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Thread: Grouse Newbie...

  1. #1
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    Default Grouse Newbie...

    I have been on this site for a while but mostly for fishing. I recently got a shotgun, and am looking into trying some bird hunting. I currently living in Seward, and have been asking around. From what i have been told is to hunt in the morning on some trails and look for birds feeding. I have also read alot online but looking for some tips and help to get my started. I love getting out and learning but i have no idea where to start.

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    Member TMCKEE's Avatar
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    Here read this excerpt from the Fish and Game Website:

    Spruce grouse (Falcipennis canadensis), popularly known as spruce hens or spruce chicken, are forest dwellers, and they occur throughout Alaska. They are most common around Bristol Bay, on the Kenai Peninsula, and in wooded valleys along the upper Kuskokwim, Yukon and Tanana rivers. The usual habitat in Alaska is a spruce-birch forest with a lush understory of mountain cranberry, blueberry, crowberry, and spiraea growing on a thick carpet of mosses.
    The spruce grouse of southeastern Alaska differs from other Alaska spruce grouse. Those in Southeast have white-tipped feathers overlying the base of the tail and do not have a band of rusty brown on the tip of the tail. In Interior and Southcentral Alaska, the brown-tipped tail distinguishes the spruce grouse from the ruffed and sharp-tailed grouse.
    The cock spruce grouse begins his courtship display during the first warm days of April. He struts pompously in a tree or on glistening snow with bright red eye combs erect, stiffened wings dropped at his sides, tail elevated and fanned, and neck and upper breast feathers ruffed. In May, he also begins to perform peculiar aerial displays by flying steeply downward from a tree and settling to the ground on rapidly beating wings, producing a muffled drumming audible for 100 to 200 yards.
    During May, the hen lays five to nine eggs in a shallow nest lined with twigs, leaves and a few feathers. The nest is usually at the base of a spruce tree but is sometimes beneath a log. The male avoids the hen during incubation and the brooding/rearing period, but he often accompanies the hen and brood in late August. During summer and fall, the birds feed on a variety of flowers, green leaves and berries—particularly blueberries and mountain cranberries. Insects are an important food for newly hatched chicks. In late August, they begin frequenting stream sides, lakeshores and roads in early morning to secure grit for the coming winter months. The sharp, hard particles of rock are apparently essential for grinding the fibrous spruce needles that are the main source of nourishment in winter. During the short winter days, the birds rest and feed in spruce trees. At night, they roost either on the snow beneath spreading spruce boughs or burrow into a “snow roost,” taking advantage of the insulating quality of the dry snow.


    Use the trails to get into Grouse habitat, then get off the trail and work your way through some trees. You'll eventually flush something. Bring a dog, kids or friends if you can and you're more likely to find something.

    Take the time to know how that new shotgun of yours patterns and try not to shoot at those sprucies so close that you fill 'em up with lead.

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    thanks for the info.
    What shot would you recommend. the guys at sportsmans told me about 7 1/2 would be good.

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    Member TMCKEE's Avatar
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    6's and 7 1/2's are the usual suspects. Don't hunt grouse until you've read the book you'll find at this link from cover to cover: http://www.outdoorsdirectory.com/sto...products_id=48

  5. #5
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I am setting up to try and be a respectable grouse hunter now with a dog and everything. In the past my favorite was walking through the woods at dusk when the sky is bright and the forest floor is dark. The roosting birds stand out against the background pretty darn good. I could bush whack a mess of them in short order!

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    that book looks awesome gonna order it tonight.

  7. #7
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    gokorn1,

    Just got back from four days of hunting sharptails and noticed your thread. First, good for you! You are in for some grand adventures and you'll create many fond memories of hunting wild birds in a very wild place. It's great fun, especially when done over a great dog. But you don't have to have a dog...at least not right away!

    In your neck-of-the-woods you'll have spruce grouse in the forest, and ptarmigan up above treeline. You really need to become a student of the birds and their habitat, as well as learning something about the art and science of shotguning. Pay a visit to your local ADF&G and talk with those friendly folks, and also pay a visit to a skeet/sporting clays range (Grouse Ridge in Wasilla may be your only choice in this regard?) to become one with your shotgun.

    Enjoy the journey! And come back and post something about your adventures.

    Good luck!

    Jim

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