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Pine Creek/Dave
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2023 10:17 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 17 Mar 2017
Posts: 2745
Location: Endless Mountains of Pa

Gentlemen,

Recently I have been doing some rereading of George Bird Evens, Granpa Grouse and John Alden Knight, fine Grouse & Woodcock hunting books. Each of these writers was a very accomplished Grouse & Woodcock hunter in his own era. All these sportsman believed in fair chase while hunting and wrote about in their books.

In our family this tradition was taught at an early age, and one of those traditions was to only Grouse & Woodcock hunt with a double gun that held a max load of 2 shells. We were taught that if we could not down these wild birds with just 1 or 2 shots, we needed to refine our gunning techniques to become better gunners. It was a fair chase tradition when hunting Gods king of wild birds, to give the bird equal chance to escape & survive. This also meant that we were only permitted one reflush on any of these wild birds, when we missed gunning them the 1st time, we only got 1 more chance if the bird was pointed again. If you missed gunning the bird on the 2nd flush, we were instructed to hunt another bird in a differen direction, giving that bird his earned freedom.

This tradition is still carried on in our family no matter where we Grouse & Woodcock hunt. My Grandfather would not Grouse & Woodcock hunt with a man who carried a gun that held more than 2 shots. His belief was that doing so was unethical, this was in an era where Pa had an incredible Grouse population and the Woodcock flights were much larger in numbers than today. We were taught that there is no such thing as giving back, once you damaged a wild bird population, there is very little chance it would recover to it prior population numbers. I still believe that gunning these wild birds should be done on the wing ( Shooting Flying) and with no more than a gun that holds just 2 sells, especially now that our Grouse population is no longer real large.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man

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Brewster11
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2023 10:09 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 08 Feb 2009
Posts: 1284
Location: Western WA

For several years in MI starting in my youth, I owned one shotgun, a 12 ga M12, for pheasant, waterfowl, grouse, woodcock, rabbits, deer, fox, raccoon, crows, and anything else in season. But we had our own standards, as we considered shooting squirrels with a shotgun to be beneath us.

Double guns were a rarity back then as MI was a heavily blue collar state. The woods were flooded with grouse hunters carrying their Mossberg and Winchester pumps. If a household owned a SxS, it was typically a big heavy old 12 ga kept in a closet by the back door.

Having said that, I canít recall ever shooting more than twice at a grouse, even in those days when their numbers were stupendous by todayís standards. We had one wild flush of nearly two dozen birds once. After that we left the dogs at home and simply walked up the birds.

Today, double guns are the rule as grouse are no longer hunted by the everyman as they once were. Times have changed and so has grouse hunting.

Allow me to correct myself, I emptied the clip of my .22 bolt action to ground swat my first grouse with birdshot. There you have it.

V/R
B.
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Lloyd3
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2023 7:33 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 17 Jan 2014
Posts: 1331
Location: Denver, Colorado

Fair chase over a pointing dog is the pinnacle of the sport. A fine double only adds to the experience and limiting follow-up flushes seems to be only proper.

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MSM2019
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2023 8:10 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 04 Mar 2019
Posts: 1791
Location: Central ND

Tradition for me when it comes to ruffed grouse..... a mature clear cut with young birch trees, a bird over a nice point, a one shot kill, a nice retrieve, the smell of nearby cedars, a nearby trout stream, maybe a woodcock or two along the way and my 16 ga 1100.

Shotguns? Is there any less tradition taking a ruffed grouse with a nice Model 12, an A5 Sweet 16 or a Model 37 over a Model 21? I believe that before a certain shotgun style is considered tradition, I believe that the birds deserve a quick death and that comes not with the style of shotgun but with what the hunter shoots best. I have taken ruffed grouse with an A5 Sweet and a 16 gauge 1100. Does that mean I didn't follow someone else's idea of what tradition is? Yes. I am proud of that? Yes. Why? Because I did the best job I could with the tools I work the best with.

Traditions are as different as the folks who make traditions. Different areas of the country have different traditions and none are any better than another, it's just what we each hold dear to our hearts. It doesn't make one tradition right and all the others wrong. Traditions are opinions and with links to emotions. Opinions and emotions aren't always the best way to handle things. Sometimes a fellow has to realize his limitations and what he does best and for me that doesn't include SXS shotguns. I love to look at SxS's but the last thing you want me to do is shoot one, especially at a live target.

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IDcut
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2023 9:05 am  Reply with quote
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Location: North ID.

A tradition on grouse, all 3 species of forest grouse around here was to have a 410 or small gauge in the truck on the way to hunting big game, mainly elk and swat them along the road or if they happened to fly into a tree as one exited the truck, off the limb! Along with that, since grouse season opened before big game back then, folks would drive or walk logging/skid roads, usually minus a dog and shoot them off the road or as they flushed. With the advent of bow hunting, many of the bowhunters will sling an arrow at a grouse as they travel on their 4 wheelers or SxS vehicles.
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Lloyd3
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2023 9:40 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 17 Jan 2014
Posts: 1331
Location: Denver, Colorado

MSM2019/IDcut: I've killed them about every way you can so....I certainly don't command the moral high-ground. I would just prefer to take them on the wing, behind a dog, and with a double. IMHO ruffed grouse are well worth the extra effort to do it "right". Now....."right" to you might be a different tradition. M12s are great guns as well, as are M37s & A5s, no sin to use either or all (& I've about tried them all). I just happen to prefer English doubles (American doubles are just fine too).

