They can make for easier shooting and added excitement through a long day walking. Ruffed grouse can be plucked, skinned, breasted, and prepared in other ways. I encourage every hunter to give it a try. I'm right in the Heart of the Great Lakes, and I am convinced that Michigan has the best grouse hunting anywhere in the world. You can get them at a variety of places, but the best pricing we’ve found so far is on Off Roading HQ. A dog that is always in sight in the grouse woods is hunting too close. If you get a good shot on a grouse and you don't find it, you may not have missed it: keep looking. You goose gun probably won't do the trick here. Locate birch stands and aspen. A simple look at the basics can start the wheels turning into more advanced techniques and ideas for successful ruffed grouse hunting. Do your homework beforehand to know what kind of habitat you have available in the area that you’re hunting in. At some point we all decide to start letting them get up in the air, or require a staunch point from a well broke bird dog. Grouse fly pretty fast. This sucks for walkers. Ruffed grouse hunting tends to be a public land pursuit, whether it’s state or federal property or land that allows public access like logging country. But just getting into something as complex as grouse hunting does not always mean diving in head first until we get some of the basics under our belts. They really are the Perch of the Northwoods, it's hard to mess it up (unless you blast it all to hell of course). Ruffed grouse is considered one of the mildest and most sought-after game bird meats. What do I use? But the actual shot? The difference between a ruffed grouse and partridge is that one was in the air while the other was standing on the ground (or a tree limb). We want the grouse to flush when we are in proximity. And if you get far enough away from civilization, you will find pressure to be quite low and success to be high. Different breeds do things differently and not all people have the same wants or needs. Be silent, and try to become an animal yourself. Seems like the most obvious of any possible ruffed grouse hunting tips right? Bear in mind the famous words of George Bird Evans singing in the back of our minds, “Be worthy of your game.”. One of the biggest disadvantages you’re going to face when grouse hunting without a dog is that the grouse are going to take off without warning. You can read more about the variety available here: Bird Dog Breeds. All Right Reserved. Grouse hunting can be far more difficult than this, but this is a great way to practice. Check out the article Upland Shotguns – Which is Right for Bird Hunting. Something too heavy. Keep that ethical idea stored in your mind for hunts with bird dogs. Grouse will hide until the dog is right on it. With time, you will begin to accelerate in this aspect and expand your areas to hunt. Introduction to Sight Hounds: HDC Episode #14, #121 | Introducing the Garmin Alpha 200i with Rehan Nana, #120 | Upland Hunting with onX Hunt and Ben Brettingen, How to Choose Shot Sizes and Chokes by the Seasons, Ruffed Grouse – Upland Game Species Profile, Targeting Mountain Ash for Ruffed Grouse Hunting, What is the Churchill Method of Wingshooting, #119 | DIY Trip Planning and Sharp-tailed Grouse Hunting with Ted Sommer, Using Scout-N-Hunt for New England Grouse Hunting. Sure it kicks more, but you won’t even notice when you’re watching that bird fold up and go down. You can read deeper into this with How to Identify Ruffed Grouse Habitat by biologist Ryan Lisson. Eat it. If you’re really looking to get out where the grouse are, we highly recommending making sure that you’re as safe as possible by throwing an off road recovery kit in the back of your vehicle. Use what works for you. About the only real requirement of having a shotgun for ruffed grouse hunting is that you can shoot it straight. Hunting sage grouse without a dog — is there such a thing? The Upper Peninsula is famous for its grouse hunting. Its light flavor is easily accommodated to people’s differing tastes; it can be eaten in many different forms. His first mark in the hunting industry was as the critically acclaimed author of the cult classic The Urban Deer Complex and more recently The Urban Deer Complex 2.0. This one could almost fall under the tip above about going to where the grouse are, but knowing what time of day to hunt certain areas can give you a big advantage as well. For those of you who venture into hunting without a bird dog, you will have to change your methodology a bit. Pick up on those sounds; acquire the target; do not analyze, it will be gone; pull the trigger on instinct. Considering the basic idea of what works well for you is often hatched out on a skeet range. But before you even go that far, check out the Ruffed Grouse – Upland Game Species Profile to get a basic overview of this iconic bird. The dog … Grouse love to run. You’d be surprised how many guys only hunt the cover that is easy or convenient to hunt. Believe it or not, I stick to the same ol' single shot JC Higgins 20 Gauge my old man gave me when I was 12. By doing so, they’re actually probably walking past quite a few birds. Minnesota grouse hunter Tim Brandt and his buddies hunt the tangles of second-growth birch nearly every weekend before the leaves drop, and they don't have a dog. On those occasions, be mindful of the etiquette and safety of hunting over someone else’s bird dog. My absolute favorite setting is a two track with mature