Grouse flush rates 3D and 4C - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-05-2014, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Grouse flush rates 3D and 4C

This is my third year hunting grouse pretty seriously. Due to time constraints I'm limited to day trips and try to keep one way travel time to about two hours, which puts me in 3D and 4C. This year I flushed about half the grouse I did in the two previous years. I hunt alone for the most part and without a dog, so I don't expect to see a lot of birds.
Now that the season is over I'm curious if those who hunt 3D and 4C experienced the lower rates as I did this year or was I just hunting unproductive covers.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-05-2014, 08:02 PM
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Re: Grouse flush rates 3D and 4C

It's been bad in these areas for quite awhile .
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-06-2014, 10:15 PM
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Re: Grouse flush rates 3D and 4C

I've been hunting grouse for three years now. I live and hunt the majority of the time in 3D. My flush rate was higher per hour three years ago than the past two, however each year I flush more birds than the year before. Just put in more time to find them.

Its tough around here that's for sure. Even when you're in decent cover there are just not that many birds. I consider the day a good one if I even see a bird.

I had planned on starting a thread about what others felt was possibly the problem in this area but this thread will work as good as any. My feeling is that even the areas that have been cut are small and spaced greatly from one and other. The other problem I feel is there is a lack of diversity in the cuts, I don't see a good mix of wintering cover or food within the cuts. I'm the farthest thing in the world from an expert and would like the opinion of some more seasoned guys that have been to this area.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-06-2014, 11:00 PM
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Re: Grouse flush rates 3D and 4C

I hunt the area and I alway feel the lower flush rate has something to do with the poor quality soil. The quality of the cover that grows is poor even in young regrowth. Most of the area is either rocky or swamps, I wonder if the top soil was always so poor or if it eroded due old poor forest management. I would be interested in hearing a more educated opinion on the matter.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-06-2014, 11:45 PM
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Re: Grouse flush rates 3D and 4C

The soil is a good point I never thought of. You are spot on about the swamps and boulders.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-07-2014, 12:28 AM
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Re: Grouse flush rates 3D and 4C

Soil quality is part of the problem in that part of the state. There is very little topsoil on many of the ridges, it was ripped away many thousands of years ago when glaciers pushed south to the Chesapeake Bay. That is why you'll find some of the best farming below the ridges, they were the recipients of the glaciated ridges.

With the poor soils, trees grow very slowly, maybe half the rate that can be found on good soils. Along with that there is less variety of habitat growing on the ridges. As forestry practice evolve, the foresters have new strategies for improving the forest. If you look around you'll find failed cuts that grew up predominately in birch, good for a couple years but useless for most wildlife after that. Timber practices now revolve around doing several cuts, years apart in one area as this helps to promote oaks and other trees that are able to compete when there is less than full sunlight on the forest floor. Cutting will also take place after there has been a good acorn drop. Fire is also being used extensively in areas to help remove leaf litter in the spring to help young sprouts grow, or later in summer when they can get a hotter fire the help kill of invasive species. Fire is excellent at killing off maple and birch, allowing more oaks to grow.

The other problem mentioned was the distance between good grouse habitat. However, we are entering the next major timber stage in the state, at least on public lands. Trees are maturing and ready to cut. As this happens you'll see cutting planned where different stages of growth will be juxstaposed allowing freer movement in and out of cover for feeding and protection. On glaciated ridges this will happen more slowly to make sure they dont lose food sources to far from cover.

That being said, before moving six years ago, I hunted extensively in 4C with good flush rates. I had the opportunity of hunting 4C in November, public land, and found some of the best grouse habitat that you'll find anywhere in the state; the grouse were there in excellent numbers.

Plenty of scouting and good habitat makes for a great hunt.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-07-2014, 01:53 AM
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Re: Grouse flush rates 3D and 4C

I hunt those areas as well and my flush rates were down from last season.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-07-2014, 02:38 AM
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Re: Grouse flush rates 3D and 4C

Quote:
Originally Posted by LostAgain
Soil quality is part of the problem in that part of the state. There is very little topsoil on many of the ridges, it was ripped away many thousands of years ago when glaciers pushed south to the Chesapeake Bay. That is why you'll find some of the best farming below the ridges, they were the recipients of the glaciated ridges.

With the poor soils, trees grow very slowly, maybe half the rate that can be found on good soils. Along with that there is less variety of habitat growing on the ridges. As forestry practice evolve, the foresters have new strategies for improving the forest. If you look around you'll find failed cuts that grew up predominately in birch, good for a couple years but useless for most wildlife after that. Timber practices now revolve around doing several cuts, years apart in one area as this helps to promote oaks and other trees that are able to compete when there is less than full sunlight on the forest floor. Cutting will also take place after there has been a good acorn drop. Fire is also being used extensively in areas to help remove leaf litter in the spring to help young sprouts grow, or later in summer when they can get a hotter fire the help kill of invasive species. Fire is excellent at killing off maple and birch, allowing more oaks to grow.

The other problem mentioned was the distance between good grouse habitat. However, we are entering the next major timber stage in the state, at least on public lands. Trees are maturing and ready to cut. As this happens you'll see cutting planned where different stages of growth will be juxstaposed allowing freer movement in and out of cover for feeding and protection. On glaciated ridges this will happen more slowly to make sure they dont lose food sources to far from cover.

That being said, before moving six years ago, I hunted extensively in 4C with good flush rates. I had the opportunity of hunting 4C in November, public land, and found some of the best grouse habitat that you'll find anywhere in the state; the grouse were there in excellent numbers.
Wow, great explanation. You sure know your stuff. Thanks for sharing that knowledge here.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-07-2014, 11:31 AM
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Re: Grouse flush rates 3D and 4C

Exactly the kind of information I was hoping for, thanks Lost!
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-07-2014, 11:42 AM
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Re: Grouse flush rates 3D and 4C

I hunt 3D and in a two day span I flushed over 10 on a piece of gamelands. It was quite a large area, but I think they are around, just not as willing to sit because of pressure. I noticed alot of guys walk the paths and easy access spots. Get in the hard to reach stuff and you will find them, what few are left.

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