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Swampy16
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2023 10:50 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 17 Oct 2019
Posts: 442
Location: New Jersey

For me itís any vintage gun or any sxs. Iím not a fan of new autos or anything with a synthetic stock. I own them and have used them and thereís nothing wrong with it. But for me itís about the nostalgia. Iíll gladly take one of my 37ís or model 12. I like all vintage shotguns.
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Pine Creek/Dave
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2023 11:24 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 17 Mar 2017
Posts: 2745
Location: Endless Mountains of Pa

Gentlemen,

There are many different traditions while hunting Grouse depending on where you grew up. GBE wrote about a dog and a gun worthy of Grouse hunting. Now because he grew up in Pa and learned to Grouse hunt in the manner he did, he believed as I do that a man should own great pointing dogs and a fine double gun. His Father GBE Sr believed the same and with his Fathers Grouse hunting friends, taught GBE how to hunt Grouse & Quail in SW, Pa, when we had a large Grouse population. GBE believed in our traditional Grouse hunting traditions so much he wrote many good books on his Upland Shooting Life. Many sportsman thought GBE was an elitist, in reality he was writing about a way of life pretty unique to Pa and other north eastern states at the time.

I have to admit our family was steeped in these traditions and we as young boys were taught not to violate them or hunt with those sportsman who did. There was a great pride in knowing our traditional Grouse hunting disciplines, that came from being taught that God had given us the wild game & birds in our mountains and that we should never abuse that gift. This was especially important in our Grouse hunting and Fly Fishing. My Father & Grandfather were also dry fly fisherman and believed that after the age of 12, if a boy used wet flies or nymphs & streamers he was cheating, and should learn how to fly fish better.

We were also taught that other sportsman did not have our traditional ways of Grouse hunting and Fly Fishing. Its one of the reasons we mentor many Grouse & Woodcock hunters, and also teach Fly Fishing. My Grandfather also started our tradition of training Grouse dogs for men who were well off financially. All active duty GI's and Veterans dogs we trained for no cost, a gift from our family to those men for serving their country honorably, especially those men who were awarded Purple Hearts. He also taught these men how to Fly Fish free of charge. We have kept these traditions alive in our family for generations now, and we still do it even today. Unfortunately I believe some of our family traditions well come to an end with my passing, I have no sons to carry on our family traditions.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man

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MSM2019
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2023 11:52 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 04 Mar 2019
Posts: 1791
Location: Central ND

Pine Creek/Dave,

This is where you and I differ. In my world it's what is in a man's heart and mind, when hunting that makes the difference. What shotgun the man chooses to carry makes not a whit of difference.

To each his own. Make mine single barrel repeater or O/U in the 16 gauge. If that makes me less than in some folks opinion that is their issue.

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Brewster11
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2023 12:23 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 08 Feb 2009
Posts: 1284
Location: Western WA

Proper hunting practice, to me, boils down to one word: Respect.
Respect for hunting laws. Respect for those in whose footsteps we tread, i.e., tradition. Respect for the feelings, opinions, and limitations of those around us. And most importantly, respect for those creatures whose lives we are about to take.

In the past, another valid consideration was need, but today that imperative has been almost entirely erased. And some might say enjoyment is paramount, but enjoyment without respect is hollow, if not evil.

A good argument can be made that the gun that delivers the quickest, surest, most humane kill is the ideal tool. This is generally the modern view, very clearly and persuasively espoused by author Nathan Foster.

However, another view states that a fine high quality firearm grants honor and respect to the game that it kills. For grouse, the British of 1900 would argue that a beautifully constructed and well fitted SxS perfectly satisfies both goals.

Does the British view still hold in todayís world? Only the hunter himself can answer that question. But it is a question worth asking.

With thanks to PC/Dave for raising this topic,

B.
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boon hogganbeck
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2023 4:27 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 27 Nov 2020
Posts: 83
Location: mtns of central PA

In blue-collar West Virginia, double guns and semi-autos were not often seen. People generally didn't have that kind of money. Some kind of hardware store pump gun was what was carried. GBE, a well-heeled sporting gentleman, was not from that place, and curiously, none of the old-time grouse hunters I encountered seemed to have any idea who he was, even though we lived just two counties over. My grandfather was a pipeline mechanic and a hardcore grouse hunter who raised a long string of setters, both Irish and English; later in life, when times were better, he did hunt a plain field grade L.C. Smith for many years.

