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grouse hunting


tulikow

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I have never hunted grouse before ,but I would like to give it a try. I know very little about it so any info would be appreciated.

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I really enjoy it, and now would be a good time to start. The birds(on a 10 yr cycle) are just starting to go back up according to the dnr, so the next few years should be good. I hunt in Itasca county,and up there we always either truly kick the brush or cut hunt. Woods that have a lot of young aspen and some young pines like balsam are best, because they provide both food and shelter. Also, stay out of truly "old wood" where all the trees are huge and cover is sparse, I've never picked up anything besides hare in that type of cover. If you have a dog it's a big advantage, if not,like me, I always hunt with one or two other people. We cut hunt, find a good looking old logging road and post one person on the trail, and two out in one direction about 20 yds apart. Work the woods slowly, stopping periodically, because the birds get nervous and flush when you stop. Work the one direction for however long, then work the opposite side back. If you have a dog you don't have to stop as much, since the dog is workin the brush. If you flush one and miss or cant get a shot. Don't give up on it, unlike pheasants, they don't usually run after they land, they tend to hunker down. I have flushed single birds 3 or 4 times(I guess i'm not that great a shot). Also when driving around i'd keep an eye peeled, they tend to be on the road a lot in the fall picking up gravel. The meat is the best of any bird I've eaten. Good luck

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Also fun to walk the woods after Thanksgiving weekend, especially after a fresh overnight snow. They'll sometimes burrow under the snow for warmth. Can be a cold walk, but the adreneliene will flow after an explosion of snow and thundering grouse wingbeats. Scares the crap out of me every time. Easy to track them down. Sometimes you'll see their tracks in the snow, or where they burst out of their burrow. Like Lunker said, Balsam is also great in the snowy months.

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Good Luck!

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I grew up hunting grouse in NW MN without a dog and actually prefer to hunt grouse that way - when hunting with my dog, I typically get 50% more flushes, but probably 50% less shots. When hunting grouse, target edge areas or "transition zones" between cover types, especially where young aspen are present and pay special attention to any place that has berries – they’re a treat for ruffies. I’ve also had exceptional luck on edges where woods and swamp meet. They like the ability to hop into the thick willows if spooked or pick their way into the higher ground for some food.

I second the idea of following a grouse after a flush - in my experience, they usually don't fly more than 50 yards or so and hold pretty well so you can get in range. Also, like Lunker said, take a few steps then stop and listen, scanning the ground ahead of you. The reason hunting is more productive without my dog is because I can usually spot them on a log, hear them running, or hear them clucking before a flush without my pup. Give it a shot (no pun intended) - you'll get hooked fast.

Good luck this fall - 14 short weeks til grouse opener!

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Are there any good places to hunt grouse around Hutchinson?

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One more tip, early season grouse are a lot harder to hunt. When the season opens, the leaves are still on the trees, and when you flush one it is very difficult to get a shot. When the leaves are down it is a lot easier to see them. I'll never forget last year, we did an opening hunt, and I couldn't see anything. The bugs were still out, and it was about 80 degrees. Running around in a sleeveless with a blaze orange hat swatting insects and hearing, but not seeing the birds. Oh well, still fun!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is the trick to grouse hunting, go anywhere north of Princeton, look for the thickest, most knarled up cover you can find, let the dog go, check the compass and you will probably find them. Don't walk the trails, you will see birds on them, but in these down years not many. If you are looking for someone to take you once to get the hang of it, let me know I love taking guys out. I rarley even carry a gun anymore, I just like to handle the dogs. For me there is nothing more magical than hearing the bell stop, and finding her 50 yards away like a statue. Let me know, I am in the woods at least 30 times a year.
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