When hunting a new area for late grouse - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-15-2012, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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When hunting a new area for late grouse

What habitat do you look for first? Say you drive to a state forest in PA that you've never been to before. You looked at a couple maps and have a general idea of few places to start.

Do you hit the Hemlocks first?

Do you hit the Jack Pines stands first?

Do you hit the Scrub Oak stands first?

Do you hit a random creek bottom first?

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-15-2012, 06:22 PM
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Re: When hunting a new area for late grouse

Thickest stand of saplings I can find, especially if there are grapevines in or near it. Oak stands are the best because the birds (like many other animals) love the energy acorns give.

If there's deep snow, I might change up and hit a stand of pines - but only if they have branches very near the ground. Same goes for a blowdown with thick branches and lots of dead leaves on the downed treetop. Those make good thermal cover under a blanket of snow.

FWIW.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-15-2012, 06:32 PM
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Re: When hunting a new area for late grouse

sunny slopes and spring seeps...

In winter follow the sun

wmu 3A
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-15-2012, 09:56 PM
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Re: When hunting a new area for late grouse

When ever I hunt a new area I do my map work the night before and set a general GPS Route covering my best guesses of what appears to be the most obvious geographical areas for locating successional and broken growth.

Upon arrival at my chosen parking area, I head out toward the 1st Waypoint while following the best bird finding compass I have, my dog. I gave up trying to teach him where to find the Birds a long time ago.

My new area becomes a familiar area by keeping an accurate account of the day's happenings.

By the way I carry two GPS Units and extra batteries as there is no telling where or how far he may end up leading me.

If it weren't for Bird Dogs and Upland Game Birds I would be just another Bored Old Man!
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-15-2012, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: When hunting a new area for late grouse

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Originally Posted by BirdChaser
When ever I hunt a new area I do my map work the night before and set a general GPS Route covering my best guesses of what appears to be the most obvious geographical areas for locating successional and broken growth.

Upon arrival at my chosen parking area, I head out toward the 1st Waypoint while following the best bird finding compass I have, my dog. I gave up trying to teach him where to find the Birds a long time ago.

My new area becomes a familiar area by keeping an accurate account of the day's happenings.

By the way I carry two GPS Units and extra batteries as there is no telling where or how far he may end up leading me.
Right, but how to you know successional habitat from maps? What type of habitat in the succession do you look for. You can't find wild grapes on a map.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-16-2012, 01:22 AM
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Re: When hunting a new area for late grouse

Try looking at Google space photos of the forest. The early succesional cuts look differant than the surrounding forest.

Go to Allegheny National Forest website
- click Recreation
- click Hunting
- click Quick links on right for Early Successional Maps
- look at locations for Young Forest 5-20 years old

Forbes Forest Areas also have such maps. I've picked them up at the ranger stations in Somerset county.

Last you can purchase maps which locate young forest areas at www.northwnd.com

These may help you get close. Then a lot of exercise is the answer.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-16-2012, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
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Re: When hunting a new area for late grouse

That's some good info.

Basically what I wanted to do with this thread was to provide some info for hunters new to grouse, or people wanting to try new areas who may not know about maps or different habitat. Some guys just take a drive and try to spot habitat from roads.

So basically what it's sounding like is; don't look for a certain type of trees, but look more for the clear cut areas. A little scouting on the computer and maps will go a long way before driving a long way.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-16-2012, 11:36 AM
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Re: When hunting a new area for late grouse

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Originally Posted by angus
That's some good info.

So basically what it's sounding like is; don't look for a certain type of trees, but look more for the clear cut areas. A little scouting on the computer and maps will go a long way before driving a long way.
Angus you got it! I moved to PA two years ago, if it wasn't for the research I did at home I don't think I would have seen a Grouse yet. Folk's just don't share certain types of habitat info, at least to me anyway.

Remember, regardless of how good an area may appear on a map, it may be another matter when you get there. A major problem for me has been Deer Fences, usually the stuff we hunt is so thick I rely on the Deer Paths to gain access to the best habitat. When the paths are not there, well need I say more.

If it weren't for Bird Dogs and Upland Game Birds I would be just another Bored Old Man!
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-16-2012, 03:47 PM
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Re: When hunting a new area for late grouse

Gentlemen,
When Grouse hunting a new area in late season I look for a few things, Hemlock trees inside the cuts, decent feed and water source. The feed can change depending the habitat, however the Hemlock Trees inside or on the edge of the cuts, are the Grouses late winter safety zone and protection, in most of Pa. Large Grape vines are a plus
especially if the Hemlock Tress are near. If you have both you usually find Grouse, unless the area is way over predatorized. Scrub oak, Beach Trees and Burch Trees are good keys also, again especially with the Hemlock Trees mixed in.

Pine Creek/Dave

Never care about what other people believe, be strong and walk in the way of the Lord.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-16-2012, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: When hunting a new area for late grouse

Great info Dave!!! Thank you for sharing.

I'm no grouse expert. Sure I've got a few through the years, but grouse can be intimidating for a newbie who has no idea where to start.

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