Grouse Reports ! ! !

9/12/03 @ 11:53 AM
ORIGINAL POST
150class
150class
USER since 8/24/01
Let us know where youre finding the birds, what were the conditions, what type of terrain.

Lets here some good dog stories as well.

Can we attach pictures in this forum now?

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Displaying 21 to 30 of 2,012 Posts
7/20/18 @ 1:58 PM
JKling
JKling
USER since 10/17/08

Five bird days are certainly possible but they are exceptions. I would agree hunting long and hard over good dogs is your best chance for success. A Grouse's daily behavior is somewhat predictable so knowing that well does help increase your odds of encountering them. We hunt the central forest where bird numbers are typically lower than further north. Cover is brutally thick, but that is where you'll find them most of the time. In peak years the dogs have put up as many as 20 or 30 birds a day but of those at least 60 or 70% are only heard, not seen, and 80% of the 30 to 40% that are seen are only visible for a fraction of a second. I can get off a shot in under a second and a lot of times that isn't fast enough. Agreed you should be shooting at anything (within reason) that is visible. I've tried a few where I fired into cover along their trajectory without actually seeing the bird anymore but find that has a pretty low success rate. If they are behind enough cover to no longer be visible your pattern will be largely absorbed by that cover, leaves may be an exception, but we hunt late season after the leaves are long gone so any cover they're behind is pretty solid. We use 20 gauge side by sides, IC and Modified. Being shorter they are easier to get through the cover and you can get off two quick shots if need be (although I can't remember too many birds being taken with the second barrel). My best Grouse hunting stories aren't about the ones I got, but rather about the ones I didn't. One VERY COLD late season day we were packing up to leave not having seen a single bird all day. Guns were cased and I had my boots off and was about to put shoes on (brother had one boot off). A Grouse coasts out of the tree line on the one side of the dirt road and lands in some aspens on the right. The dog, who had just been laying in the road saw it the moment it broke from the trees and instantly went after it when it landed. We quickly loaded back up and ran through the deep snow after her (me in socks, my brother in one boot). The dog caught up to the bird and it flew up into a lone pine about 25' high in the midst of the aspens. We got to the tree and couldn't see it up there. Tree was too thick to shake so I started throwing chunks of snow up there to try to scare it out. It wouldn't budge. After a few minutes (and utterly frozen feet) we started to wonder whether it had flown out before we got there and we just hadn't seen it. Dog was convinced it was still there though. We kind of looked at each other wondering what the hell when that thing burst out like a rocket. Each of us fired both barrels at it and never touched a feather. Dog was mad and we were humiliated. Took nearly the entire 2 and a half hour ride home to feel my toes again.

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7/20/18 @ 1:01 PM
cantworkgottafish
cantworkgottafish
USER since 5/8/10

I hate to come off like a braggart but 5 bird days are not impossible.  I have done it quite a few times.  When I was younger and hunted obsessively I considered number of birds per day as follows:

1 or less poor day

2 ok/fair/respectable but not a good day

3 Good day

4 or 5 Great Day

I no longer push quite so hard and focus more on enjoying the experience than chasing a number to validate my day or season.  

I'm sure most of you guys know these things but if you do the following 3 to 5 bird days are possible:

1.  Hunt hard. Put in hours and miles.  If you have buddies who like to start late, take a long lunch and quit early ask them along on pheasant hunts.

2. Get yourself in good physical condition. 

3. Hunt the nasty, thick, wet stuff a lot of people avoid.  If you usually can't see the dog, your face is constantly covered in spider webs, your arms are shredded and bloody, and your feet are wet despite "waterproof" boots you are in the right type of stuff.

4. Have good dogs. Spoil them after the hunt when they bring a bunch of birds to hand, spoil them more when they work hard but success is not high.

5. Use a good lightweight gun that fits you well and that you are intimately familiar with.  Practice before season and between hunts.  A lot.