Toting a pump gun did allow my grandfather to attain something famous in the county... The dog pointed a group of birds, and he managed to shoot 5 grouse in one giant flush, as they trickled out from the blowdown one at a time. Our friend Joe, who is still living at 97, a relative through marriage, was there and witnessed the feat, and he brings it up whenever I see him. It is hard to believe but Joe (who was a bomber pilot in Korea) is not one to stretch the truth.
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canvasback
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2023 4:37 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Mar 2012
Posts: 676
Location: Ontario

OMG what a lot of self aggrandizing hooey.


Lloyd summed it up perfectly. Hunt the way you can. Hunt with the gun you enjoy. Hunt with or without dogs according to your preference and your situation. Respect the quarry, the land and your hunting companions.

Like Lloyd, Iíve shot grouse every way possible. I choose to hunt now behind a setter, taking flushed birds on the wing, usually with a vintage SxS.

Iím going tomorrow. Taking my 1933 Purdey, ordered as a ruffed grouse gun. And my Llewellin. But Iím sure not telling anyone else how they ought to do it.

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MSM2019
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2023 5:21 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 04 Mar 2019
Posts: 1791
Location: Central ND

They aren't grouse. Steel 4's. The shotgun is the one I use for sporting clays. Walked 3.6 miles so says my pedometer. Temp was 34, cloudy with an 8 mph wind blowing from the south. A typical late fall ND day.



May seems to have liked it, that's all the approval I need.



2 nice points the 3rd bird flushed wild out of the cattails, 3 nice retrieves, 4 shots, 3 ND late season birds.

My kind of tradition.

In all honesty, my friend from Nebraska asked me if I ever hunted with my sporting clays shotgun.......I just had to try it out, so today was the day. I absolutely loved it. If I could change one thing it would be the LOP, shorten it by 1/4" to match my hunting shotguns.

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Pine Creek/Dave
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2023 5:59 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 17 Mar 2017
Posts: 2745
Location: Endless Mountains of Pa

Gentlemen,

While I agree that what is in a mans heart & mind is important, to me it should be followed thru in actions. Actions speak louder than words. If you think and believe something, without actually doing it, it really means nothing. In our family ethics are not situational, a sportsman should know right and wrong and do the right thing.

I sure do not believe that everyone must think and act in the same manner, each has his own traditions, especially where Grouse & Woodcock hunting is concerned. However I do believe our family traditions are good ones to live by. We never abuse what God has given us, and we respect at all times his teachings. If a sportsman abuses what God has given us, he sooner or later pays for it.

We try very hard to make sure we are ethical Hunters and Fly Fisherman. God has given dominion over all wild life to us humans. If a sportsman abuses wild life he stands outside of Gods plan, and God will eventually judge him for his actions. Each sportsman in his heart & mind knows the difference between right and wrong, it is up to the individual sportsman to make sure he stays inside Gods plan. We do a lot of kidding in our family about Grouse hunting. I constantly tease my brother who shoots Grouse with his O/U Browning 28 gauge gun, advising him that he will eventually answer to the Lord, for his transgressions. We were taught as young boys to Grouse hunt with fine SXS double guns, and incredible Grouse dogs. In our era it is not mandatory to hunt for our dinner all the time, we have provided many times for those older mountain people who use to due so, by leaving Grouse and Turkey on their front porches, another one of our family traditions. This was done by my Grandfather and Father just after WW I and WW II and this tradition we still honor even today, especially around Thanksgiving & Christmas time.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man
My good friend Jonny, receiving a gift of 2 Grouse gifted by Pine Creek Ryman Daisy , from the Covert on her land in Potter County, Pa.

My brother Kurt with his 28 gauge O/U Browning gun, and a few Grouse taken on the wing, with the help of his best friend.


Last edited by Pine Creek/Dave on Fri Dec 01, 2023 6:31 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Citori16
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2023 6:22 pm  Reply with quote
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Joined: 19 May 2006
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Location: Too far south in New England

I find this post equally interesting and entertaining. Opinions & traditions, like rituals, are based in some belief of a truth from a certain perspective, and I never tire of trying to understand where they come from. And what I would give to be a fly on the wall in some grouse hunters cabin listening to the various opinions from Dave, Mark and the rest of you as you sat around the table with bellies full of bird meat. I would be silently laughing much of the time.

Kudos to you, Dave, for stirring the cauldron.

I hunt grouse with a double gun (O/U or SxS) simply because I have a choice of two chokes. I hunt behind a Lab because when it was my daughterís turn to pick a breed thatís what she picked, but I definitely prefer a pointing dog. Most of my most cherished hunts were with men whose families scraped a hard living off the land at some point. A man I recently hunted with, who lived most of his life within a half hour of the Fulton factory and loved his LC Smith though never hunted it, also enjoyed snowshoeing for grouse where he would occasionally come across a grouse hole, put his snowshoe over the hole and hopefully grab the grouse as it flushed into the shoe! My traditions are simply what works for me: Filson tin pants or jeans did not make the cut, but lightweight rip stop hikers did, and occasionally snakeproof chaps to keep the bull briars at bay.

To each their own.

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