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rmkod

Grouse Hunting

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I am fairly new to grouse hunting and wondered how it is at this time of year? I was thinking of going out over the next few days now that deer hunting is over. Do the grouse act any differently now that it is cold out? I am sure they may get a little more skiddish now that all the deer hunters have pushed them. My pup is out another week after a barbwire incident last week pheasant hunting, but figure I can go without out her one day. I am getting cabin fever and need to get outside!

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If you go way up north the grouse switch browse once the snow covers everything. If there is snow look for them high in the popplar trees just at dusk and they will be eating buds. If there is no snow they will still be eating strawberry leaves and clover leaves on the trails at dusk. If it is frozen solid look for springs and open areas of water in stream beds and you can find birds in areas that are not the tradional alder swamp poplar transition zones.

I like nothing better than a than a ten? year old clear cut of popplar that has just half the trees dieing out as they get overcrowded. You know it's the right age when every other tree is snapping as you brush it with your shoulder.

It's a great time to hunt. The snow usually isn't deep enough for the grouse to bury in and the woods is open with the leaves down for some good shooting lanes. A big snowfall will block out those shooting lanes and if you have a big one with snow piled four inches on every twig head for a protected hillside with a christmass tree farm of balsams and you can get some riding the sorm out. Hans

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I took a nice drive today with my 3 year old son. As you can imagine we didn't get alot of walking in before he got tired but we did manage to flush and bag one. There was a light coating of snow and you couldn't hear the grouse but they sure could hear us coming. Mostly due to the long list of questions such as "Dad,Dad,Dad,Dad"? "What"? "You got shot gun right"? "Yes its a shot gun"."Now lets be quite so we can use it". Then "Dad"??? Of course each question was asked at max volume. smirk But even with that it still was like walking on crushed glass with the leaves the way they were.

I have hunted in the past (when I was younger) and I really didn't notice any changes until we got over a few inches of snow.

Keep your eyes looking way ahead of you. You can pick them out fairly easy if your looking.

I would say without a dog might even be better now than with one. A dog might flush them way head of you if you cant hold them back well.

The one I got I could see about 50-60 yards ahead of me through some pretty thick brush.He was headed away from me fast.He flushed and by then I was on him. Of course my 3 year old doesn't realize the totally spectacular (not to mention nearly imposible) shot his old man made on this bird. Oh well he got to carry it back to the truck so its all good. grin

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Pickelfarmer, your experience with your son out with you sounds exactly the same as bringing my boys out. The constant questioning at max volume. Or when you pretend to not hear the Dad, Dad, Dad and it continues to get louder each time spoken until they get a response from you. Fun times though.

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hanson is right, look to the trees right now. The forest floor is frozen solid, and the snow is too crusty for the birds to dig through, so they're going to be eating buds all day long. They're rarely higher than 18' or so in the trees, and very rarely more than 50 yards from a trail or clearing. 10 year old poplar stands are what have always been said to be the best food, but this time of year I don't find that rule to apply. I see them as often in 10' tall hazelnut bushes, and in 30' tall birch trees half way up.

After fresh snows, follow every single ruffie track you see! It's a blast watching them bust from a snowbank! It's a little early for that, but you'll still find birds by following prints.

I was out yesterday tree and track hunting. I saw one in a tree, and found 3 following tracks. This is my favorite time of year to chase ruffs!

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Great time of year to hunt. Nice and cold, so they don't fly as readily, and they also seem to hold up in trees. Nothing more fun than following grouse tracks that make 4 circles before heading in a direction. Almost makes me laugh out loud sometimes.

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I am very inexperienced with ruffie hunting. Last fall I spent a few afternoons in the state forest NW of Nevis (can't remember the name of the forest)and saw a few birds, didn't get a shot at any of them. I would spend about an hour walking a trail then turn and walk back out to the truck. Didn't spend any time off trail. With all of the trails available and not knowing the area very well, can you fella's help me be more productive in the grouse woods around Park Rapids and Nevis? I would appreciate any tips and areas to focus on. Thanks in advance. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Chad

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I hunt the Park Rapids and Nevis area pretty hard, and there are a lot of birds out there. That's actually where I was yesterday... wink

In the snow, I walk a trail and keep my eyes peeled for tracks, then walk in until the tracks run out. From there I wander around in the deeper stuff looking in trees and at the ground trying to find tracks.

In general, look for areas with clear cuts mixed somewhere along the line. Get off the beaten path. Walk creek edges, hazelnut patches, berry clutches, and the egdes of transitions from one type of tree to another. i.e. aspen to pine, spruce to alder, etc...

Do you hunt with a dog?

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Pickelfarmer, your experience with your son out with you sounds exactly the same as bringing my boys out. The constant questioning at max volume. Or when you pretend to not hear the Dad, Dad, Dad and it continues to get louder each time spoken until they get a response from you. Fun times though.

Yeah it was a good time. Its good that he even wants to go anymore. I have drug him out there a few times now and I know he gets tired but he doesnt really complain so its all good.

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