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First Time Grouse Hunter Help

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

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  1. Axel Larson

    Axel Larson Member

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    I have been out at least 5-6 times and I have seen about three grouse. all did not present good shots, one I was walking up hill with a unloaded shotgun, the second flushed right on the side of the road walking back to the car, and the third had the road towards the back which was obviously not a safe shot.
    I have tried making noise when walking through the woods, I have tried being quiet.
    Is the area I am hunting in just not populated enough?
    Am I just doing something wrong?
    I would like to get at least a couple before the season ends in late December.
     
  2. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    Sounds about normal. :D
     
  3. ChefJeff1

    ChefJeff1 Member

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    Do you have a dog?

    I usually find grouse in pairs or more but sometimes there's singles.

    They sure are yummy, keep at it and have fun.
     
  4. Axel Larson

    Axel Larson Member

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    No dog, which from what I hear helps a lot.
     
  5. MrDig

    MrDig Member

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    Upland birds without a dog or at least a hunting partner are a heart attack waiting to happen. And sometimes seeing three birds in one trip is a great day.
    I've been on walks for 3 to 4 hours and seen nothing but song birds and squirrels.
    I generally don't hunt Grouse with the expectation of shooting one, I expect to get a nice walk with the slight chance of seeing them and even slighter chance of shooting one.
     
  6. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    A good dog is worth its weight in gold!
     
  7. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    While a good dog helps, grouse are one upland game bird that can be hunted quite successfully without one. Like all game animals, they need food, water and shelter. In the early fall look for any areas producing seeds, those can be as large as acorns or as small as pin heads. Berries, such as highbush cranberries and wild grapes are hotspots. Late fall and winter they will be wherever there are tender buds such as birch or poplar/aspen. In dry weather, they will be close to a water source. Walk quietly, but stop often. When you stop, make sure you are in a spot where you can shoot. Many times grouse will let you walk by them if you keep walking, but get nervous when you stop and will then flush and give you a shot. Snow can be a great help if you are in doubt of grouse populations in the area. Their tracks are very obvious and lack of tracks in old snow means there are no grouse around. In deep fluffy snow, look for holes in the snow that look like someone threw a snowball. Grouse will often dive into this type of snow for cover, leaving little scent and no tracks for predators.
     
  8. Jason_W

    Jason_W Member

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    In addition to the above, apple trees are your friend.

    One method I used to employ when I lived in VT was to wait near apple trees in late afternoon and plug the partridge with a .22 as they came in to feed on the deadfall apples.

    Now that I've moved to Maine where there aren't so many old apple stands, I've found that walking abandoned logging roads around midday is a good method as the birds move onto the roads to eat gravel for crop stones.

    I shot two a few weeks ago using that method. It should have been four, but I messed up two shots.
     
  9. Hunterdad

    Hunterdad Member

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    I find that grouse will generally hold their ground when you walk by. I like to walk right up to a spot I may think holds a bird and stop dead in my tracks. They will usually get scared enough and take flight.
     
  10. Axel Larson

    Axel Larson Member

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    Thanks for the hints everyone.
     
  11. Jason_W

    Jason_W Member

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    Once you learn how to spot them before they take off, the game gets a lot easier.
     
  12. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    Wanna see a train wreck, have a big old ruffed blow out from under a spooky saddle horse while you're pulling a string of equally goofy pack horses! LOL
     
  13. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    I have had better luck without a dog on ruffed grouse. Walk slowly and stop often. Peek under thick cover. They seem to like hillsides and thick cover. They like to flush when you aren't ready.
     
  14. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    If you're waiting for easy shots on ruffed grouse, you'd better hunt them in Canada or out West. In Wisc. and Minn. it's like trying to shoot in a crowded basement with wash all hung on lines. Of course the washed clothes are tree branches and undergrowth and it's all been snap shooting in my experience.
     
  15. Liberty1776

    Liberty1776 Member

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    JohnM and patocazador nailed it.... that's normal, and it ain't easy... (sure is lots of fun, though...)
     
  16. fragmag

    fragmag Member

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    Some pretty good tips, thanks for sharing.
     
  17. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    ha hahaaaaaaaa! :D *wipes tears away*
     
  18. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    Well THERE'S one issue why success eluded you

    Spoken like someone who has never been - having lived for 23 years in northern NV, it isn't easy - want even harder? Go out there and hunt chukar on the shale slopes
     
  19. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    CHUKAR !?!

    One bird per box of shells and bruised and bloody after a long day of scrambling up and down loose cliffs trying to get just one more shot at those miserable creatures that cover ground on foot faster than a marathoner!
     
  20. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    Sorry one oz. but I hunted Wyo., Mont. and Wash. and found the grouse there to be easier to hunt because the hunting pressure was far less than in the Midwest. In fact, I shot several in Wyoming with a .38 special sidearm.

    Chukar are an entirely different story. Only a masochist would subject himself to that more than once .. even with dogs. You are welcome to my share but I'll help you eat them if invited.
     
  21. CmpsdNoMore

    CmpsdNoMore Member

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    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.
     
  22. Axel Larson

    Axel Larson Member

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    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.
     
  23. outboard

    outboard Member

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    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?
     
  24. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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

    JohnM Member

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    :D:D
    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. :)
     
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