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Blue Grouse Advice Needed

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  • Blue Grouse Advice Needed

    Okay, I'm new to AK and thought I would give hooter hunting a go. I'm used to dove hunting in fields in Tennessee or hunting ducks and geese, but I've never hunted grouse. I live in the Juneau area on Douglas Island. What kind of days are best for hunting them? What elevation? What kind of terrain? How do you look for them? Right now we have set a new record for snow here, I have snowshoes for walking in, but am not sure of best choices of type of area to hunt. All advice appreciated, Thanks

  • #2
    Blue grouse


    I used to live in Haines AK. Hooter hunting is alot of fun. You should definetly wait for the snow to melt. They hang out right, normally, just below the tree line, but I have also shot them just up on ridges. Climbing through all the snow will prove to be very laborious. I think that they start hooting in late April and Early May. Can't remember exactly because it has been a few years since I lived down there. Their hoot sounds like someone is blowing over the top of a soda bottle. Consequently it is sometimes hard pinpoint where the sound is coming from. The males sit up in a tree and hoot and the hens will gather around the bottom of the tree. So be sure to watch the ground in the area where you are walking because you may be able to get some on the ground too.

    Have fun.


    • #3
      Springtime Blues


      Hunting for Blues is a hoot, please excuse my stupid pun. The best way to time your hunt is to make a few scouting trips until you start hearing them from about mid April into May. You may want to wait for some of the snow to go away to make the walking easier on the lower slopes and I usually wait for a decent, half-way dry day to go out.

      What works best for me is to walk in from the saltwater into a timbered area that isn't too steep and then sit and just listen for the hooting. Sometimes the dead timber on the edge of a skeg is a good place to find them. Their mating call is very elusive so their exact location is often difficult to locate. Take your time, use your ears and keep looking for his tree. Often, I walk right past his tree and don't realize it until I hear the hooting again, or I may be listening to a couple different grouse at the same time. Once you figured out what tree he is in, scan until you find the bird. Sometimes, I have found them on stumps or in snags on the edge of overgrown clearcuts. The official name of the Blue Grouse is Dendragapus obscurus, which is very appropriate.

      My grouse gun is a 10/22 Ruger and a 4x scope. I leave the shotgun behind because I often don't run across any flyers, but you may see a hen flying from tree to tree looking for her mate. By the way, There is a great article on Blue Grouse in the Dec/Jan issue of Alaska magazine.

      Good luck,


      • #4
        my reports are that they are hooting right now.
        a good place to go is up dan mollar mostly cause there is a trail. you go up listen walk to tree look see shoot. its fun. I belive the season ends may 15


        • #5
          Yes the grouse are hooting!

          Usually what I do for hooter hunting is about the same as everyone else has posted - You generall find them at higher elevations. Sit and listen for hooting, Make sure you listen to afew of their hoots because the same bird can sound closer one hoot and farther the next - Thats because the bird will turn to hoot in other directions - It makes a big difference!

          Snow is the big issue right now - We're thinking about going up on wednesday but its gonna be a pain because of all the snow - My buddy is looking for Grouse - I'm taking my rifle along just looking for bear sign which I doubt I'll find but ya never know!


          • #6
            Man I used to love hunt those blue grouse in western Montana. I didn't realize you could hunt them in the springin the SE. In MT you could only hunt them in the fall.
            A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again


            • #7
              yeah we can hunt them Agust frist through may 15th I belive I've heard stories of guys shooting a grouse or two while out deer hunting.


              • #8
                I got out twice this spring, but only have a few hours to spare on any given day. The snow was very restricting considering my schedule. I will look forward to seeing big broods in the berries during deer season.
                "...just because we didn't agree with you doesn't mean we didn't have good discussion. It just means you missed it." -JMG-


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