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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I saw the thread below and was hoping to get some help. I've never hunted rough grouse before but would like to give it a try. The place where I would like to try is in southern Ohio. There's a large forest which has a grouse management area. The area is heavily forested with hills and hollows. Could anyone pass on some tips where and how to scout it out this summer? My son and I would go down this fall and camp out and hunt.
 

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Grouse forage in a manner similar to turkeys, they scratch the ground, just its no larger than your extended hand most of the time. Their range is much smaller, staying in a home area called a covert, usually only one or two hundred yards in diameter. The area will we thick, a grown over clear cut, or brushed out forest with a spring or water source is a given. Usually a couple hens with young are together, and will remain "flocked" during hunting season. Roosters are typically alone, in the spring (an other times sometimes) drum, sounds like a big single piston engine starting at low RPM, this they do in a core area, they really never leave.

As far as scouting, can look for scratches and get some flushes, that about it. They don't relocate, so once you've found a group of coverts, the hunt becomes moving from covert to covert, flush the birds from the first covert, hunt the flushed birds in the direction of the next covert, flush the new birds at the next covert etc. Next week, the birds will be back in the general same place.

Most of the time, a large pattern is preferred. Typically, cut the wad petals of a 12 gauge 3 1/4 dram 1/14 ounce load of 7 1/2 or 7s (get from Ballistic Products). Or a 20 guage baby magnum loaded about the same. Use a cylinder, skeet 1 choke, or improved cylinder in the first barrel and improved cylinder in the second. Windy days, or when skittish, typically switch over to improved and improved, 7s in first barrel, 6 shot 1 1/2 oz with wad fingers, none magnum in second.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ton of info there, Thanks for the help. There has been some logging done in the area in past years, I might check that out too. What do you think of a .410? Will they flush pretty easily or tend to sit tight?
 

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Generally they hold tight, my average kill distance is 23 yards, this true for birds experienced in VA, NC, WV and PA. So loads\chokes are maximized for that distance. 410 should work fine as long as it is choked to modified or full, not a lot of shot in a 410 shell, and pattern density is key. If you've got a place to shot, pattern the gun, a grouse is kinda small, the body is about 3x5 inches, would want the core of the pattern to give 4 or more hits inside that box at 23 yards, use what ever degree of choke needed to accomplish this. Grouse are not hard to kill, a couple pellets in the body usually brings them down hard, brush can eat up a lot of shot. Birds wing hit, don't normally take of running like a pheasant or turkey will, but they sometimes will move a bit and attempt to hide near where they dropped.
 

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The best reads I have found are Grouse and Grouse Hunting by Frank Woolner and Grouse Hunters Guide by Dennis Walrod.
 

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good info there from graymustang

not much to add. Around here we hunt the cedar hollows, they're wet, and the hillsides that drop down into them

Flush distance depends on how hard they've been hunted. My private land it's within 20 yards and always gives me a heart attack, you've got to be quick with a shot. and a dog helps find the downed birds cuz it's usually THICK

On public land often you only hear the birds flush far away and never get to see them.

When you flush them they don't usually go far, less than 100 yards, so watch where they go, sometimes you can see where they land
 

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I usually use a single shot 20 ga, buts lots of the old timers used nothing but single shot 410's
 

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Our grouse often are found in dirt/gravel roads. Going for the gravel I believe.

Worth walking some of the old, abandoned roads. I like a 12 or 20 gauge.

A good dog can find them before and after the shot, but I always rely on my own eyes as well, sometimes I'll spot the grouse before the dog scents him.

Regards, Guy
 

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Grouse hunting came be addictive. Good news is that Marlin offered some decent double guns over the years. Another favorite hunting load, is first barrel bird shot for the grouse, and the second barrel buck shot for the deer that often pop up.
 

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I see a lot of grouse when I'm deer hunting in the upper peninsula of Michigan. They are everywhere....and I often flush a few walking back and forth to my tree stand. Its almost like clockwork.

