So I went hunting for the first time yesterday. I tried to hunt Grouse off a gated logging road at the top of the pass on I 90. A couple of mistakes 1) I brought my dog who is not a bird dog . He got to far a head of me and flushed two birds off the gated road before I was able to get a clean shot. 2) starting earlier I wasn’t able to get out till mid morning. I’m using a scoped Ruger 10/22 . Any other west side Grouse guys out there ? He are some pics of the terrain. Maybe I was up to high in elevation?
My favorite thing to do in the woods is hunting grouse. My dog is 15+ years old, deaf, and is wasting away...sad to see her aging like this. But, one can hunt without a dog, I did for years. It comes down to walking in the woods with your shotgun some days. Other days there's a bird or two to take home. I hunt the east side almost exclusively...but will venture out with @Islander before it snows. You might give a try with a shotgun or at least omit the scope and use the iron sights to catch one on the wing.
I would say the fact you crossed paths with a couple grouse, when grouse hunting, you were in the right area.
I don't hunt grouse, but I am in the woods a fair bit. Only real difference is altitude. Lower altitude = Ruffed Grouse. Higher = Blue Grouse. I just witnessed my first Blue Grouse, while traveling many miles on a dirt road, to a mountain lake for fishing, this was a couple weeks back. Absolutely huge, and dark colored when compared to a medium brown colored Ruffed.
I would concur with Roper. Bring a open choke shotgun. Or, hope the bird lands in a tree when using that 22., but loose the scope. Shots are generally close. Most often, grouse flush from the ground and land on a branch in a tree pretty close by. If no trees, that grouse will keep flying until feeling safe to land.
Biggest problem with using that 22. is shooting in the air at a bird in a tree. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SHOOT A FLYING BIRD WITH ANY RIFLE! That is irresponsible. A bullet will travel over a mile. Shotgun pellets travel 200 yards depending on angle of shot. Thing is, shooting a bird in the body when using a rifle does series meat damage. What your hoping for is a head shot, especially when not using a shotgun.
As a avid grouse hunter ,I can attest to some years are better than others. Wet springs generally make for tough hunting as the bird numbers tend to be down. Hunting grouse right after a rain shower tends to make them more active . I like to use singleshot shotguns loaded with 7 1/2 shot.