How often do you hunt a grouse covert? - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 11:34 AM Thread Starter
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How often do you hunt a grouse covert?

I'm new to the forum and have been catching up on some info. I don't think this has been talked about, forgive me if it has. How often do/should you visit your favorite covert? How much is considered to much and when does it start over pressuring the birds? I can guess that there is a lot of parameters that can contribute ie private/public land etc...
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 11:46 AM
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Re: How often do you hunt a grouse covert?

First off, before we divulge any top secret covert intel, we'll need to see pics of your lab and/or mule.

Welcome aboard
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 12:38 PM
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Re: How often do you hunt a grouse covert?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LostintheUplands
First off, before we divulge any top secret covert intel, we'll need to see pics of your lab and/or mule.

Welcome aboard
agreed!

Welcome to HPA, and glad you made your first post in the small game forum. I am also a newbie in the grouse woods. I would say that really it depends on the size of your covert, and what for cover the grouse have to go to when flushed. I personally feel that the grouse are very habitat picky, and will return to the area that suits them best, and has the most food, this time of year. I believe that the grouse may still return to the same area after hunting, but may be more apt to flush sooner, and not hold for any decent amount of time.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 01:13 PM
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Re: How often do you hunt a grouse covert?

When I was hunting grouse with my bird dogs as winter wore on I would just give it up....

Not for me and the dog but for the grouse themselves. I realized that I was harassing them in what little comfort zones a harsh winter affords, thermal cover, food source, spring seeps. At a time when food and cover are critical to survival I was putting them out and using up their energy trying to stay one step ahead of my dog and I...

So sometimes, to answer the OP, once can be too many times in late season.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 01:55 PM
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Re: How often do you hunt a grouse covert?

Quote:
Originally Posted by labmule
I can guess that there is a lot of parameters that can contribute ie private/public land etc...
Exactly. Grouse are pretty scrappy and are really no worse for wear in the snow and seem to handle it better than any other game bird in the lower 48 when in their respective territory/cover. I mean come on, they snow roost and have little snow-shoed toes!

IMO the biggest detriment hunters can pose for a grouse (in any season for that matter) is putting a piece of shot or two in one without immediately killing it. As far as late season pressure (be it a accumulation of limited food, cover and heightened risk of predation that may result) when the snow is down and the birds are budding in trees, that's when they are most vulnerable as they're exposed in the open. Exposure, that's basically the second detriment a hunter poses, flushing a bird from a pocket of cover. With less cover the birds are not only easier to spot but easier to watch/mark and also has them flying a bit further away prolonging that exposure- potentially past a vigilant bird of prey. I think some tend to think grouse have a hard time of it this time of year and the expenditure of energy in a flush may be too much, I don't think that is the case at all. In most cases I think the circumstances of what would define "over-pressured birds" is too hard to judge. When in doubt, stay out? At any rate, if you're in a cover and you've got a number of birds flushing wild out of sight, your just spinning your wheels at that point.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 04:59 PM
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Re: How often do you hunt a grouse covert?

I guess the question is "how many times per season would you revisit a grouse cover?" In my case I'd limit it to two per season, including the early and late seasons. I don't do much harm to the grouse population, due to my less than dismal wingshooting skills, however I still try to limit my forays. I get bored looking at the same scenery, and limiting my visits to a given cover forces me to try new places, which may turn out to be productive.


I do, however, have some woodcock covers that I'll hit more often because woodcock are here today and gone tomorrow; you can hit a cover one day and see nothing and a day or two later it can be teeming with birds.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 07:44 PM
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Re: How often do you hunt a grouse covert?

Depends on how big they are, how many birds I find and how many birds I kill.

I hunt most covers only once or twice a season. I will go back a third time if the covers are big enough and I have been finding lots of birds but have killed only one or two. I also like to "rest" a cover for a few weeks or more between hunts.

The variable in all of this is that without snow on the ground, you have no idea how many other guys are hunting "your" covers.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 09:17 PM
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Re: How often do you hunt a grouse covert?

I am pretty much the same as DAP...I have a lot of covers that I rotate and some "good" covers I don't even get to each year. I am not sure how much effect this has on "my" covers though. The main reason is I like finding new areas (until I find grouse nirvana, that is).

I will admit, however, that many years ago, 3 of my hunting buddies and I found an unbelievable grouse hunting location. That year, in the second season, we killed about 2 dozen grouse (7 on the last day) in this particular area. However, we still had great hunting for a few years after that. It wasn't until the woods matured that the grouse hunting got worse in this particular area. I will admit that I never did feel right about killing that many birds in one area though.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How often do you hunt a grouse covert?

Thanks for all the info this is great. Sorry, no pics of my lab or mule. Its a name I came up with while while working in the environmental field a few years ago. Now I have enough time to get back out into the woods and pick back up to where I left off in college. Finding new areas has been hit or miss this year and definitely don't want to over do it with the few that I've had some success in. Thanks to all that gave input. I appreciate it.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 09:56 PM
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Re: How often do you hunt a grouse covert?

[quote=Big Don]I guess the question is "how many times per season would you revisit a grouse cover?" In my case I'd limit it to two per season, including the early and late seasons.


I agree here, no more than twice per season for me. I also realize that I'm not the only person hunting many of my spots as evidenced by the recently spent shell I come across from time to time.
As far as the late season goes, we don't hunt them after Christmas. When I look back over the years at the days we really 'hit them hard' nearly all those days were in the late season. I guess because of their habit of grouping up in late season, particularly around good food sources, we kind of felt we were taking advantage of that. In the interest of fair chase we just quit at Christmas time beginning about ten years ago. Certainly not to be judgmental of anyone who wants to pursue them until the final day. Heaven knows we did our share of that too.
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