Graymustang's advice is consistent with the type of areas that I typically flush and see them in. They seem to like to hang out in the thick/brushy stuff.... often near where it transitions into open forest.

My best advice would be to learn how to shoot fast. They are fast man. Whatever shotgun you use... it needs to be able to get up on shoulder and target faster than any other small game hunting I have ever done.

Have a good time.
 

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My experience is in the Blue Ridge and Massanhutten mountains of VA. Great info in this thread. All I have to add is that I have seen big singles stay up top on the ridges, while others are in the thick stuff in bottoms. Try to stay in ravines (gullys) going up and down. The ruffed grouse will come up right at your feet and with the thunder of a freight train. He will immediately try to put a tree trunk between you and him, and will keep it there until he is out of range. The first time I flushed one, I nearly fell down laughing at myself. Didn't even get a shot off. If you come back with a pair, you are a fine hunter. Anyway, you and your son are gonna have a blast making a memory.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the help. Grouse sound like a lot of fun.We are going camping in this area a few times before the hunt so we will walk thus area.I'll look for those books to graymustang.
 

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I have never hunted grouse but have certainly been out scouting for them, in the spring they will thump on logs as grey mustang wrote. I used to scout for them on my springtime fly fishing for trout, just sit in the woods in the am and they will thump if around. that is the best method for scouting or surveying that I know.
 

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I used to hunt all big game with a single action revolver, and another in .22 for grouse, as they always seemed to show up, mostly blue grouse (aka Fool's hen), which aren't all that spooky, so head shots were the way to go. Northern California's high elevation grouse tasted like Christmas trees smell, munching on that Pseudotsuga menzissii. Now I have a couple sage grouse out in the back and try to leave them alone...I guess they are having a rough time of it anymore.
 

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M700 referanced pretty well what it is like to hunt grouse in the PNW. They are in fact drawn to the logging road's to ''grit''. Like other game bird's, grouse cannot chew their food so rely on small stone's in their gizzard to help break the food up. You can actually find some well polished stone's in the gizzard if you want to look for them. Wifes Uncle used to save them in a small jar.

Generally when we see grouse we hop out of whatever we're driving and the hunt begin's. It's against the law here to shoot on,across, or along maintained road's, so we get in the brush after we spook them off of the road. When deer season isn't open we usually walk old logging road's that are closed and do pretty well. I like 12 Ga. but also use .410, and 22 LR. I'll carry a Ruger single six when I'm hunting deer so I can bag the wayward grouse.

A 12 or 20 is dandy for grouse when hunting with a shottie, I like open choke's for that but use whatever is available. Alway's have a gun with me when 'shrooming also, grouse and chantrell's is a fine meal! When you get the first one, cut open the craw and see what they're eating, berrie's, flower top's, etc. It will help you to locate food sources for different time's if you keep a log book

Any recipe for quail is good for grouse. Especially to note the cooking time's, it doesn't take long to make 'em tough. Yes, I know from experience dagnabbit, LOL. I actually prefer grouse to pheasant. Have fun, hunt safe!
 
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You need great reflexes! One of the harder game birds to track in flight as well.

Get ready to be .......flustrated ..................many times over!!
 

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Learn to shoot fast, very fast.
 

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Look for grouse tracks in the snow,you can track one up and jump it or sometimes catch it on the ground.
Also a good dog will double your chances of grouse dinner.A retriever or pointer is a great asset.
Plus "tree dogs"I use to have a little "Mountain Fiest" squirrel dog that would tree grouse just like a squirrel and I could pop it with a 22.
A ruffed grouse, 30-40 feet up a tree, feels safe from a barking dog and usually watches the dog while you make your approach.Some sitters will silent tree which is OK too.

I have harvested as many as three ruffed grouse from the same tree several times with the help of a tree dog and a .22.

PS> If you think shooting a sitting grouse with a 22 is unethical please disregard my post.
 
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