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Michigan grouse hunting

Discussion in 'Upland Game and Hunting Dogs' started by Harry1959, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. The gun doesn't have to be expensive to shoot straight. Doesn't matter what you shoot as long as it fits you and you're comfortable with it.
    Misdirection likes this.
  2. buckeyebowman

    buckeyebowman On the back 9 and loving it!

    I've noticed the same in my buddy's GSP's. Abigail will literally hunt till she drops! Although one day she'll be "horizon dog" and the next she'll hunt no more than 50 yards away.

    I did notice that we have a better chance of her working close if we take her out alone, and not with her Sisters! They are extremely competitive, and Abby wants to be the one who finds the birds and gets the retrieves. That's when she'll blow out on us and seem to be hunting for herself.

    And Abby will walk a trail with us, but I notice that she seems to recognize the kind of cover that might hold a bird, and will leave the trail to check it out. And if we see her start throwing her nose in the air, we know to get ready!

    Other times we've had her seem to keep working the same old ground over and over. If my buddy tries to call her off and she won't listen, we've had to learn to just let her keep on working. It's usually some crafty rooster running corkscrews in there! Eventually she figures it out, and the bird goes up. And she has made some absolutely mind boggling retrieves!

    Not just straight, but quick! A fast swinging, but steady gun is a must. Grouse are the Top Fuel dragsters of the bird world!

  3. There was great grouse hunting back in the late 60's / to mid 70's in SE Ohio and then it seemed to crash. I still have my Ithica double, 26" barrels, imp cyl and mod 12 gauge which was a great fast pointing gun. I would like to get it to someone that would use it but it is darn difficult to part with.
    Full_Choke, Yakeyes and PapawSmith like this.
  4. I have two GSP's. An old female (14) and a young male (2). Both are hunting machines that will go wherever needed. I will say the old dog has lost a step or two, but the young one caught a grouse and brought it back to me last year!
  5. PapawSmith

    PapawSmith Bud n Burgers

    I say you hunt it a few more times before you try to part with it. There is still great Grouse hunting in the UP and it is only a day away.
  6. I wish I could of seen it in the 60's and 70's when everyone said it was great because I thought it was great in the late 80's through the mid 90's when I started hunting lol. I remember my dad telling me stories on the # of birds they put up each trip down to southern Ohio and I just wish I could have seen that. I can't wait for my Michigan trip next year!
  7. buckeyebowman

    buckeyebowman On the back 9 and loving it!

    Oh man! In the '70's and into the '80's there was some great grouse hunting in NE Ohio! We had a place just south of Lisbon that was chock full of them! Big hardwood timber (oak, maple, beech) that was loaded with wild grape! All we'd do was go from grape vine tangle to grape vine tangle! I could get limits and couldn't shoot worth a crap on grouse! Still can't.

    Heck, even Beaver Creek State Park had a load of them. Nearly had several heart attacks walking in to a deer stand in the black dark, and have a grouse go roaring out from underfoot! There's no thrill quite like that.

    Haven't seen a grouse in years. Not even a "sound flush" where you hear the bird thunder away but never actually lay eyes on it.
  8. I could get three days of grouse hunting before deer opening on Nov 15th. Got just one day last year. They sure take you by surprise ! Did get a snow shoe hare. Look forward to hunting with a dog some time.
    The reason I asked about guns is I was thing switching to a 20 and something lighter.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  9. If you guys ever get a chance to run north of the border you'd be amazed at the grouse hunting that can be had in Ontario! They are every where and in a short one mile walk from my cabin I can jump 15 to 20 birds. Like other areas some are better then others but in a whole it's nothing short of amazing! Both Spruce and ruffed grouse.
    Mi-Mic-Kay likes this.
  10. I've fished Ontario & Quebec for years and I'm always amazed by the amount of grouse up there. Some day I'll take the dog & side-by-side too...
  11. Bassnpro1

    Bassnpro1 OSU outdoorsman

    We did great. Got 23 grouse on our 4 day trip between 7 people
    buckeyebowman and RR Pirate like this.
  12. Wow! You did get into the birds! Were the Timberdoodles still up there?
  13. Harry1959

    Harry1959 Harry

    Dayum. Those are great numbers. Most aren't finding many birds, including us. We didn't even get near 23 grouse flushes, let alone kills. 2 of us hunted 3 days. Lost half a day to rain and another day my buddies setter bit into a porcupine, he got it bad.
  14. buckeyebowman

    buckeyebowman On the back 9 and loving it!

