees don't go barging in. Scan the trees and the ground beneath them first. If you spot them first you have a huge advantage even if you don't shoot them sitting still. Often just before dark you can spot them feeding high up in birch trees or any other trees that produce catkins. They go to the very top and are pretty easy to spot against the sky.

    That should be a good start for you. They aren't a complicated creature to hunt but they can be frustrating and you have to be persistant. It's also great exercise!
  11. shafter

    shafter Well-Known Member

    One of a grouse's biggest advantages is the sound they make when they take flight. Once you become imune to the surprise of it the game gets alot easier. Throughout the year whenever you are in the woods get in the habbit of raising your walking stick like a shotgun whenever you flush a grouse. It really does help.
  12. Jason_W

    Jason_W Well-Known Member

    This poster knows their stuff!

    Fight dirty and you'll end up with bacon wrapped partridge breast on the grill.
  13. rallyhound

    rallyhound Well-Known Member

    In Minnesota at least a flushed grouse almost never goes very far.
    If you don't get a shot watch where they go and follow slowly watching about 6-10 off the ground and you will get many second chances.

    they seldom travel more than 100 yards in flight.
  14. elkdomBC

    elkdomBC Well-Known Member

    I had a Ruffed Grouse take out the grill on my GMC Sierra 4x4 yesterday,, he ended up stuffed, not ruffed,, flattened against my radiator,,,,,,,,,,,

    YOU send me $200 (insurance deductible):scrutiny:

    I will send you fresh, frozen Canadian Grouse,,,,,,,;) it was minus-23 here yesterday !
  15. hq

    hq Well-Known Member

    Very good advice.

    I could add that the larger the grouse, the more it likes elevation. This doesn't mean sheer altitude but small, steep hills and such - it's much easier to take off downhill. An alternative to thick pines on rainy weather is on ground level under spruces, fallen tree trunks and so on; basically anything that keeps the birds dry. Another thing is to walk very slowly and quietly, I've had snow grouse flush literally at my feet on several occasions.

    The major threat to grouse is birds of prey. On clear weather they like some kind of "air cover" too, and try to be as hard to detect from above as possible.

    On the other hand, I recommend using a well-trained dog, preferably a pointer. A dog rarely misses even a single bird, it'll notify you about their presence well in advance and grouse have a tendency of trying to lay down when a threat approaches. That's where the pointing part comes in; I have pictures of my weimaraner pointing black grouse on the ground, 15-20ft away and the birds just stay put. Flushing happens on command; it would be unsportsmanlike to not give them a chance and shoot them on the ground.

    While it's possible to hunt grouse just walking around, a dog is really a game changer.
  16. richie

    richie Well-Known Member

    All good tips to find them, to hit them, I always use IC choke and #8 shot.
  17. RustHunter87

    RustHunter87 Well-Known Member

    YA, solo grouse hunting is a exercise in frustration for sure
    Ive been at it for 3 or four seasons now, I think I got 2 of them last year:cuss:
    I'm going tomorrow lol:D
  18. Daveboone

    Daveboone Well-Known Member

    I love my grouse hunting, but consider it a reason to go for a nice walk in the woods. I concentrate on apples, alders, poplars, and lumbered areas a couple years old. Stop frequently. IF in likely area, it makes a nearlby grouse nervous and they will bolt. They sometimes run like the dikens on the ground, too. Grouse populations run in about a 10 year cycle. Around here (in NY ) it is on the high end of it. I am not sure if it varies depending on where you are. You could contact your local DEC or Grouse Unlimited chapter to learn more.
    Generally, we count our grouse hunting success with the number of flushes. Have patience. Have fun.
  19. shafter

    shafter Well-Known Member

    Last year as well as this year are really good for grouse in Maine. I suspect we're near or at the top of the cycle. I flushed a bunch of five yesterday but none gave me a shot.
  20. RustHunter87

    RustHunter87 Well-Known Member

    I hear it been a good year for birds but not in my area, they were all over last year

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