Teach me about grouse coverts - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 81 (permalink) Old 12-03-2013, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Teach me about grouse coverts

I just want to know about what to look for, what a covert is, and how big they are. Am not interested in learning where your grouse spots are at all, I have my own.


I hear the term a lot and am wondering what it exactly means. Is this just an area that has grouse, or an area you would expect grouse. How big are these coverts usually. I have a few grouse "spots" where I always see them or flush them. They tend to be small though. maybe 50 yd wide by 100yd long. Once I get out of these areas, I don't typically see any more grouse.

Here is my question. Say I hunt the "covert" where I shot my grouse on Saturday. We flushed 5 birds. I got one of them, If I go back in there again and say get lucky and get 2. Should I move on and not hunt this covert until next year. I don't want to over hunt a producing grouse spot, and want to conserve what is there and leave some seed for next year.

Do grouse spend most of their lives in this 50yd by 100 yd area, as many of these spots, that is all the bigger the area is. It seems as thought once I enter this "zone" I will flush grouse, and after I walk through I will not see any more grouse.

How big is their "home range" if you will?

What do you look for when picking a grouse spot. My favorite spot, where I got the grouse this weekend, you could not walk a step with out hitting grouse tracks. There are quite a few large brush piles, with grape vines and such going up trees and such, some small plants with red berry looking things on them, and green briar, a few oak trees but not many. I walked above and below this strip and all of the tracks were in this little rectangle.

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post #2 of 81 (permalink) Old 12-03-2013, 04:25 PM
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Re: Teach me about grouse coverts

Mike
I'm still learning how to ID the best habitat, so I'm in the same boat.

I started here with this book.
Grouse Hunter's Guide: 2nd Edition

pm me your email (if you want) and i'll send you some pdf's I've come across that will also help get you started.

I'm like you, in that I grew up a deer hunter. But caught the grouse bug pretty bad as an adult (or at least as an adult child )
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post #3 of 81 (permalink) Old 12-03-2013, 04:56 PM
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Re: Teach me about grouse coverts

Buy a copy of the book 'Ruffed Grouse' from Stackpole Books, part of their wildlife series. Should be able to pick up a copy on Amazon. It's the most complete book on the ruffed grouse I've ever seen.
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post #4 of 81 (permalink) Old 12-03-2013, 07:45 PM
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Re: Teach me about grouse coverts

I have been hunting small covers for the last few years and it seems to be pretty hit or miss. I havent hunted any large woods to know what the differnce is.
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post #5 of 81 (permalink) Old 12-03-2013, 08:53 PM
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Re: Teach me about grouse coverts

Uh-oh, bowmike. The predictions from your "Happiest Day of My Hunting Career" post are coming true - You're turning into "BirdMike"!

Welcome to the fold!
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post #6 of 81 (permalink) Old 12-03-2013, 09:50 PM
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Re: Teach me about grouse coverts

The Appalachian Cooperative Grouse Research project states that home ranges were calculated for 1,054 grouse based on 67,814 telemetry locations. Adult and juvenile females and juvenile males had larger home ranges than adult males. Females with broods had larger home ranges (39 ha) than females whose broods failed (15 ha). In oak-hickory sites, both female and male home ranges increased following years of acorn failure (20 ha to 52 ha in females and 7 to 27 ha in males).

A Hectare (HA) is roughly 12,000 square yards. So the home range for a grouse is 84,000 – 624,000 square yards. Your 50 X 100 yard cover is 5000 square yards. I would guess that the area in which you found the birds is just one of their many food sources, though it may be a preferred one at this time of year. They probably spend much of their time in “escape” type covers (clear cuts?) outside of this food source.
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post #7 of 81 (permalink) Old 12-03-2013, 11:56 PM
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Re: Teach me about grouse coverts

Great question Mike.

Great answer dap.

I'm extremely new to grouse hunting my self and try to soak up as much info as possible. So far my best learning experience was a trip to Maine. There were so many birds and so much great cover it was easier to see where they like to hang out.
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post #8 of 81 (permalink) Old 12-04-2013, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Teach me about grouse coverts

Quote:
Originally Posted by grousechaser
Uh-oh, bowmike. The predictions from your "Happiest Day of My Hunting Career" post are coming true - You're turning into "BirdMike"!

Welcome to the fold!
What gave it away? My avatar change, or increased posts in the small game forum?

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post #9 of 81 (permalink) Old 12-07-2013, 02:46 PM
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Re: Teach me about grouse coverts

BowMike
Lets go a little further with this Covert information.
In the big woods there can be many different grouse Covert
locations depending on the size of the mountain you are hunting. For example a mountian that is 10 or more miles long can have 10 - 20 Grouse covert location on it, depending on how much the coverts over lap with each other.
Thru the years the RGS/PGC Grouse reasearch projects have identified approximate
area sizes of Grouse coverts, however in reality these covert areas can vary greatly depending on habitat food mass and predators. However once a hunter finds a long term covert area, unless something drastic happens it will
remain in that general 1 mile location until the forest changes, and if there is logging to keep the forest in constant regrowth the coverts will remain for darn near ever. In the big forest with all the side logging roads and Deer paths Grouse can flourish, remember Grouse are edge birds and live, feed and reproduce on these edges in the big forest, especially with downed trees for drumbing sights. On just one of our mountains in my home area there
are over 20 different active covert locations, in some of these coverts there are as many as 30 Grouse, not many times here in Pa do you get to see most of the birds in one area however, Pa has way to may predators unfortunately. However if you put in your time, God rewards you when you least expect it. My buddy Ken on his very 1st Grouse hunt witnessed over 30 Grouse grouped together along one of our big logging roads, and taking a wall hanger of a Grouse he needless to say, is hooked on Grouse hunting for ever, he now has his own young Gordon Grouse dog, and returns to hunt with us each season. The more prime habitat in the big forest the more covert locations develop and the more the Grouse population expands. Having helped with both the old RGS/PGC study here in Potter County and the one in Somerset County also, it is my opinion that Grouse Coverts flourish best in large well managed forests. This is why in the late 1800 to about 1906 our Grouse population here in Pa was just incredible, our big forests were in all the different growth stages and constantly logging was being done, and flying predators were being shot on sight, safe guarding our small game populations. Pa's Grouse limit was 10 birds a day, because covert locations were able to develop every where thru out the big forests. Unfortunately for the Pa Grouse hunter forest mismanagement and illegal federal treaties have drastically changed Pa's Grouse population today.
Pine Creek/Dave

A prime example of some of Pa's properly managed Forest, on one of our beautiful Pa Grouse mountains.




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post #10 of 81 (permalink) Old 12-07-2013, 05:26 PM
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Re: Teach me about grouse coverts

Pine Creek

A darn good explanation. I was just lurking; however, I just had to reply and let you know! Thanks

If it weren't for Bird Dogs and Upland Game Birds I would be just another Bored Old Man!
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