Spent another evening outdoors and then another morning after these allegedly prevalent but somehow still elusive birds no flushes however. I put in about 4 miles and 3 hours each time hitting what I would describe as good grouse habitat south of Fairbanks to no avail. There were woods and spruce and clover and berries and gravel all along my route then I varied it to the thickest of the thick with the same result. I walked about 50 feet from a creek for better than a half mile as well. I am a better woodsman for it, but no closer to my goal of learning where grouse live and getting a few to flush.
I am wondering if my elevation may be the error of my hunts thus far. I have also been working mostly very thick areas should it be a little more open?
ADFG does little to help as they basically tell you they could be anywhere from summits and timberlines to swampy muskegs and pasture. To hear them tell it, I should be tripping over these birds everywhere I have been. This has not been the case obviously and their habitat description describes several million acres and thousand of miles to scout:
open grass-shrub habitat, agricultural lands, sparse shrub-spruce at timberline, and wet, sedgy, almost treeless areas known as muskegs. Sunny, grassy knobs are important features of breeding grounds. Dwarf birch bushes . . . and in unharvested grain fields in central Alaska. . . . open marshy ground near Fort Wainwright and North Pole . . . also scattered along high, fairly open ridges west of Livengood, the road to Manley Hot Springs, on the Johnson Road south of Eielson Air Force Base, on other summits or domes in the vicinity of Fairbanks, and along the Lake Louise Road west of Glennallen.
Not looking for anyone to point out their coverts. I am confident I will ultimately develop the knack for identifying good covert terrain in time Id just prefer to figure it out within the season or at least some confidence that I am narrowing it down before the next. So if someone could better narrow down a practical aspect of habitat I should be looking for or an elevation that is typically more productive -- it would be helpful to me and I am sure several others.