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Grouse Reports ! ! !

9/12/03 @ 10:53 AM
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?

8/12/19 @ 11:05 AM
User since 6/9/19

Nothing better than hunting ole ruff. I travel 750 miles every fall to spend 8 days in the northwoods of Wisconsin. Come spring I enjoy hunting Turkeys in ky but I wish we never got them here. Give um try birdyboy.

8/12/19 @ 9:38 AM
User since 7/24/01

Interesting article.  It makes it sounds like grouse hunting in Illinois has always sucked.

Perhaps it was the "finest grouse hunting in the world" prior to 1893.


8/12/19 @ 8:52 AM
User since 10/24/17

This post peaked my interest so I did a little research on Illinois ruffed grouse.   Illinois had moderate numbers of grouse at some point in its history, birds started becoming scarce in the 50s and 60s there were several unsuccessful attempts to restock. 

8/11/19 @ 12:16 PM
User since 8/24/07

Seen and shot woodcock in Illinois as they migrate through in the swampy areas.  Never ever seen a grouse.  Or a wild pheasant for that matter.  I hear fables of wild pheasant in McHenry county and some areas downstate on private land.  Nothing but stocked birds on public.  I don't hunt turkey.  Guess I'll just keep heading north every fall for ruffs.

8/9/19 @ 12:31 PM
User since 9/8/17

Why wouldn't Illinois have grouse hunting as good as you can find in Wisconsin, Michigan, or Vermont?   All it takes is habitat right?  Thousands of acres of hilly 5 and 10 year old cuts and burns gives you that habitat, right?  You seem to have a lot to learn yet, keep at it.

My buddies labs bust a bunch of turkeys scattering them and then hook them back around.  The scattered turkeys quickly come back to where they were flushed looking for their buddies even if the labs don't bring some back.  Some fly, but most run until given no choice.  Lots of turkeys shot that way, just sit down where they were busted.  Nothing works every time but it has worked a lot.

8/9/19 @ 11:36 AM
User since 7/24/01

Illinois had the finest grouse hunting in the world?!  I learn something new everyday.

Everyone is guaranteed a fall turkey permit.  All you need to do is get the license.  Shooting turkeys over pointers is a lot of fun.  My girls can pin them down just like grouse or pheasants.  

8/9/19 @ 10:37 AM
User since 6/27/01

Saw my first grouse this year along 47 by Lac du Flambeau.  I can't hunt there, but it was good to see.


8/9/19 @ 10:22 AM
User since 9/8/17

Habitat is the key element for grouse numbers, everyone knows that.  But what about when you have that perfect habitat and poor grouse numbers?  Low cycles where they are extinct and high cycles where the numbers are as low or nearly so as past low cycles?  When the only new variable is turkeys.

I was told decades ago by some bird hunters in Illinois that the turkeys that were just taking hold in north central WI would wipe out grouse numbers.  They owned and managed hundreds of acres of prime hunting land in Illinois, logged and burned for perfect grouse and deer habitat.  Surrounding them was thousands more acres logged heavily containing high numbers of 5 and 10 year old cuts.  Perfect grouse habitat and they had the finest grouse hunting in the world.  Then the turkeys came, and to this day the grouse numbers have been a mere shadow of what they had once.  They still manage the land the same way, cuts and burns.  Perfect grouse and deer habitat.  Few grouse, lots of turkeys.  Their theory was avian disease.   Their prediction proved true here in Wisconsin too.  We have great grouse habitat, lots of logging and 5-8 year old stands of beanpole popple and maple.   Few grouse, lots of turkeys.  

My theory remains nest predation.  They do not miss a ground nest, and eat or smash every egg.  I've watched them move trough 20 and 30 at a time in the fall in near synchronized motion, picking acorns.  Same deal in the spring, and they will eat anything.  Eggs would be favored food.  In my neighborhood landowners will let anyone hunt turkeys, but it's earn a tom.  Shoot 5 hens before you can shoot one tom.  Still doesn't dent the turkey population.   The grouse are not to huntable population anymore even though the habitat is perfect.

8/9/19 @ 7:20 AM
User since 10/3/12

Like walleyes and muskies and whitetails, turkey and grouse are where you find them and not always where they are supposed to be.  Where I hunt in the northern counties the turkey and grouse are found often in the same place and cohabitating. Turkey have adapted well to less mature forests and brush and in many forests where I commonly found grouse 40 years ago they are no longer found even with consistent logging practices.
I cant say Ive ever seen a turkey raiding a grouse nest but if you look at the drumming and nesting practices of grouse these events are known to take place in semi open areas of larger stumps logs and trees similar to what a turkey would find as suitable habitat. Turkeys being the omnivorous opportunists that they are would happily make a meal of grouse eggs or tiny chicks.

8/9/19 @ 6:17 AM
User since 7/24/01

I don't believe there's any sort of brood count for grouse in WI.  They do drumming survey in the spring.

Talk to the bear hunters...they're out there running around now.

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