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Pine Creek/Dave
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:37 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 17 Mar 2017
Posts: 869
Location: Endless Mountains of Pa

Gentlemen,

Because I school a lot of new Grouse hunters I was wondering what the best piece of advise you personally give a new Grouse hunter, when he or she 1st starts into the sport.

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man


Last edited by Pine Creek/Dave on Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:18 pm; edited 1 time in total

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tramroad28
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:39 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 20 Jul 2011
Posts: 459

Trust your dog, avoid Internet/lazy bench experts with shaky foundations and, especially, understand and trumpet the value of early successional habitat to more species than simply those labeled as game.

Additionally, do not forget to tap into the rich literary history of all upland bird hunting....and take pictures.

That would be a bit of a start.
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WyoChukar
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:23 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 16 Jul 2015
Posts: 1288
Location: Hudson,Wy

Advice? I guess you mean advice for finding the birds. I will give the same advice I give for almost everything whether birds or fishing. Learn to recognize the edges. Wild creatures will seek out transition zones where all of their needs are met in a narrow zone. This allows them to get food, shelter (from predators and weather), water, and in the case of birds, grit without expending anymore energy than necessary. It also allows quick retreat when danger appear and helps the bird maintain its condition.

These edges do change with time and the progression of the seasons of course and in the grouse woods I would say the two deciding factors will be forage and cover. Some movements will be minor, in other instances birds may travel a little to find what they need. Learn what the birds are eating during the various stages of fall/winter and look where these intertwine with available cover.

If you're looking for advice about actually shooting the grouse when the time comes, well stay ready, keep the barrels pointed safely upward, and when the chips are down, ditch the L.C. Smith for and auto loader. Just kidding on that last one Dave!

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byrdog
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:52 am  Reply with quote
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It is all about the dog. Practice with your dog hunt with the dog play with the dog etc. then practice shooting with the loads you will hunt with. then go back to the dog and practice with it some more.

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fourtrax
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:24 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 04 Jun 2009
Posts: 756
Location: N. Shore, mn

Comfy shoes per whatever is necessary for the weather conditions.

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pudelpointer
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:20 pm  Reply with quote
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Location: Lancaster county, Pa

My old grouse hunting partner years back used to say
If you haven't found any birds you didn't walk far enough.
his 2nd quote which is just kind of funny
When they flush you better shoot because they are not coming back.
My personal advice would be learn everything you can about the birds, food, cover, Habits. Then it would be have fun this is not an easy game and is not a sport about body counts. I've been hunting Grouse seriously for only about 25 years. They teach me something new every time I'm out and never do what I expected them to do. The other really good and very true quote my old mentor told me was. Grouse are where you find them and in the patchy cover of the north east no truer words have been spoken.
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Pine Creek/Dave
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:50 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 17 Mar 2017
Posts: 869
Location: Endless Mountains of Pa

Gentlemen,

It looks as if we have some proven Grouse hunters here on the 16 forum. The 1st advise when I am teaching beginners and even experienced Grouse hunters is to invest in a proven Grouse dog line. Pick a pup or a started dog from a proven Grouse dog breeding program, no matter which dog breed you happen to like best. Leave the experimenting of unproven dogs to us guys who have over 50 years experience, purchase from a good breeding program to assure best results.

The Grouse dog is the hunter you as the companion are along to pull the trigger when needed. If the dog could shoot and drive he would leave us at home. Do not try to do the dogs job, George Ryman often said that his Ryman Setters could teach a man how to Grouse hunt. He was absolutely correct, the pass down genetics of his Grouse dog line are still available today, if you know where to look.

As for the actual hunting advise in the Grouse woods, most assuredly edges of the habitat are very important. Further if your Grouse dog wants to circle behind you let him do so, he is the hunter and has instincts, hearing and scent ability no human will ever possess. Remember the dog is the hunter, you are along for the walk and to have a good time. Your job is to be a able to sneak up close enough to the dogs Grouse set up (point), to be able to shoot the Grouse, once it has flushed.

One of the most important items to a knowledgable Grouse hunter is the ethics and tradition of Grouse hunting, learn what they are, and do your best to abide by them, always remember you are judged by the company you keep, this is especially true in Grouse hunting. There is lots to learn & experience if a man wants to become a serious Grouse hunter, however it all starts with picking the Grouse dog.

Grouse hunting without a good Grouse dog, is mostly just a walk in the woods.

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man

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Dave in Maine
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:54 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Sep 2010
Posts: 1632
Location: Maine

Expect to fail.

You will not perceive birds.
You will not see flushing birds.
You will miss birds.
You will shoot trees instead of birds.
If you have a dog, it will give you a withering look every time.
Learn to fall in such a way that your body, not your gun, takes the damage.

Be humble. (If you need help with that, the birds are all too happy to provide it.)

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Pine Creek/Dave
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:15 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 17 Mar 2017
Posts: 869
Location: Endless Mountains of Pa

Dave in Maine,

Good stuff no doubt about it. In our family we do not look at it as any kind of failure, more like a life long challenge provided by God to keep us humble and sharp with our double guns.

I especially like the part about shooting trees, you learn to take the shot, the trees are God's way of protecting his greatest game bird. As long as a Grouse hunter shoots at flying Grouse, no Grouse hunter will never become good enough to damage the over all Grouse population.

