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Powerstroke

1st grouse hunt

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Today I made my first grouse hunt. I've been out in the woods before for hunting pursuits, but I've never understood how or where to hunt grouse. Now that I have a dog I figured I could give it a try.

I got a late start because I was up late doing homework. I hit the woods about 9:30am and started walking. I think my Springer definitely prefers the woods hunting. After about an hour we got our first flush. Riley pushed a grouse and he flushed pretty wild. He was around 10yds in front of the dog and at least 20yds. in front of me. Being my first one of course I missed with both barrels.

I hunted east of Outing on public land on a couple of different trails. I encountered several ATV hunters cruising along. If they are telling the truth, they saw more birds than I did on foot. Maybe its cause they cover more ground.

I covered almost 10 miles and had 3 flushes. No birds in the bag, and one very tired dog. I was happy with the day, but a little frustrated about my shooting. I'm also wondering how to train my dog to be more effective at grousing.

So, how does that compare with people who "know what they are doing"?

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I hunted some public land north of me and my brother in law and I last Friday had 9 flushes in 8 hours with no dog and with one bird to show. Leaves were still on the trees. Hunt the clear cuts with new growth popple. This is where we hunted most with about 6 of our flushes in there. The popple trees were about 8-12 feet high. Also try small swamps or tall grass spots in the woods and hit the edges and don't be afraid to get your feet a little wet. When hitting the swamps you might get a bonus woodcock or two. Very tough bird to hit. Flushed about 5 when we were out. Also hit every thick spot you can find.

Send me an e-mail and I'll tell you where we went.

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Our cabin is in the same area and i have been doing very well the past few years. I go after em . Flush em and if ya miss or dont get a shot go in the direction they flew-they are not that smart and dont always fly to far. Take your time and let the pup do its job. You say the ATV dudes seen more but apparently they didnt get any-to much work to walk and to much work to get off thier lazy a$$ load the gun and shoot the bird. They are getting out of control up there. We have a wheeleer at the cabin but i never once considered using it for hunting.

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Thanks for the responses guys. I don't want to judge ATV hunters because it is legal for them to do so. Each one of them I saw had their guns cased on the ATV and I watched one guy load his gun after taking it out. At least they were hunting legally.

I hope to get a out a few more times. I"m blessed with a flexible weekday schedule so I can get out when fewer people are on the trails.

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Grouse are tough birds to hit. cover realy puts a challenge on skills. but like some one said if you flush it, watch where it goes and hunt it again.

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Taking a grouse on the wing takes a lot of practice to be effective. Shooting lots of trap during the off season really helps. You have to be fast to shot grouse on wing, practice getting your gun up quick, while not losing site of your target. I practice with a unloaded gun and pulling it up quick on random objects in house (light bulbs, curtain rods, items in a painting). (kind of hard to explain by typing it out)

A good day out with the dog is what counts. Dont worry about the number of birds ground punders are getting off the 4-wheelers. Once you learn to hunt off the trail you will take more birds the than wheelers.

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I made my first grouse hunt on Monday in the same area (Land of Lakes State Forest). I had 4 flushes in about 5 hours. I got 1 shot and knocked one down. After not finding the bird where I thought it was I moved on thinking maybe I didn't hit it. After about 50 yards I saw it running and my dog took off and ran it down...very proud.

RoxieGrouseSmall.JPG

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