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Blue Grouse

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by brewer12345, Aug 29, 2017.

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  1. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    I always wanted to see these guys, but have never done so. Always in the wrong place at the wrong time, I guess. Today my wife and I decided on a whim to take the dogs for a walk in the national forest since it was too hot down where we live. Lo and behold we ran into 1 to 4 grouse 4 separate times over the course of a 2 hour walk! My plans to squeeze in with the teeming hordes on opening day of dove season and try not to get shot just got changed to looking for grouse.

    Anyone hunt these guys? It seems like at least half the time they do not flush, just amble away from you or sit still. Hunt with a shotgun? I was thinking about taking my usual 20 gauge with 6 shot and maybe a modified choke and carrying a revolver in case they won't flush. Stomp around the forest looking for likely spots or do something else? I probably will not be bringing a dog since one is gunshy and the other makes a ton of noise (beagle).
     
  2. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I'm not certain if it's the same as spruce grouse?

    If so, we had a great time hunting moose and spruce grouse on Ontario.
    Savage 24. .22/.410. We shot them on the ground and out of trees.
    It was great sport and good for the table too!
     
  3. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Same critter or near enough. I thought about the 24 and still might take it, but the likelihood of hitting it after it flushes ould be lower for me vs. a shotgun.
     
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  4. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    Spruce grouse are known as fool hens for good reasons. Unhunted blue grouse and sometimes ruffed grouse act just as dumb especially high in the mountains.
    I have shot all 3. The blue grouse is the largest of the 3 and can be tougher to bring down if they fly. I would use the 20 ga. with the modified choke and hard-hitting game loads of # 6 in 2 3/4" or 3" shells.

    They are definitely good eating and I would rather go grouse hunting alone than get peppered on an opening-day dove field.

    Have fun!
     
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  5. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I'm an old school Quail hunter..... I tried to get them to flush. They wouldn't hardly fly.
    My guide had the model 24. We had so much fun with it, I had to have one of my own. It was ideal for what we were doing. He used .22 shorts to not spook of all the moose.

    (We never saw a moose, so not sure that worked)
     
  6. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Well, maybe I will bring the 24 for the fool chickens. I usually shoot subsonic Aguila 22s which are about as quiet as shorts, so maybe that will let me pop more than one grouse if I am lucky enough to see a group again.
     
  7. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Yeppers, "fool hens" is what we call blue grouse around here. I've never purposely "hunted" them, nor has anyone I know, but I've shot plenty of them during deer season. Generally I, or one of my hunting partners will shoot one on the way back to camp after a day tramping around in the hills looking for deer. It's pretty easy to clip their heads off with a deer rifle, or a handgun if you're carrying one. It's legal too. And a blue grouse makes a mighty fine supper in a deer hunting camp.:)
     
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  8. RPRNY

    RPRNY Member

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    Spruce grouse are "fools hens". Blue grouse are much more likely to flush, and flush early, than Spruce or even Ruffed grouse.
     
  9. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Yes sir, you are right. I looked it up, and what I've been calling "Blue Grouse" for going on 70 years, are actually Spruce, or Franklin's Grouse. But I've found that all three species, Blues, Ruffed AND Spruce are occasionally worthy of the name "Fool Hens." It's just that the Spruce Grouse are worthy of it almost all the time.:D
     
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  10. RPRNY

    RPRNY Member

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    Ruffies in a tree poking their head out and eyeing one under the apparent assumption that they cannot be seen is a fairly common example of foolish in the New England woods. On the Front Range in CO, I have found Blues much more jumpy - but that's my only experience of them...
     
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  11. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    So would you hunt them with a shotgun and expect the Front Range grouse to readily flush?
     
  12. RPRNY

    RPRNY Member

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    I have never hunted grouse with anything but a shotgun, but the vast majority of my grouse hunting has been Ruffed grouse back East - 20 GA IC/M 1oz #7.5 shot. Because Blues on the Front Range seem to flush earlier, I use a 12GA 1oz #6 choked IC/IM. Don't know that it matters other than psychologically...
     
  13. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Hmmmm, maybe I will take a shotgun rather than the 24. I suppose I can always bring a revolver to pop them if ithey stay put.
     
  14. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    Look in thickets and along treelines where fruit like huckleberries, blueberries, etc. are mature. They also eat buds and seeds. In the early winter I've seen them in firs, pines, etc. They must feed on these at that time of year, I guess.
     
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  15. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    The old-timer claim they would shoot the lowest grouse in the tree so it didn't spook the others as it tumbled to the ground! ....?
     
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  16. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    When I hunt grouse, head shots only, with a 22, my success rate is that I get about 3 for every 10 grouse I see. I hunt with a 22 mostly. My success with a shotgun is about 7 in 10.
     
  17. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    No. If you want the whole group for a large supper, always shoot the hens first.
     
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  18. ZeroJunk

    ZeroJunk Member

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    I've killed a couple of Fool's Hens with an arrow while bow hunting for Elk. Kind of expensive, but they sure were good to eat.
     
  19. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Member

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    Colorado no longer calls them blue grouse; instead calls them "Dusky Grouse" (Blue) in their brochure. I hunt them when in season when I elk hunt and just use a .22 Bearcat on the ones perched overhead.
     
  20. jim in Anchorage

    jim in Anchorage Member

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    I hunt spruce grouse with a passion in Alaska,they seem to be everywhere. Use both shotgun and .22 handgun. But I quit them after the first snow. That's when they live up to there name and eat spruce needles. I have opened October grouse that where full of needles and smelled like turpentine.
     
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  21. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    I ate a spruce grouse like that in Manitoba. It did smell like Pine-Sol but it tasted OK.
    The ruffed grouse always got eaten first since they were white meat and a bit bigger than the spruce grouse but the dark meat of the spruce grouse was good too.
     
  22. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Got two of these guys and saw more. Lots of fun, but a pretty good workout. KIMG0733.jpg
     
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  23. Proinsias

    Proinsias Member

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    The way I understand it:

    Sooty and dusky grouse are two different species, but they look so similar that they were long thought to be one species, called "blue grouse." Recent genetic testing has shown them to be different. The general rule is that sooty appear closer to the west coast, while dusky are more inland. Here's one map I found: http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/research/projects/grouse/dusky_sooty/graphics/figure05.jpg

    Spruce grouse and sage grouse are two completely different species.

    Edit: I forgot, ruffed grouse is another one.
     
  24. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    Glad to hear it. You will enjoy it even more when you eat them. :thumbup:
     
  25. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    So, I killed some "blue" grouse at the crest of the Cascades. Did I kill sooty or dusky grouse?

    BTW, you also forgot sharp-tailed grouse, greater, lesser, and Attwater's prairie chickens, plus all the ptarmigan.
     
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