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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ruffies are the upland bird of choice where I am (with the odd, very occasional woodcock), but the choice semi-open land I used to hunt has all been taken by housing projects over the past several decades and lately I've been hunting dense to very dense bush, mix of cedar, pines, oaks, and maples depending on what's underfoot, and I hardly ever get a bird in flight in sight for more than a split second (and they more often just run away, being frequently hunted and therefore not stupid in my area.) Anyway, you could say this is sharpening my skills and no doubt it is, but I'm thinking hard about getting a good grouse dog. Any brush shooting tips most gratefully received.
I'm toting a 12 gauge, 26" SBS DBBL. Fixed chokes, IC and MOD, its a great little gun.
 

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I have them on my land on the Olympic Peninsula.. many grouse will fly a short distance and just sit on a tree branch. They are kinda small for some reason so I don't hunt them
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I have them on my land on the Olympic Peninsula.. many grouse will fly a short distance and just sit on a tree branch. They are kinda small for some reason so I don't hunt them
They'd get smarter fast if you started shooting them. If many people hunt them ruffed grouse turn into bird geniuses- unbelieveably wily. But I think that far west you also have spruce grouse, AKA 'the fool hen,' they do that kind of thing. If it's spruce grouse, it's kind of you not to take advantage of their foolish nature.
 

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These are definitely ruffed grouse, seen single toms and also toms with large harems

I'm pretty quiet in the woods so I see a lot of wildlife
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Tough spot to be in, having such fine potential game birds but with no sporting behaviour... but at least you can get a free range wild chicken dinner when you want one!
 

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Tough spot to be in, having such fine potential game birds but with no sporting behaviour... but at least you can get a free range wild chicken dinner when you want one!
I kinda follow the old addage of not hunting near the cabin so in an emergency they will be there. BTW right out back is 50K + acres of private timberland I can hunt in, and across the (out back) HWY is the Olympic National Forest.. so I may hunt out there once our home is built, soon, deer, bear, elk, yotes, etc
 

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Love those tasty little buggers, just finished a meal of them. Always carry some birdshot when hunting deer with a shotgun. Saves coming home empty-handed.

cars
 

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I have them on my land on the Olympic Peninsula.. many grouse will fly a short distance and just sit on a tree branch. They are kinda small for some reason so I don't hunt them
Blitz, are you sure they aren't just yearlings you're spotting?

They're not going to be as big as blues, of course, but they'll make for a decent meal breasted out.

I've killed many a ruffed with a 12-gauge after they sat on limbs, and if they sit still enough, you can plug 'em with a .22 pistol.
 

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I, myself like shooting grouse, especially Ruffs and Blues. Here's two I shot 3 months ago with my .410 Wingmaster. I recently bought another gun that will be used primarily for grouse; a Remington 870 Riot Gun Wingmaster with an 18" barrel fixed cyl. bore made back in the 70s. I got it in almost new condition for less than a new 870 express.
 

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I, myself like shooting grouse, especially Ruffs and Blues. Here's two I shot 3 months ago with my .410 Wingmaster. I recently bought another gun that will be used primarily for grouse; a Remington 870 Riot Gun Wingmaster with an 18" barrel fixed cyl. bore made back in the 70s. I got it in almost new condition for less than a new 870 express.
What choke do you use in that 870? I've got my 28 in getting it reamed out to skeet/imp cyl. 410 goes in next and I've been thinking imp cyl/imp cyl. I've had two guns that were great on grouse when I lived in Mont and Alaska. Both had skeet choke on them. Neither were so good in the open field but great in the forrest.
 

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First post and kind of late to the party on this topic.

I too hunt ruffed grouse without a dog, but I use a single shot 20ga with handloads. Must be a glutton for punishment. I hunt on my inlaws' 140 acre farm that is about half hayfield and half thick hardwoods. Stuff is so thick you can barely get your gun up in some parts.

It may not be sporting by many others, but I have no issues ground swiping birds. More times than not, I see the birds in range on the ground before they even flush. I walk quietly and don't have a dog stomping around the woods ahead of me. I hunt for food, not for sport. Taking birds on the wing is rewarding and fun in itself, but if I see a grouse in the open in range on the ground, I will not hesitate to kill it on the ground.

Because I have no dog, I become the dog in a way. I'm the eyes and ears in the woods. I'm not sniffing around looking for birds, I'm using my eyes and ears looking and listening. It's a challenge altogether. If you're hunting like me, look for motion is the best advice I can offer. Grouse only fly a short distance from where they were flushed, maybe 20-30y at most. If you keep your path, they will likely flush again. With a flushed bird, I will mark where it landed, wait a minute or two, then circle around approaching from downwind. Yes they can smell you. Always walk to end on an odd number of steps. That's how deer walk. Three steps, stop, five steps, stop. You'll mimic the sound of a deer walking and it will put the grouse at ease and not stressed. Camouflage isn't just visual, it's auditory as well. You can get closer and kill it this time. I've flushed and stalked a bird 9 times before killing it 200y away from the original spot I saw it. 200y through thick hardwoods 20-30y at a time takes a long time. I just had more patience and persistence than my prey. I won.

We have a short grouse season here and I'm just a weekend warrior. I average 12-15 ruffed grouse per season. All are taken with a single shot 20ga and 3/4oz handloads.
 

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What choke do you use in that 870? I've got my 28 in getting it reamed out to skeet/imp cyl. 410 goes in next and I've been thinking imp cyl/imp cyl. I've had two guns that were great on grouse when I lived in Mont and Alaska. Both had skeet choke on them. Neither were so good in the open field but great in the forrest.
Full choke.
 

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Blue Grouse in my area, but very hard hunting,10,000ft and up, but its my favorite hunting and favorite bird for the table, have an English setter that no bird will get by, Good hunting, Best G
 
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