Can't figure out these birds! - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-26-2011, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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Can't figure out these birds!

After taking up grouse hunting in my late 40's, I'm beginning to think that this old dog can't learn new tricks. Last week, my buddy and I flushed 33 bird in 6 hours. We returned to the exact covers one week later and only flushed 2 birds in the same time period. We hunted the same hours of the day and in the same manner (no dog).

Is this normal? Do bird ranges vary this widely in only one week's time?

Any insight is appreciated.
Marty

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-26-2011, 10:07 PM
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Re: Can't figure out these birds!

It's too late for quit while you're ahead

wmu 3A
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-26-2011, 11:09 PM
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Re: Can't figure out these birds!

You picked one heck of a hobby to start at your age.

That doesn't make much sense does it. Usually they seem to head right back into their favorite cover. Just like all wild animals though, they can vanish if they want to.


Grouse are tough, and they don't play fair. As your finding out, locating and killing them consistently is one of the supreme challenges in sport hunting.

Who knows, somebody or something (natural predator)could have been in there before you. They could be bunched up at a food source over the hill. Or they could be doing their best Carl Lewis impersonation and running right around you. Without a dog, that is possible.

I think you should try it again after deer season. Good hunting to you.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-26-2011, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Can't figure out these birds!

Thanks, Nate - your "bunching up" comment rings true, since last week we were flushing them in groups of 2-4 rather than singles. But it sure is frustrating.

Marty B.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 12:17 AM
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Re: Can't figure out these birds!

Geez, this is pretty normal in my dealing. I've had 20 plus flush morning and then hit the same cover the following week and nada. My belief is something changed and I'm guessing a food source or hunting pressure. In my neck of the woods, they can be hitting acorns and then the deer hit the acorns and nothing is left and then they have to find another food source. I've had good luck in areas with wild grapes, but then after a few weeks in the early season they are all cleaned out and the birds have moved on. PS. Does make you kind of insane doesn't it?
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 12:25 AM
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Re: Can't figure out these birds!

I've had lots of similar experiences. The first time a cover gets hunted always seems to be the best.

I think that grouse learn to avoid pressure, either by running out ahead, flushing wild or moving to a nearby cover.

If the grouse are moving though, it's probably not very far. According to the Appalachian Cooperative Grouse Research Project, the Fall and Winter home ranges of ruffed grouse are 35 acres for adult males, 75 acres for adult females, and 85 acres for juveniles.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 12:27 AM
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Re: Can't figure out these birds!

Think they are eating those red berries here. Flushed 4 of them and 2 woodcocks kicking out a small pine and brush thicket for bear.

You canít get them if you ainít in the woods!!
<span style="font-weight: bold">GOD BLESS</span>
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-27-2011, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Can't figure out these birds!

Thanks for all our posts. I appreciate it. Your comments about hunting pressure are probably dead on, as the area is heavily marked in preparation for deer season. I'm guessing that the area saw an unusually large amount of vehicular and foot traffic over the past week.

Marty B.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-29-2011, 12:10 AM
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Re: Can't figure out these birds!

I HAD my dog out Sat., and only got one woodcock moved, while EVERYBODY I talked to on the mountain that was grouse hunting/deer scouting/general bumming around saw several that day, plus deer, turkeys, porky's, etc. etc.!!! LOL!!! Next time!
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-29-2011, 03:34 PM
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Re: Can't figure out these birds!

The only thing predictable about grouse is that they are unpredictable. A couple weeks ago my dad and I spent all morning and the better part of an afternoon in prime grouse cover and only moved two. On the way back to the truck in a open hardwoods his dog locked up and we moved 7 within. 100 yds.
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