    Holy smokes! That ain't huntin', that's gettin'! Man would I love that. No game bird like a grouse!
  15. Bassnpro1

    Bassnpro1 OSU outdoorsman

    It was nice to bring a bunch of grouse home. We ate 9 while we were up there and everybody had 2-3 to bring home. Numbers were good. We probably averaged 25-30 flushes a day. The lower seemed to have slightly better numbers than the upper. The upper was more scattered, but we had a couple walks that were incredible. In one small stretch we had 18 flushes and 4 in hand.

    Woodcocks weren't as numerous as I expected, but if you walked woodcock cover they were there. Probably had 10 woodcock flushes a day.
  16. Bassnpro1

    Bassnpro1 OSU outdoorsman

    Very true. Ruffed grouse are the King. So good on the table as well.

    " there are two kinds of hunting: ordinary hunting and ruffed grouse hunting" -Aldo leopold
    Mi-Mic-Kay likes this.
  17. I had a buddy come up for the first time and hunt the first 3 days. He'd never done this before so I took him to woodcock cover where he'd have plenty of opportunities and better chance of hitting something. We had at least 3-4 dozen flushes a day. He managed to shoot 5 woodcock and can't wait to come back next year. After he left to go home I spent the last 2 days doing wife things and resting;) I did manage a couple hours in the afternoon both days in grouse cover. Had over a dozen flushes both days just hard to get those rascals cornered when your a 1 man band! (did have a few shots but my little pointing buddy was not impressed...) We did manage to bring home 17 timberdoodles, they're always a blast to shoot! and eat!
    Harry1959 likes this.
  18. Just got back from my camp and figured I'd give you my sightings for the week that I was up. The 2 track heading back to camp is 8.6 miles long and I traveled it a total of 6 times. For the week I counted 63 Ruffed grouse and 5 Spruce grouse. I did very limited quad riding because of moose season so I won't count those birds.

    I agree that pretty much nothing compares to them as table fare. That is Ruffed grouse. Spruce grouse on the other hand is A LOT darker meat and has a totally different taste..... Not bad, just a unique taste. [​IMG][​IMG]
    Bprice1031 and Harry1959 like this.
  19. Harry1959

    Harry1959 Harry

    Glad you guys found a lot of birds. Honestly, this was my 2nd less productive year in the 17 years I've been going. Didn't really target woodcock, but flushed a few of those everyday, didn't really get into them. Sounds like it's a good year for them.
    We didn't even get to shoot at a grouse until the last day(flushed 7). 4 of the 7 we flushed were in mature oak, bordering thick, prime aspen.
    Mi-mic, I think you said you hunted the central northern LP, was wondering what type of cover you found your grouse in?
    I'm going back the 1st week of November and hope to do better.
    A lot of the guys on "Michigan Sportsman Forum" are saying it's the worst year for grouse that they have ever seen. Maybe the hatch survival was real good in some areas and terrible in others? I know some areas got pounded with June rain, while others didn't get it so bad.
    Thanks for the positive reports, it gives me hope! Lol
  20. I hunt the area around Wolverine, both east and west of the interstate. I find the majority of the grouse that will give you an open shot (if that even makes sense) is a meadow with grass and ferns with spruce trees here and there, walk the edges where it meets the timber. Also, young clear cuts that seem like the saplings are every 6" apart I target for doodles but as the clear cuts get a little older, with spruce or snags here and there is where I have a better chance of getting a shot at grouse. Not to say you won't find both in the same locations. I've been going up for a while and it takes a lot of time to find good locations, and they're always changing.

    And you can always walk the two-tracks with cover and find birds...