2014-15 Ruffed Grouse Thread

trust me

Troubled Loner
Nov 27, 2004
17,305
Jerkwater, KY
nice bird. love the chimneys. they could tell some great tales if they could talk. getting harder to find them especially fully intact like that one. if there was any way to move them intact id have a bunch of them on my place.

I've been taking photos of those old chimneys along the way, hope to print them up in black and white and put a collection of them on the wall. I always have to poke around those house sites, probably find me at the bottom of a well someday.
 

JonDunn

10 pointer
Dec 26, 2005
1,730
Up the holler
Good job there buddy! You done went and killed the last bird in the country.

I've not been out like I should this year. One reason is I've only flew 2 birds, an one of them wasn't in his home last weekend when we checked on him. Gotta really love dogs to tantalize ones self to this degree. It's surely not fair to them though.
 

hitch

10 pointer
Jan 16, 2008
1,086
Back after them today, hunted a nice spot which I hunted earlier in the year and didn't move a bird, today found three hiding there. One I flushed, the other were pointed but didn't hold hardly enough to get even a chance at them.

I guess I'm lucky my dog seems to love to go no matter what, if we find birds or not he hunts hard and doesn't want to quit. Maybe, he and I are too much alike that we just like to be out getting some much needed exercise and a bird contact is just extra.
 

KY Grouse Hunter

6 pointer
Nov 2, 2007
274
Southeastern Kentucky
Have hunted a total of 5 times this season. All spots that have held a bird or two in the past years. Thought I heard one fly out of a tree, and saw the butt of another also flying out of a tree. I have three exceptionally good dogs, one that is winning on the coverdog circuit and it is just not justifiable anymore to keep dogs in SE KY anymore. The birds are just gone. Maybe pockets here and there, but overall, the birds are just not here. No real hope of state-wide habitat improvement due to all being primarily privately owned, logging is minimal, woods are mostly mature growth forests now, and land development just keeps creeping in slowly. I have not carried a shotgun in two years, just a blank pistol in case we got some work in. This so far, has been the most disheartening year for me as a KY bird hunter in a long time.
 

Gen.Stonewall

6 pointer
May 1, 2009
115
Bell Co.
Boys, go ahead and oil your guns and put them away, wash your hunting togs and store them for the season. I've killed the last grouse in East Kentucky.

Went out yesterday in 60 temps and hot gusty wind from the south, but a daylong drizzle kept me cool. I went and knocked on the door of a bird I saw in November, but he wasn't home, so I went to a holler that I first visited with bird dogs nearly 40 years ago, and after it was logged 5 or 6 years ago, it's got some bird cover again.

The only way into this holler is a gutbusting straight up climb. We got in there and the dogs knew where to go, and it wasn't long until I had two dogs locked up solid. I had to cross the creek to get to them, and when I was stepping down into the branch and had my head down, the bird came up and had his rockets on before I could get on him. I got one shot off, and I was on him but he showed no signs of being hit. I marked his path and we went after him.

The dogs pointed again on a high windy oak steep, and the bird was in a large treelap. It came out low and I had to wait for it to clear the dogs before i could get a shot, and it acted weak, angling down the hill and crossing a small cove. Rather than climb down and back up, I followed the contour of the cove and went back in it to save elevation. We were moving fast and about that time I saw the old dog bow up and about the time her tail went up over her back, the bird flushed hard and was going to the ridge and I dropped it in a cloud of feathers. It balled up and thumped the ground. When dead birds hit the ground like that, they usually stay dead.

View attachment 45543

I got to thinking that I didn't see the bird I was chasing angle into the cove, and started worrying that I'd killed a second bird, and the possibly wounded first bird was still at large. We spent the next hour combing the hillside and holler but the wind and rain weren't doing the dogs any favors, and nothing came of it. The only way out of the holler is a gutbusting straight up climb, and we headed to the truck.

It was a special treat to get to take a bird over point in this place. My pap hunted it back in the day, and I was always intriqued by the old chimneys that still stand today, hundred year old guardians of memories long forgotten.

