2014-15 Ruffed Grouse Thread

Discussion in 'Small Game Hunting' started by trust me, Nov 1, 2014.

  1. trust me

    trust me Troubled Loner

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    Nov 27, 2004
    Jerkwater, KY
    They're making habitat everday...

    [​IMG]
     
  2. JonDunn

    JonDunn 10 pointer

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    Dec 26, 2005
    Up the holler

    I can't wait to hit that one in a few years. That's some big ol country back in there.
     
  3. hitch

    hitch 10 pointer

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    Jan 16, 2008
    Got out yesterday for a couple of hours in several thousand acres of the best habitat imaginable. I got a whopping 1 point/flush for my efforts. Never really had a chance to kill the bird, which honestly is fine.

    As each day passes this season I really wonder if there will still be grouse in these mountains. I've gone from averaging about 8 flushes a day to less than 1 per day. The decline had hit hard and fast as just last year bird numbers were still pretty good.

    It's depressing seeing how there's virtually unlimited cover to hunt, but no birds to occupy that cover. Sure there's been an isolated decent day, but they are rare anymore
     
  4. BirdBuster

    BirdBuster 6 pointer

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    13
    Apr 4, 2010
    Hunted for 2 hours this evening. I hunted this spot last month. I moved 3 different birds with no shots fired. No birds were to be found there today. May have moved 1. Had a point 85 yards away. Dog broke before I could get to her and stretched the distance to over 150 yards quickly, leaving me to believe the bird had flushed without me hearing it.

    Hitch, I hear what you are saying. Cover is just one piece of the puzzle. More to it than just cover. Sure hope Mother Nature is on our side to fix this problem.
     
  5. hitch

    hitch 10 pointer

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    111
    Jan 16, 2008
    Got out today and based on the weather the next 10 days this may be the last decent day for the season. Can't say I'm sorry to see this one in the books.

    Hunted a new piece this morning, and had two pointed birds, one of which offered an easy killing shot, but I am a little out of practice this year and missed. Which to be honest doesn't bother me, I hope it fathers/mothers a new crop to start rebuilding. This afternoon hunted one of my best spots and managed 1 wild flush I dang near stepped on, and that was it. The snow was starting so the weather could have impacted things, but I doubt it, if anything they should have been active with this monster coming in tonight.

    Very very sad to see places where the habitat is seemingly endless, and basically no birds living in it anymore.
     
  6. trust me

    trust me Troubled Loner

    17,305
    254
    Nov 27, 2004
    Jerkwater, KY
    I got out Saturday before the storm and checked out a holler I'd never been in. Big country, very selectively logged, walked 2-3 miles before I found a nice 3-4 acre piece of tangle that was perfect, with grape vines and honeysuckle everywhere. Sure enough, old dog went in and pointed, young dog backed, and 6 mo. pup backed without even knowing why. I went up a steep slope and the bird came out not 15 feet in front of the dog's head, went up a few feet and ducked down and to the left. I had the bead on the bird but the dog was right there, so no shot. I knew the way the bird flew there had to be a road up there, and sure enough it had flushed just below the road and darted left up the two track. If somebody had been up there waiting, it'd been meat in the hot grease.

    Sunday has just been too cold. I could stand it but that frozen ground and ice is awfully hard on the dogs' paws.
     
  7. Birdman

    Birdman Cyber-Hunter

    3,669
    1
    Feb 26, 2002
    Paintsville, KY, USA.
    I had planned on hunting yesterday but the wind was so bad you couldn't keep a hat on your head. Wasn't the wind bad in your area?
     
  8. trust me

    trust me Troubled Loner

    17,305
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    Nov 27, 2004
    Jerkwater, KY
    Wind was bad on the ridges for sure, but tolerable in the coves. The bird I saw was up on the top bench in a north facing cove, buried in honeysuckle. Snow was falling at the time, got an inch or so by the time I got home.
     
  9. Sialia67

    Sialia67 6 pointer

    253
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    Sep 4, 2008
    Rowan County
    I hunted in the wind yesterday and the cold today just because the birds are present on the two properties and my work/family schedules prohibited me from hunting during the week when conditions were great. Found 6 birds in 6 hours and shot at 2. Missed them both. I deserve the title, "state's most dedicated grouse conservationist." My dog pointed just one of those birds. It's a good thing that my hunting friends have dogs that can find and point grouse. It was a good weekend but numbers for the season have been low. I'm finding just 0.5 birds per hour or 1 bird for every 2 hours of effort.
     
  10. hitch

    hitch 10 pointer

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    Jan 16, 2008
    Wind was barely noticeable since it was out of the SW, and I usually only hunt N or E facing covers. Mountains acted as a great shield and overall yesterday was a decent weather day. Today was too cold for me.
     
  11. trust me

    trust me Troubled Loner

    17,305
    254
    Nov 27, 2004
    Jerkwater, KY
    Yikes, just stole a glance at the week's forecast. It'll take some serious Spring to get us back in the grouse woods before February 28. More snow, bitter cold, then some more snow.

    Here's a February bird I took in 2012. Remember when daffodils bloomed in February?

    [​IMG]
     
  12. djs

    djs Fawn

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    Jan 30, 2010
    That's a great image. A nice sized fan on that bird too.
     
  13. trust me

    trust me Troubled Loner

    17,305
    254
    Nov 27, 2004
    Jerkwater, KY
    Yep, we're done for. All this snow, more coming, freezing rain this weekend, cold temps all next week.
     
  14. hitch

    hitch 10 pointer

    1,065
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    Jan 16, 2008
    Cleaned the shotgun today, and put up my boots and vest. Even if it breaks I'm not sure it's good to move the birds around after all this weather
     
  15. trust me

    trust me Troubled Loner

    17,305
    254
    Nov 27, 2004
    Jerkwater, KY
    I wrapped it up with a walk in the woods Saturday. 6-10" of snow on the cold sides, bare leaves on the warm. Made it awfully tough to get around. I picked a honeysuckle thicket that I thought would get some sun. I was wrong by a few degrees. Deer had made it a home in the bad weather, but no grouse tracks or flushes.

    Bout wore both the dogs and me out getting in and out of that holler. First time my Bawdy dog ever stayed in the dog box after a hunt, too tired to get out.
     

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