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Weird Grouse

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I don't know if it's just me, but the grouse seem to be acting weirder each time I go out. A couple weeks ago, I heard something running and saw a grouse sprint across an opening. I literally sprinted after it trying to flush it. I chased him about 30 yards then lost him without a flush. Yesterday I was out, and flushed 2 grouse out of a stand of mature red pines in a boggy area. There was no undercover brush, and the closest "grousy" looking spot was probably a couple hundred yards away. Is it just me, or have other people been seeing some weird things in the grouse woods this year?

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I have had a lot more grouse run this year but I dont really think thats considered weird. It wasn't uncommon for the dog to point the same grouse two or three times before it would flush for me.

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Quote:

I don't know if it's just me, but the grouse seem to be acting weirder each time I go out. A couple weeks ago, I heard something running and saw a grouse sprint across an opening. I literally sprinted after it trying to flush it. I chased him about 30 yards then lost him without a flush. Yesterday I was out, and flushed 2 grouse out of a stand of mature red pines in a boggy area. There was no undercover brush, and the closest "grousy" looking spot was probably a couple hundred yards away. Is it just me, or have other people been seeing some weird things in the grouse woods this year?


Its always seemed to me that when it gets colder during deer season, grouse do act weird, they seem to get less spooky and stay on the ground more. During deer season Ive walked within a few feet of grouse on the ground...that would NEVER happen normally. Maybe its just cause you get to be in the woods, quiet for longer periods of time you get to see how they act. They are definately strange birds. They get up in dead trees and knock all the branches off, they wander around on the ground and spook themselves with noises...they act like cats on catnip.

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I've been saying that grouse are running more lately. The runners usually live, passing that gene on to the next generation of birds. I'm not a biologist so maybe I'm crazy, but i hunt grouse alot and i am noticing it more

The reason I think they act a little goofy later in the season is the lack of cover above.. They feel unprotected so they do wierd things. Ive seen them just lay flat like a pancake just on top of the leaves no other cover.. Funny enough is it works it's hard to see them... They will also use those pine areas late because it offers protection from above. They are so easy for hawks to take when they lose the top cover so the pines offer refuge.

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That makes sense uplander. I probably have more runners than I know about, but this was the first time I actually caught one in the act.

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I noticed more "false points" this year than before too. I often have wondered if that was due to running birds. ?? confused.gif

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I agree, they change their habits this time of year with less cover. I had a weird one last weekend. I was walking out to the stand just before shooting hours and a grouse flushes a few feet in front of me and instead of flying straight away he flew straight up in the air and landed at the very top of an 80' Aspen. I don't think I've ever seen a grouse fly that high before. I told everybody in camp about that one. Strangest thing. He was so far up there I honestly don't think you could have shot him down from that high.

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just shoot them stupid runners. we need to thin out those bad genes. grouse are not a very smart bird, which makes us look that much dummer when we cannot hit one in flight. grin.gif

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Ruffed Grouse is the slowest flying upland bird anyway.

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Yes, but add in the aspen factor and it doesn't seem to hurt the birds odds to avoid your 1-1/4 oz of lead

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once there in flight they are not very fast, but they take off really fast! they dont have to go to far until there pleny of stuff to fly behind either.

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Nothing funny this year but a couple years ago was a different story. I was sitting in my deer stand wondering what the heck was scaring the crap out of me in the brush piles. I finally found several grouse in the binocs. They were flying 20' up into a tree and jumping/flying head first into brush piles on the ground. They did it over an over for about 2 hours. Branches snapping and leaves rustling the whole time!

It was the only year I have seen grouse at that spot on 40 acres. This year the neighbor (40ac. also) asked if I saw any grouse this year because he hadn't while bow/rifle hunting? Either predators got them since they were so loud and dumb, or the turkey influx pushed them out??? Who knows but they're gone! By the way that was deer zone 239 I only grouse hunt zone #1.

I'm convinced grouse know your deer hunting with a rifle and become downright curious and or just plain dumb. It seems to be another story when I have a shotgun in hand wink.gif

This has been a good year for me, first 2 trips never saw a thing. Last 3 trips 30+ flushes and 5 birds for dinner grin.gif Hunting pressure and or ATV traffic has pushed them well off the forest roads. A 15 flush spot the end of Oct. yeilded 0 flushes last Saturday in Zone 1. I seem to be averaging 6 birds flushed for every 1 I put in the bag blush.gif walking without a dog. Gotta love chasing the forest chickens!

Ferny.

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It's tough for a grouse to be pushed from the trails due to ATV traffic and/or pressure. They hit the edges for sun, gravel, or food. When food dissapates in the forest they are forced to eat on the edges, and of course their favorite meal (clover) is abundant on the trails. When the clover is gone, the birds aren't as heavy in those areas. You may hit a trail at a bad time however, as in right after an ATV went through, etc... Also remember that their diet shifts slightly as it gets colder, they eat more buds and catkins now. They're gearing up for Winter, and can be found in completely different areas later in the season.

I have not noticed an oddities this season, which is an oddity in itself. Usually grouse find a way to make me stare and say, "Huh!". They're always full of surprises. This year however in the 200 or so birds I've seen, none have been very far off base. Aside from the 30+ that went in the bag that were noticibly slower or dumber than the rest..... wink.gif

Runners to me are typical, it's all based on cover and pressure there. Spots are never a surprise to me anymore either, not since having one walk into the shop while getting geared up for a day of deer hunting, or having one chase me around the yard. I've learned that anywhere is "grousy".

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Hey Matt, At the one spot in particular the ATV traffic the weekend before and the weekend after rifle season was UNBELIEVABLE! This is a gated off forest road entrance with 2 wheeler trails on either side of the gate. I talked to several ATV'ers while at my truck and they had land locked property inside the forest. Almost every one had a portable deer stand on the back of it. I didn't run into one bird hunter in the 3 times I was there. It's a little to coincidental for me to think all the pressure didn't affect the birds.

It was fine I just moved onto another spot and found some birds.

Ferny.

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That really stinks. We get that in the Bemidji area too, where wheelers and hunters invade the woods during deer season making grouse hunting nearly impossible, not to mention dangerous. I pretty much refuse to take the dogs out, and if I go I'm looking for birds along roads in trees or scurrying through the brush, birds I can go after without getting shot!

I was just saying that a heavily traveled area is still going to hold grouse if they live there, and they won't move or relocate because of traffic. They will get moved off the trail aways if they encounter a 500cc coming head on though! wink.gif The grouse still hit the trails I'm sure, but they probably were only there for a short stint.

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howdy...i don't know if this has anything to do with the "goofy" grouse, but one of their favorite meals is mushrooms...i frequently find mushrooms in a birds crop, along with clover,buds,berries, and seeds. Use this information to your advantage. After killing a bird, check what he's eating...it will help you put more birds on the table!

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I too have found 'shrooms in birds, but not often. Some berries cause a bird to act goofy as well.

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howdy...i don't know if this has anything to do with the "goofy" grouse, but one of their favorite meals is mushrooms...i frequently find mushrooms in a birds crop, along with clover,buds,berries, and seeds. Use this information to your advantage. After killing a bird, check what he's eating...it will help you put more birds on the table!


I remeber being in high school once and our biology teacher said grouse go nuts in the fall sometimes because they eat some of the dying and fermented berries. other animals do this to and there was an indian name for it that translated to "nights of the crazy moon" or something like that

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