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Thread: Grouse hunting

  1. #1
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    Default Grouse hunting

    This is my first fall in south central Alaska.
    I'm interested in hunting grouse. I've talked to some folks here that find them on little used dirt roads and hunt them with a .22 .
    This sounds a lot different from the lower 48 where the birds are flushed out and shot in the air with bird shot.

    Also, where's a decent place to go not too far from Anchorage.

    Any tips would be appreciated.

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    There are not many "little used dirt roads" in the Anchorage area, they are all heavily used.

    Yes, some shoot grouse with 22's or shotguns from the roadways. If you search the small game forums, you will find many posts where this is fround upon, although basically legal, it is considered unsporting by many. The serious bird hunters on the forum, seem to favor the flushing and wing shooting of the upland birds.

    You may or may not get someone to point you to local birds around Anchorage, if they do, it will probably be via PM to keep their secret spots secret. Most answers will probably be generic at best, like try the parks highway above Trappers Creek or out by Sutton. And not to far from Anchorage is realtive to the person replying. How far is too far to go for a good hunt? This is Alaska, Nome isn't too far, is it?

  3. #3
    Member GrizzlyH's Avatar
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    If you don't mind a little drive, the Hatcher Pass road from the Willow side can be good at times. Sunny mornings along the roads can be good after a nite frost.
    I can do the impossible right away. Be patient, miracles take me a bit longer.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Just remember that it is still illegal to shoot on, from, or across a public roadway, regardless of how little it gets used. ADF&G has a habit of going to "little used dirt roads" and setting up grouse decoys so as to write tickets for each knucklehead who comes along and shoots over the open door of their truck at the bird standing in the road. Better to flush them off the road. They won't go more than about 25 yards.

    One of the reasons why spruce grouse are not hunted exclusively by the flush and shot method is that the birds don't easily flush. They'll hunker down and wait for something to practically step on them. Then they'll fly up to the next spruce tree and hold really still... hoping that you can't see them. Hence the reason why many like the 22 headshot method. After they flush, you usually have all day to get a good sight picture and squeeze off a headshot.

    Good luck!
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  5. #5
    Member GrizzlyH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    Just remember that it is still illegal to shoot on, from, or across a public roadway, regardless of how little it gets used. ADF&G has a habit of going to "little used dirt roads" and setting up grouse decoys so as to write tickets for each knucklehead who comes along and shoots over the open door of their truck at the bird standing in the road. Better to flush them off the road. They won't go more than about 25 yards.

    One of the reasons why spruce grouse are not hunted exclusively by the flush and shot method is that the birds don't easily flush. They'll hunker down and wait for something to practically step on them. Then they'll fly up to the next spruce tree and hold really still... hoping that you can't see them. Hence the reason why many like the 22 headshot method. After they flush, you usually have all day to get a good sight picture and squeeze off a headshot.

    Good luck!
    I agree, know the rules and where you can shoot. Those boys are ruthless.
    I can do the impossible right away. Be patient, miracles take me a bit longer.

  6. #6
    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    Aloysious,
    The hardest part of hunting in Alaska is figuring out where to go. Trust me you don't want to ask on here "where to hunt close to Anchorage etc". If someone does post on here an exact location it will be over hunted. It takes a little time to figure out the best method of hunting (how to call, how to glass, what terrain, etc) but once you figure it out most of the animals are not as elusive as say an old mature whitetail.

    The best way to learn where to go is by hiking and exploring around. Try to find places that are harder to get to. If someone gives you a place to start hunting go there and hike a mile or more before you really start hunting and that alone eliminates 80% of the other hunters.

    It's extremely hard to find good hunting partners. If you find someone here that has it figured out and is willing take you along --GO! You can learn more from one trip with an experienced hunter than you can by reading a 100 books. The key is to be humble and pull more than your share. You don't have to be the "shooter" to have a good hunt. Never give away spots or post too much info on here (but always post pics and a good story).

  7. #7
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    Your best bet for flush-and-shoot shotgun hunting is to go out on any of the hiking trails on the Kenai. The birds tend to hang around the trail and gather gravel for their gizzards. By far your best bet is to get out *early*- be the first guy on the trail and your odds of seeing birds go up dramatically. After a parade of hikers/bikers/skiers go down the trail, the birds are gone from the trail. Also, the farther in you can go and get away from people, the better your odds. Good luck!

  8. #8
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aloysious View Post
    This is my first fall in south central Alaska.
    I'm interested in hunting grouse. I've talked to some folks here that find them on little used dirt roads and hunt them with a .22 .
    This sounds a lot different from the lower 48 where the birds are flushed out and shot in the air with bird shot.

    Also, where's a decent place to go not too far from Anchorage.

    Any tips would be appreciated.
    I don't know why this was not moved to the Small Game Forum two days ago. Must be a lot of other posts pushing it out of site down the page.

    The primary grouse we hunt here are spruce grouse, other wise known as fool chickens. They flush off the road and land in a tree a few feet away most of the time. Using a shotgun is overkill in a lot of instances since you are rarely more than 20 feet away. For the most part it is very different than hunting in the states.

    I have taken ruff grouse in Idaho with hand tossed rocks rather than shooting them at 6 feet with a 20 gauge. Ruff grouse in the back country down there displayed the same foolish behavior as Alaskan spruce hens. The ones near the farms lower on the mountain behaved like ruffies are supposed to.

    If you go to the small game forum down the page you will find lots of info on hunting grouse in the Cook Inlet region. You will have to redefine what you mean by near Anchorage.

    This whole internet thing is funny. I am now reflecting back on when I first started hunting up here in the 1980's. How did I manage without the internet to point the way? Oh yeah, I bought a map or two and went for a drive. Of course back then gas was less than $0.90/gallon so I could afford to drive all over the place for a weekend and still have beer money.

  9. #9
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    I picked up my first grouse of the season last week. Brazen little ruffie decided to run through my yard, we don't stand for that kind of thing in Wasilla!

  10. #10
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    I have spruce grouse all over around my house; haven't seen a ruffie around here yet. Several mornings in the last month I've had flocks of 8-12 birds wandering through the front yard picking gravel from my driveway. Not a lick of sport to it, so I let them free range all they want on the front lawn and drive. However, last week one of them was dumb enough to drop down into the back yard. Apparently the lab was on it in mere seconds as I heard the dogs making a ruckus and turned around to see the spruce hen lying on its back just outside the fence with the dogs trying to get to it. Walked up to the bird as it was taking its last couple agonal breaths. One of them (I'm guessing the lab, though it could have been the golden) grabbed it but the bird managed to make it outside the fence. I cut it open to find 2 little bruises on the center of the breast that were just the right spacing for a dog's canines and then some severe bleeding on the right shoulder where vessels were torn. Since the dogs got that one fair and square, I let each one have half a breast with their dinner that night (yes, I spoil the heck out of them dogs).
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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