"Failure is just a part of learning to Grouse hunt, expect to learn for ever. " - Bill Buehner - Pa's Legendary Grouse Hunter. Real member of the life time 1 out of 3 club.

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man

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Dave in Maine
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:21 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Sep 2010
Posts: 1632
Location: Maine

Pine Creek - quite right: shooting flying will never damage the grouse population.

OTOH, letting the PGC biologist run things will.

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wahoo
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:45 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 22 Jan 2015
Posts: 162

For those of us who've never had the opportunity to even see a flushing grouse, or afford a grouse dog while living a thousand miles away from decent wild habitat...how about some advice on getting started for at least a guided hunt? Starting with best way to practice the shot. And maybe some tips on etiquette hunting over someone else's dog. I can only dream about this kind of hunting where I live in the SE.

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1929 Thomas Bland 16ga SxS 28"
1918 Stevens 520 12ga pump 30"
1948 BRNO 16ga SxS 27.5"
1950 Stevens 311A 12ga SxS 30"
1952 BRNO 12ga SxS 28.25"
1963 Superposed O/U 12ga 27"
1968 V Bernardelli SxS 12ga 28"
1972 Rem 1100 12ga Auto 26"
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Cold Iron
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:27 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 09 Mar 2016
Posts: 331
Location: Mn.

wahoo wrote:
For those of us who've never had the opportunity to even see a flushing grouse, or afford a grouse dog while living a thousand miles away from decent wild habitat...how about some advice on getting started for at least a guided hunt? Starting with best way to practice the shot. And maybe some tips on etiquette hunting over someone else's dog. I can only dream about this kind of hunting where I live in the SE.

There is no way to practice the shot. My youngest son was the Mn. State ATA Trap class runnerup when he was 15. Regularly beat my FIL and me, and everyone else, in sporting clays also. Used to take him back to the Endless Mountain Region of Pa. where I am from for youth hunt and he has never shot a grouse. Shoot his 2 phesants no problem and say can we go home now. But never shot a grouse in youth days, because he almost never had a clear shot. And when he did it was gone. Just shoot. Shoot the blur. #1 advice for new grouse hunters is do not wait for a clear shot your not going to get one. Seen it time and time again with others. And him.

WyoChukar has it right, hunt the edges. I grew up hunting grouse with an Ithaca 37 16 ga. and shot my limit many if not most times I went out, without a dog. Like most from the Endless Mountains Region grew up on both sides of the border in the Twin Tiers. NY side was a bit harder with a limit of 6 but often did it. Without a dog. Hunted the edges and looked for a lone pine or a few thin young pines scattered in with hardwoods, if there was water it was a bonus.

That worked for me and shooting my first grouse in Western NC and Puget Sound area of Washington State both without a dog. And SE Mn. although that was with a Toller.

First real bird dog was a Ryman out of DeCoverly in Tunkhannock, Pa. That was when I was back home for recruiting duty and had Bradford, Tioga and Potter Counties. But ended up with Tollers in the end, for a quarter century now. Couple of years ago tried a Lew rescue but ended up sending it packing. Won't even get into short line breeding but many breeders are starting to talk about it, they are finally learning. Hunt the dog you like. And works for you.

Once you get to Northern Mn. and Northern Wi. the isolated pine trees go out the window. Seen many from the East get confused by so much good cover. But edges are still the place to be. And shoot the blur.
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putz463
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:07 am  Reply with quote
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Get a treadmill or elliptical and use it in the off season, alot. Prepare to be frustrated and humiliated, alot. Carry a water bottle, snacks and GPS with a waypoint of where the vehicle is.

IMO, Wyochuker has the habitat/cover and seasonal food thing just about nailed.

Practice Skeet (or any clay game) low gun, I practice with 2 games inside the Skeet game Close and Dealers Choice.....

Close; normal round of Skeet but you don't ask for the bird the puller chooses when to send the bird/s after the gun/action closes.

Dealers Choice; same start as Close, added exception, the puller has the choice of when and which presentation to send...keeps you on your toes ...frustrating fun stuff, kinda like Grouse hunting.

Best of luck, celebrate each bird you harvest, you've worked for it.

Bonus points, (I know I may get raz'ed for this) if you a have a conservationist bent at all, in low population years either take your 1 bird and get out of there or don't take any or do as I and morph into Elmer Fudd. There are many critters who enjoy eating Grouse as much as we do and the birds need all the help they can get in the down years.

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Dave Erickson
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:31 am  Reply with quote
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In a word, persevere.
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wahoo
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:50 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 22 Jan 2015
Posts: 162

Any tips on etiquette when hunting over a dog? I know don't shoot below horizon, I assume you shoot at the blurr when it's blurring above horizontal?
I don't want to over think this, but there's got to be plenty of examples where a guest or client made a foolish gaff that should have been preventable if they were better schooled.

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1929 Thomas Bland 16ga SxS 28"
1918 Stevens 520 12ga pump 30"
1948 BRNO 16ga SxS 27.5"
1950 Stevens 311A 12ga SxS 30"
1952 BRNO 12ga SxS 28.25"
1963 Superposed O/U 12ga 27"
1968 V Bernardelli SxS 12ga 28"
1972 Rem 1100 12ga Auto 26"
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