West side forest grouse HELP!

andrew

Active Member
#1
Hit the hills around the North Fork of the Nook around 9:00 this morning with my dog and a friend. Didn't see anything except for many spent shells littering the ground. One person we passed and mangaged to talk to had said that he saw four (bear hunting).

We hit roads that went through clear cut, roads that were roads at one time, roads with streams parallel to them, roads with berries, roads at 1000', roads at 3000'...we drove a lot of roads and did not see a damn thing! Except for a gin clear pool on a section of a small creek we walked along with at least four 12+" fish...when you're fishing you wish you were hunting, and when your hunting you wish you were fishing! Next time I'm packing my 4wt...hell my game bag on my vest wasn't needed!

Did I start out to late? I came across an article that stated grouse are not early risers...and that you don't have to get out there until 10 or so in the morning...so I figured 9.

Any advice would be great!

Andrew
 

Kaari White

Active Member
#2
Did you get out of your truck at all? Hunting from the comfort of your truck on day 3 of the season is definitely not going to score you many birds. The birds near roads get the most pressure and early in the season is when they get get the most pressure for the whole year.

Start hiking. Bring a bird dog. Shoot flushed birds.
 

andrew

Active Member
#3
CWUGirl,

Oh we walked!...I just used the truck to get me from road to road or area to area. I thought the last place we hit was "birdy", but turned up nothing. It was a beautiful "overgrown" logging road that must have been abandoned more than five years ago...it had water, berries, and cover, but no birds.

When we did go up to 3,000' or higher there were alpine meadow areas, however, we didn't hit them since we thought we were to high. However, after doing some research I may have missed some primo "blue" habitat.

Will you find them in fir stands? For instance we walked an area that was a mix of old growth and maybe 20 year with very little ground cover so it was pretty easy walking, and if I did see a bird I may have even had a chance. Or are you more apt to find them in the dense mixed forest, where you have small deciduous mixed with 2-5 year fir, and almost impassable ground cover?

My problem...every thing out there today looked and sensed birdy...however, I'm used to the wide open corn and soy bean fields of Indiana...where forests are nothing but 200 year old oaks and maples and very little ground cover.

:confused:
 
#4
Some days you see 'em, some days you don't. Keep covering lots of ground. You can find them any time but after a good rain is the best. Older roads have more cover, more food, and less traffic. They'll be around the blackberries more when the berries get over ripe and fall off.
 
#5
I always try to target bottoms of ravines that have a mix of deciduous and firs trees. I have also found a younger forest (20 foot trees) seems to be better than an older forest. Early in the season things are hit or miss as far as finding birds but when you do find em there is usually more than one so be ready. The young of the year are likely to still be together.
 
#6
yeah, what CWUGirl and Klintd said: get outa yer rig and into some ravines. A dog certainly helps, but where you find one blue you'll likely find more. And in the ravines, they don't travel far when flushed.

PS - open choke for close range...
 
#7
Also look for the favorite food, I have a local wild crabapple tree that the ruffs sit in every nite, used to shoot them for food but now just gather wild food.
 

Matt Burke

Active Member
#8
Damn, wish I had time to blow a away few blues. Wet sides are ok, but east siders are even dumber. Gotta go check the zoo on the river.
 
#9
Don't feel to bad.
I hunted Saturday and Sunday only saw three took one all from the road. The one I took was at sun rise. The other two were around 0900.
Dogs and I put in two or three miles of ridge lines that usually hold many birds and didn't see any.
I would hit the alpine ridge lines.
Good hunting
 

andrew

Active Member
#10
So...from what I'm hearing I should go as high as possible, and hit the alpine ridgelines/meadows for blues. As for ruffs look hit ravines.

I'll give it another shot...

Thanks all!
 

Roper

Idiot Savant
#11
Andrew, If you want grouse, go east young man. For four days I saw nothing but lots of birds, blues and ruffs. Most of the ruffs were in real tight stuff, but I managed to harvest four. Blues were more in the open but a group of 5 outwitted me and I only harvested one.

But on the plate it doesn't matter how many, just how good they taste...:thumb:

I'll post more tomorrow.
 

andrew

Active Member
#12
I took everyone's advice and hit the hills Sunday mid afternoon till 6:00. Game plan was to hit a high ridge that had alpine meadows with hope of an encouter with Mr. Blue. Fifteen minutes into my drive I flushed a ruffy on the road...came to a stop and watched it land a 100 yards or more down the road. Finally after a few minutes of pondering if this was "sporting" enough...I got out with gun and dog with the thought that this would be the best way for my lab pup to realize why we are out here. Needless to say no sooner did Libby jump from the car another truck flew by and flushed the grouse high into a tree...back to the original plan.

Got to the ridge to find myself in a world of 'soup' and bagged the idea of walking aimlessly in a meadow to only be lost for a night in the woods....back down the road.

Needless to say I found a short spur off a main road that had 6-7' alders 2' on center...made my way through them...100 yards down this spur Libby started going nuts...just as I lost site of her I thought I was being picked up by a Bell H1! WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP! Didn't see the bird, but Libby sure did!

Getting closer!
 
#13
I think your getting the idea.
I walked a short trail to an alpine lake on Sunday morning and my pup flushed a big blue (her first and I missed it, darn)
This is up to you, but I'll shoot'em sitting still or off a tree limb. Shooting from, in, or on a traveled road is against the law.
Please be very, very careful not to get run over, or puppy get run over.
 
#15
Ummm Andrew you said you where hunting up north fork???what logging roads did you take?? If you are truly hunting up north fork road, there isnt much of grouse up there.
 

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