6.  Shoot at everything you can safely shoot at.  I think of straightaway shots in the open as Dream Shots.  You get a handful a season.  If you wait for those you don't get many birds.  If you have just an impression of a bird that you can barely or intermittently see moving through cover take those shots.  I have hit a lot of birds that I really could not even see.  I was just firing at their assumed trajectory through the leaves. (But of course be safety conscious.  If you are hunting with others know their locations.  Only take the hail Mary shots at an upward and safe angle, etc.)  Take shots that you think might be too far out.  Push the envelope a little.

7.  I might be wrong but I like high brass shells.  They cost more but I think they are worth it even if it's just for the extra confidence they give me.

8.  Open up your chokes when appropriate.  In early season thick cover I like a cylinder or improved cylinder.

9.  Be lucky.  I once got 2 birds with one shot. One was a bird I was tracking through the air and shot at. The second was sitting on a tree branch that the bird I was tracking passed in front of just as I fired.  I never noticed the bird in the tree until it fell.


What other tips for success do you guys have?

Also what stories do you have of lucky shots?

 

Edited on 7/20/18 1:09 PM
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7/20/18 @ 12:59 PM
Birdyboy
Birdyboy
USER since 8/24/07

Once again.  Road hunting should be illegal.  If you are not out on foot and you are ground swatting off an ATV or adjacent to your truck, it just isn't sporting.  Sorry.  My opinion for sure but I don't get the appeal of road hunting.  I don't shoot them out of trees though either.

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7/20/18 @ 12:16 PM
duckjunkie
duckjunkie
USER since 11/3/08

The guys walking and hunting over dogs aren't an issue with limits. Very few of us get close to limiting out.  The guys up here that are road hunting are. I work with guys that are limiting out every time they go and do that multiple times per week

Edited on 7/20/18 12:17 PM
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7/20/18 @ 11:11 AM
JKling
JKling
USER since 10/17/08

Same here. Quite a few 2 bird days in 35 years, never a 3, at least that I can recall. Lots of days with none. We always laugh at the 5 a day limit, some years I couldn't manage 5 all season.

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7/20/18 @ 7:17 AM
drummer boy
drummer boy
USER since 3/14/08

I agree there is a reason you see pheasant and qual hunting on outdoor tv,but seldom see grouse hunting.

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7/19/18 @ 6:41 PM
frenchbrit
frenchbrit
MEMBER since 7/24/01

I have hunted grouse for 50 years. Love it. Almost all of them with pretty good dogs. If I get 1 maybe 2 its a great day. Most days are 0. I don't remember getting more than 3 even on all day hunts in really good grouse habitat and numbers. I did get my limit (5) once in my life. Total fluke because I ran into a covey that flushed 1 by 1 in a pretty open area for shooting. I had just bought a brand new Franchi shotgun. One and only time I actually shot really good. Never before and never since.  I had one that morning, 3 in the covey and one late in the day. Cut the daily to two would be fine with me. One could put me out of the woods pretty quick if I happened to be lucky that day. But I could live with one. 

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7/19/18 @ 6:14 PM
river_chaser
river_chaser
USER since 10/3/12

Ha, that sums it up for sure. Ive had a couple of double days , never killed 3 birds in one day.  that 5 bird limits is designed to look good to the tourists and amateurs.

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7/19/18 @ 2:42 PM
Birdyboy
Birdyboy
USER since 8/24/07

They could reduce the bag limit to one and I'd still never get there on most days.  Ha ha.

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7/18/18 @ 6:49 PM
frenchbrit
frenchbrit
MEMBER since 7/24/01

Have to totally agree....change the daily bag limit but allow the later season. Most of the time the later season is iffy anyway. Cold and snow make hunting grouse few and far between on days you can actually hunt. But I like being out when the weather permits. I very rarely kill many grouse in the late season but its a great time to hunt and just be in the woods with the dog.

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