hardwoods, and about 50 feet behind the two track, a lining of dense pines or aspen. There is no need for 3" mags here. Ruffed grouse are fast enough as it is, so whatever you can do to improve your gun-to-shoulder time is going to dramatically increase your chances when you’re hunting without a dog. I shot my first Woodcock and my first Ruffed Grouse over an American Brittany back in the late 80’s. You need to be able to put the shotgun in their flight path with the quickness. You might flush one and miss, but keep your eyes bright: there may be one right behind it. We will continue to update this list as new films come out. Learn about grouse and grouse hunting with other like minded folks including time in the field with others or along with experienced grouse hunters and their dogs then meet back up to gather around the fire and really get the full experience. They prefer dense undergrowth and shade. If you are in very thick cover, you're not helping yourself. The shootin's up to you. Blaze orange is always a must. And that's when you have them. We explore more advanced techniques, cultural articles, the history of ruffed grouse, and of course the critical conservation issues that threaten the future of this beloved upland game bird right now. The birds are temporarily exposed, and their instinct tells them to fly for that thick cover instead of hiding. If your shooting skills are not at this level, you will fail to shoot a bird out of the air in a consistent manner. Once you know this, you can pinpoint the best times of the day to grouse hunt for the areas you hunt in. You don't need to be right up on them. The ruffed grouse is often considered the “king of upland birds.” This tag is often credited to the thick and difficult shooting cover that ruffed grouse inherently live in. For those of you who venture into hunting without a bird dog, you will have to change your methodology a bit. Lots of times a big game hunt will need to add some diversity to the hunt, resulting in a walk with a shotgun. It does not matter how cheap (or expensive) it may be. I have no idea where I learned this, but it is absolutely effective for preparing grouse: 4. Grouse often come back. You can also narrow you focus on things like a food source and build your foundational knowledge from there without having to understand all the nuances of grouse habitat. Another great way is an atypical skeet shoot session. On the right day, they get bumped typically fly pretty easily with the right technique. Hunting Ruffed Grouse without a Dog. Worst case scenario: cook them in a skillet with butter! The fact is that many people hunt birds without a dog. Logging country and logging in general play a critical roll in good ruffed grouse hunting. Once you start thinking about taking the plunge into the exciting world of bird dogs check out the breeds available. I’ve hunted released pheasants over my vizsla and am looking to start chasing the grouse! 2. They want that easy bird, but the reality is the easy birds don’t typically live long enough to get a chance at them. IF YOU CAN DO THIS SAFELY, hold your weapon as if you are hunting--in a neutral position, barrel down range--and with your eyes closed. This is definitely the most effective method for locating and flushing grouse on your own. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. It will then be your task to wait for the sound of the thrower, quickly acquire the target out of the sky, and blast it in an instant. Hunting grouse without dogs is tough. Founder/Creative Director of Northwoods Collective. Everyone that knows me knows that I’m a big advocate of pointing bird dogs when it comes to grouse hunting. But I can help you how to pick your gun, practice with it, scout for good terrain, and flush them up. Was it food, cover, something that sticks out that you will find elsewhere? We will constantly be adding more content under the ruffed grouse hunting category. Now as much as many would like to tell you otherwise, a grouse dog is not a requirement. For that reason, we’ve put together a list of tips for grouse hunting without a dog. Obviously, many factors will affect your choice of gun and ammo. Again, they have superb camouflage! Grouse hunting is unique and special. And the further north you get, the better the grouse hunting gets. The grouse will be transitioning from their roosting areas to the thicker areas, and catching since they’re on the move your bird dog should be able to pick up their fresh scent relatively easily. Hunting birds without dogs is very challenging, but it is a great way to mix activity with hunting. I think high brass 20 gauge shells and down (i.e. Learn how your comment data is processed. Yes, you can successfully hunt Sage Grouse without a dog. A.J. I even prefer a plastic “butt pad” on my shotgun instead of rubber simply because it doesn’t get snagged on my vest as easily. Check out the article How to Recover More Birds Without a Dog. The flush is the key. The Upper Peninsula is famous for its grouse hunting. following his first bird dog a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, Grim through the uplands with his wife Sabrina and oldest son Marty McFly. Get familiar with the article The Etiquette of Hunting Over Someone Else’s Bird Dog. Get a good Gazetteer or other highly detailed atlas. Grouse are delicious. You might end up missing more shots in these areas (if you manage to get a shot off at all) but you’re going to see far more birds & increase your chances of success.