Got out for three days with the dog. Decided I was going to check out some new locations I had driven past recently that looked promising south of town. Couldn't keep the spruce hens away. I found a couple decent coverts for ruffs and happened upon a good spot for sharptails. I left them alone for the most part and kicked them up for Toby. I ended up shooting one a day off of a good point for training purposes.
26th was a decent day. I flushed about 15 birds shot a couple spruce hens for training value, found a couple ruffs down in low areas. Examining their crops it looks like they are starting to move to green leaves (mostly aspen) but no buds yet. Highbush cranberries and a few rose hips were also present. The spruce hens had a mixture of spruce needles, birch catkins and highbush cranberies which indicates the ruffs move to greens were not necessarily due to a scarecity of berries. I also observed plenty of highbush cranberries while in the woods. The sharptails were feeding almost exclusively on blueberries, which were plentiful where I found them.
27th was a good day. I went three for three on a sort of grouse slam! A spruce, a ruff, and a sharptail all within a mile of each other. I believe the sharptails were moving through in this area on there way somewhere else. Saw several more spruce hens and heard a few that flushed in thick cover. I located the sharptails in a mature aspen stand. The ruffs were near water in thick lowland cover. Young birch/aspen stands with 4-6 ft tall spruce trees seemed to produce.
28th Moved a bit further out. Found the best ruffed habitat I have ever seen. Produced only one bird, but I was fighting a young aspen stand and may have pushed more out without know it as I could not keep up with Toby. Shot 8 spruce hens that Toby pointed for training value. I literally shoo-ed another 30 spruce hens off the trails. Worked some sharptails on my way back, they were pretty spread out and I harvested one and watched some more fly.