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sdkidaho

3 Grouse

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Three grouse would be a great day in Norther WI, congrats. I just cant imagine grouse hunting in 80+ degree heat, not to mention the underbrush is pretty heavy. Your a brave man.

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We started out at 8:00 a.m. and it was 50 degrees then, but by the time we got back to the truck a little after noon, it was probably 80-85 degrees. We definitely did some sweating as we hiked around but we had a great time.

 

It's only the second season I've been out with the dog and that was our first real birds that we've taken since we started hunting with him. Had we not had him we would have never known they were there - he did awesome.

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Nice grouse!

 

I took Tank on his first hunt. I've worked him with frozen and fresh dead pigeons with gunshots, he did great in the back yard, but he didn't seem to remember that he is supposed to bring the bird to me in the field, and in his defense, the frozen and fresh dead pigeons didn't leave a mouthful of feathers like the shot doves. The two he brought to me had been dead for a while, a bit of rigomortis happening there.

 

He marked well, very steady, went straight for the bird, but he mouthed it and pawed at it. Only brought me two out of 28. I'll be working hold with him before duck opens though.

 

Didn't mean to make this about me, just haven't been on here in a while.

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I am currently going to u of i up in moscow, but this last weekend i went camping with my parents just past idaho city along the north fork of hte boise river. and of course i brought the guns. I went grouse hunting for 3 days and finally on the last day i got one. The thing is i have only been grouse hunting twice and i have no idea where to look or where they are. I started last year on opening day and i just decided that i would walk around the mountains with my dog until i finally found some. Luckily i did find some with some very hard work. This year I did the same thing. just went up and hiked around until i found some. They aren't to hard to hit when you find them but finding them is a ton of work. If you guys dont mind, are there any hints or tricks to finding them. because i don't know where to begin. i just walk around in thick bushes and hope that somethings comes up. What do you guys look for when grouse hunting? I am mostly a chukar hunter and you just have to find large hills with rimrocks and water nearby and then you will find chukar. any kind of equation for grouse or is it just hit and miss with them?

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For grouse I really like to hunt up a draw that has water coming down it, even it's only a small stream. I look for rose-hips and snow-berries (I'm not sure if that is the actual names for those berries or not) as I notice that grouse seem to feed on those and the leaves from those bushes. They really like the thick cover it seems but you can definitely catch them out in the open from time to time. And when I say out in the open that would still be up in the timber, just perhaps not buried under all the brush.

 

They feed along the forest floor, leaves, grasses, berries and bugs, so you'll find them wandering around foraging for food. I'll hike up the draw and let the dog work the area and eventually he'll hit on a trail where the bird has come down to water. I've had better luck in the morning, usually from 9:30 to noon seems to be when I get most of my birds, though I'm sure you can find them all day long.

 

I'm definitely no expert though - hopefully some of the other guys will chime in.

 

Hunting them with a dog is "much" easier though. The ones we got we would have never found without the dog.

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i get my grouse in the mornings too. usually before 9 i get up and get out there. During mid day it seems like they disappear but i am only a novice at grouse hunting so it may have just been where i was looking. I am glad to see that i am not the only one who has trouble finding them. thank you very much for the hints on where the grouse go. Where do you go hunting by the way? northern ID maybe?

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Up in Alaska, we walked dirt roads in the mornings. The ones that didn't have a lot of pressure, (a lot were hunted a lot by our school buddies, it was a small town of about 300 people. We would find about a dozen on those roads. If you had a dog, we didn't at the time, you can go into the woods after them, they were all over those mountains. Sorry if that doesn't help, just talking grouse hunting brought me back.

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Here is a clip from an article about where to find grouse:

 

Grouse seasons open in September in most northern states. Going hunting then is more a testament to tradition than it is to wanting to kill grouse. Foliage is thick, dense and green. But if you insist on subjecting yourself to this kind of brutality, you might as well give yourself the best chance at finding birds.

 

Look at the thermometer and you'll realize that one of the best places to look for early-season grouse is near rivers and streams. Waterways provide cool summer oases for grouse, and you usually won't find them far from the same habitat come early fall. During especially dry years, the moist soils found along rivers and streams may be one of the few places you're going to find the types of vegetation that produce the fruits and berries grouse love so much.

 

Another reason early-season grouse can be found along waterways is that the thick vegetation protects grouse broods from predators. Moist soils produce lush habitat that is ideal for protecting young broods, and the temperate environment produces a lot of high-protein invertebrates that are critical to young grouse growth and survival. Working along river bottoms and creeks can be a good tactic because grouse can often be found in or close to their brood habitat.

 

Grouse are often still in broods or family groups in September and October, and can be concentrated and difficult to find. Perseverance can pay off. You might hunt several prime coverts without success and then bust several coveys in a short period of time. The trick is to keep at it. When you do run into some birds, you'll usually find a bunch, and chasing down singles after the flock is broken up can produce quick shooting.

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Still have another month to wait here in Massachusetts. Last year I was working an acre of young trees at the end of a large field, when I flushed a grouse. Naturally I missed as the grouse made for the far side of the trees. After circling around the trees, the grouse flushed a second time and instead of heading back into the trees he flew straight across in front of me and over a wide dirt fire road. After an entire lifetime of hunting grouse, I was witnessing the "magical" grouse flush in the open, I have heard about so often. After a slow and easy swing through with my 20 guage Monty, that grouse was mine. What was in that stand of young trees? A lot of berry bushes. Waiting another month will be tough.

 

SgtCathy

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We bumped a bird on Friday and man he was a rocket. I didn't even have time to mount the gun. He lived to see another day but we enjoyed the time up in the mountains. Even at 65 degrees it was warm enough to lay down in the creek for a break. :D

 

IP9-8-2007001.jpg

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SgtCathy,

 

Have you been following the pheasant hunting ruling out on the Cape? Seems pheasant will still be hunted but eventually will be replaced with quail, a native species. Us, too, in CT have until mid October before we can chase grouse.

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Hi swamp-

If I understand the ruling correctly, the National Seashore Feds will be phasing pheasents out over a few years. A token to pheasent hunters so they don't have to go cold turkey and have severe pheasent withdrawal. Pheasents weren't a resident bird and now have to go. Scratched my head on that ruling. So what, if they weren't around for the wampanoag indians or the earliest pilgrims. There isn't one single person that now visits the National Seashore that was around 350 years ago. Phase them out !! It's all about political correctness and here in Massachusetts, hunting (of anything) is definately a no-no. The National Seashore buckled under. But then, the major large department stores have all caved in. Sears and K-Mart have stopped selling any weapons or ammunition years ago in Massachusetts. Wal-Mart has stopped selling weapons and their is only one Wal-Mart within 50 miles of me that still sells ammunition. As for the Quail, I'm hoping they take well at the Seashore, but with many predators, I just don't see that happening. The future of bird hunting in Massachusetts is bleak.

 

SgtCathy

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SgtCathy,

 

It is bleak in some areas. In CT some of the big-box stores are making it difficult to pruchase ammo and firearms. Strict rules around purchasing weapons and ammo is fine, but when you have to make an appointment with FFL guy at Wal-Mart it is a little too much. It's easier to get a sitting with the Queen of England.

 

You have a good understanding of the Cape ruling and to me it looks like a compromise at best bewteen anti-hunters and hunters. Once the wildlife becomes a nuisance to the anti's their tune changes.

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I guess it makes you appreciate living in a gun friendly state, here in WI firearms and ammunician are readily available and sometimse even at gas stations.

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