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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2013, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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PA Grouse

So I am looking to start grouse hunting this year. I hunt pretty much everything but I have never hunted Grouse. Problem is I don't know where to start. I live in South Central PA. I have only ever seen a grouse once where I hunt deer and turkey. Anyone know of any good game lands to try in Franklin, Fulton, or Huntington?

There are 3 of us but no dog. Is it even worth hunting them without a dog?
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2013, 09:18 PM
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Re: PA Grouse

Grouse are taken with shoe leather and miles walked. Not many people are going to point out areas with grouse after they put in the effort to find it. Get out now and start walking, look for wild grape and green briar and thickets.




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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2013, 11:53 PM
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Re: PA Grouse

Yes. Its well worth it without a dog. As john said, look for thick areas. I've walked many miles without a dog for each grouse killed.

Also, listen for their peeping....I'm serious. Often they make a little noise before they flush giving you a bit of time to get ready.

Good luck

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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-29-2013, 11:56 PM
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Re: PA Grouse

I know guys that prefer to hunt grouse without dogs and are very successful doing it. You'll need to educate yourself about the bird and his habits. Buy the book, Ruffed Grouse, edited by Sally Atwater and Judith Schnell. It's part of Stackpole Books' 'Wildlife Series'. Likely available on Amazon. It's the absolute best book on the birds habits, cover, food, etc. that I've ever seen.
After digesting all that info get out in likely cover and wear out a pair of boots. That's how you'll learn about grouse, that's how everyone learns.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2013, 01:35 AM
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Re: PA Grouse

I'm probably going to get lambasted for this comment but if birds on the ground is all you care about you can probably do just about as well without a dog as with one, especially given that many of the dogs we hunters take into the woods each fall aren't really top notch grouse dogs. That being said, they're our dogs and we love them and we love following them through the thickets. In the end that's what really matters, because success is measured in many different ways. As others have said there are good books out there that will educate you on grouse, their habits and habitat, but boot leather kills them and if you're not fairly well bloodied by quitting time, you're not hunting good grouse cover! Good luck and if you find any particularly productive covers, drop me a PM. Your secret will be safe with me!!

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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2013, 03:44 AM
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Re: PA Grouse

The hardest part of hunting grouse to me without a dog is I swear they flush EVERY TIME IM BENT OVER trying to go under hemlock branchs/ autumn olive/ grape vines
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-30-2013, 10:48 PM
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Re: PA Grouse

Quote:
Originally Posted by John S
Grouse are taken with shoe leather and miles walked.
Truer words have never been spoken.

No dog needed. In my humble opinion, I think I can shoot more Grouse without a dog. Especially if there is a little snow on the ground. Learn the preferred habitat, and walk slowly through and try to be ready for a good gun mount and shot if one flushes.

All other advice given on this thread is very good.


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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-31-2013, 02:29 AM
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Re: PA Grouse

If you can kill more without a dog, you don't have a good dog.

If you've ever hunted grouse behind a half way decent dog, you wouldn't grouse hunt again without a dog.

With a good pointing dog more grouse will flush in front of you with your gun ready.

The deer didn't disappear.... the 250,000 guys who used to walk around and make the deer move did.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-31-2013, 06:04 AM
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Re: PA Grouse

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighCountry66
If you can kill more without a dog, you don't have a good dog.

If you've ever hunted grouse behind a half way decent dog, you wouldn't grouse hunt again without a dog.

With a good pointing dog more grouse will flush in front of you with your gun ready.
X2...A good dog will definitely up the odds in your favor but even with your gun ready and them flushing right in front of you they still fly away untouched sometimes...
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-31-2013, 01:56 PM
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Re: PA Grouse

Johnmas,
It is true that you can hunt Grouse without a dog, however for me the dog work is what Grouse hunting is really all about, the dog is the hunter and watching him or her float thru the woods and do their job, is the most interesting exciting hunt on earth. Britman and Highcountry66 are correct, if you can't find more Grouse with your dog than hunting without one, the dog you have is not a good Grouse dog, and there are many dogs that can't handle Grouse properly.
Here in Pa our mature Grouse are very spooky, 90% of all Grouse taken by Grouse hunters are 1st year birds, with a few 2nd year birds mixed in. A mature Grouse who has evaded
predators for 4 or 5 seasons is a prize bird and usually a very good Grouse dog is needed, to set him up for the masters gunning. These kind of mature Grouse usually reset their safety zone many times and without an experienced Grouse dog, most times a hunter has little chance at these birds. Even an average dog is usually not good enought to handle some of these spooky old birds. IMO Grouse hunting with a great Grouse dog is the finest hunting on earth. Actually getting to see a great Grouse dog walk a mature Grouse for 1/2 a mile or more thru the thick forest and setting the bird up for her masters gunning, is a sight most hunters seldome get to see, ask Eric Miller about Penny some time, and listen close as he tells about his experience with her Grouse hunting talent.
Men like Burt Spiller and Corey Ford wrote about Grouse hunting all the time, and were good Grouse huntrs themselves, however Burt willingly admitted he never owned a great Grouse dog, Corey actually owned a few. It is true that if you get to own a great Grouse dog, God has really blessed you. IMO Grouse hunting is really not Grouse hunting without a Companion Grouse Dog. JohnMas some day I hope you are blessed with such a dog to Grouse hunt with.
Pine Creek/Dave

Owning a great Grouse Dog is a gift from Heaven. Pine Creek Penny our incredible female Gordon Grouse Dog


Penny pointing a Grouse under the pines at the edge of the forest.



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