View attachment 45544

I was 10 or 12 back then and we could always get a dozen or more flushes in that place, and after hunting it and one or two nearby hollers it was all my little legs could do to get back over that mountain. I never wanted to whine and complain because Pap might not bring me back, so i toughed it out and always matched him step for step. I wasnt' carrying a gun back then and my hands and pockets were always filled with rocks and rusty relics gathered from the old house sites.


Awesome looking place and good job!!
 

Gen.Stonewall

6 pointer
May 1, 2009
115
Bell Co.
Have hunted a total of 5 times this season. All spots that have held a bird or two in the past years. Thought I heard one fly out of a tree, and saw the butt of another also flying out of a tree. I have three exceptionally good dogs, one that is winning on the coverdog circuit and it is just not justifiable anymore to keep dogs in SE KY anymore. The birds are just gone. Maybe pockets here and there, but overall, the birds are just not here. No real hope of state-wide habitat improvement due to all being primarily privately owned, logging is minimal, woods are mostly mature growth forests now, and land development just keeps creeping in slowly. I have not carried a shotgun in two years, just a blank pistol in case we got some work in. This so far, has been the most disheartening year for me as a KY bird hunter in a long time.

I agree 100% with your assessment. If I did get a shot I am not sure I would try to hit it.
 

BirdBuster

6 pointer
Apr 4, 2010
343
Hunted for 1.5 hours this evening. Went to two points. On both, as soon as I came in sight of the dog she broke and worked scent but no bird. Ground was super crunchy. Think the birds lifted before we got to them.
 

BirdBuster

6 pointer
Apr 4, 2010
343
I am whooped. Hunted for over 3 hours that was straight up and down. Had one wild flush. Went against my better judgment and hunted strip benches. Back to the hollows when the weather decides to be nice.
 

hitch

10 pointer
Jan 16, 2008
1,086
Got out this afternoon ahead of the polar vortex. Hit a place I hunted a few weeks ago, on that trip I didn't move a bird. This afternoon the beast pointed 7 birds, and I killed the first one. Decided to not kill any of the others, and leave them to hopefully produce a bunch more for next year. As usual, the birds start appearing in the places I hunt as winter progresses. Every trip now it seems we are finding more and more birds. Hopefully the trend continues.
 

trust me

Troubled Loner
Nov 27, 2004
17,305
Jerkwater, KY
I've killed one, and he'd been in the acorns.

Crop content 1-3-15.jpg

The 2004 Appalachian grouse study said acorns were the main item in a grouse's diet. At that time, I'd only cleaned one bird with acorns in it, and I disagreed with the study. Since then, I've not inspected a great deal of birds but I've only seen 3 or 4 more with acorns in them. Most of what I find are Christmas fern and various greens, dogwood in early season, and beech in the good years. This year beech is very spotty, trees in the creek seem to have a few nuts and trees up on the hill are bare.
 

hitch

10 pointer
Jan 16, 2008
1,086
Hitch,
Glad you had a great hunt. What had the bird been eating that you killed?

Honeysuckle leaves assorted other greens, a couple of grapes and a few sumac.

I've felt all season the insane acorn crop has probably relocated birds out of their normal locations.
 

BirdBuster

6 pointer
Apr 4, 2010
343
trust me,
I agree with you about the acorns. Up north I have killed several with acorns.

Hitch,
That was what the first grouse I killed had in it. The second grouse I killed had a few greens and a red berry that looked like dog wood. The were growing on a very small vine that was tangled with grape vines and green briars.
 

grousec

6 pointer
Jan 15, 2009
471
mt sterling ky
2 hours on the ground this evening produced 4 birds. Had a nice point on this one. Actually got a picture of Daisy pointing the bird and a photo of the bird with the new to me 1925 Ithaca 28ga.

IMG_1850.jpg
I envy you with that great looking grouse wand. I have a Ithaca NID 20 ga but I sure love the 28 gauge sxs's. I bet that thing is light and lively.
 

BirdBuster

6 pointer
Apr 4, 2010
343
grousec,
The little gun is a joy to hunt with. It is just shy of 6 pounds. This is one of the later flues. They beefed the later ones up a little due to the ammunition change. Some guys with the Flues say theirs weigh just a dab over 5 pounds. With the gun having 26" barrels, I like a little extra weight. It helps taming down the front. This gun has factory chokes of cylinder and modified. Couldn't get any better.
 


Latest posts

Top