Spruce Grouse


sg1.jpgFound predominantly in Canada, the males of this species have a black throat and are covered with black-tipped white feathers (the females don’t have this; they’re more brown in color).

Closely related to the blue and ruffed grouse, the male spruces grow to be a foot and a half in length and can weigh as much as a pound and a half. The females are about the same size, growing only an inch or two shorter and weighing a half a pound or so less.

Spruces are polygamous and often called the ‘fool hen’ because it refuses to flush, opting instead to sit tight in trees.

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They roost primarily in coniferous regions, but can also flourish in areas with deciduous trees. Like the blue grouse, they can survive solely on the needles and buds of these trees, but they will also eat berries such as cranberries and blueberries.

sg2.jpgThese birds can be found along roads and breaks in the forests, often feeding on berries or gathering gravel to digest the food, but once winter comes they remain almost entirely in the trees, almost indiscernible to the naked eye.

Despite their blatant stupidity, spruces have a longer life span than most upland birds and their population consists almost entirely of adult birds.

As with most of the upland birds it is best to hunt these birds with a close working dog, otherwise the dog will push the birds into the treetops and you’ll lose any chance of a good shot.

A 12 or 20-gauge shotgun with improved cylinder and modified chokes is the best bet when hunting spruces and most hunters prefer to use size 6 or 7 1/2 shot.


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