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Differences in North American and European grouse hunting

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Differences in North American and European grouse hunting

Old 03-25-2015, 03:26 AM
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Default Differences in North American and European grouse hunting

Hello everybody.

been thinking for a while the differences in the ways how we who live this side of the pond (more accurately Finland and other nordic countries) hunt the upland birds compared to our fellows in North America.

Most notable difference seems to be that North Americans don't seem to use rifles for grouse hunting. I explain: at autumn grouse congregates, and when weather gets colder they tend to rise up to the trees early in the morning for a rest after eating and get get some safety from the predators. normally you can see them on the edges of the openings. So what you do is you sneak somewhere where you have a good spot to shoot. Do you do this in North America and if not, why? Is the birds behavior so different in there? Just to clarify we mostly hunt black grouse and capercaillie this way.

And question 2: Do you hunt upland birds with a spitz? Spitz first drives the bird up to the tree and then marks and distracts the bird with its barking while hunter sneaks closer for a shot with a shotgun if the forest is dense or with a rifle if he/she has the view for it?

We up here seem to use much bigger caliber rifles for these too, I have for example .308 which I use for a upland birds. With a right bullet it works good for anything from black grouse to moose. Just need to be sure is nothing behind the bird for 3 kms. Which is not really a broblen in here because Finland is one big forest anyway.
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Old 03-25-2015, 01:20 PM
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I can't speak for anyone else here, however, I would never shoot a grouse on the roost unless I was starving and needed to eat. Grouse in my part of the world are pretty much considered the king of upland game birds and are generally hunted with pointing dogs although they can be and are walked up. I am speaking about ruffed grouse, we do have other kinds of grouse in the US but not in the eastern part of the US. Most of the excitement of grouse hunting for many of us is watching the dogs work. In Canada they drive around shooting grouse out of the windows of vehicles, they do it in Maine as well but it is not legal in Maine. Many times the way animals are hunted is contingent on the habitat they live in and what is considered acceptable and or legal. I am not knocking you for the way you unt, just answering your question. When in Rome, do as the Romans sounds apropriate here. Nice to see a Scandinavian here.
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Old 03-25-2015, 10:29 PM
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I understand your point, it might sound a bit unfair, but it is far from being easy. First of all black grouse is highly intelligent and cautious bird, they will see you from long distances so you rarely get very close to shoot. so at first you have to be a decent shooter. AND shooting at the wild is quite different business then shooting on the track. I get 1 inch holes at 150 meters in ideal conditions at track with my rifle on a good day so way under MOA but in the forest it is whole different business. Better not to shoot if you are not sure that you can hit.

Grouse, and even more the capercaillie are higly valued in here too but suppose they are more common or less hunters hunting them, so populations tend to get fairly large in many years if nesting and winter have been good. The hunting season is very short too, mainly because over-hunting in the southern finland where the populations are getting smaller. not that problem here in the east, but the season is only 8 weeks.

Hunting from any vehicle is against the law in here but sometimes hear people doing it. Though when other hunters hear about that it is informed to the law or dealed inside the community itself. That kind of behavior is nottolerated and brings a bad rep on all of us.

Pointers are used sometimes, I have one myself (he is a mongrel though, so bit too interested of hares too). Also one difference I have noticed to other european countries is that here scandinavia hunting is more of a solitary business atleast when hunting upland birds, whereas they hunt in parties in UK and middle-Europe. Might be wrong in this but that the picture I have. Hope somebody correct me if I am wrong.
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Old 03-26-2015, 05:17 PM
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Like Oldtmr said, shooting grouse out of the roost, or ground swatting are frowned upon here. Ruffed grouse are the most common near me as well. By October they are pretty smart and a blast to hunt. We call them pats.

I've been out west, and up north to hunt other types. Blue, Sharptailed, Spruce, and Ptarmigan. But Ruffs are my favorite. I use a pointing dog mostly, but will take my Lurcher out on occasion.

I've always admired Spitz, or Laika type dogs, and would love to hunt moose, or bear with one.

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Old 03-26-2015, 10:36 PM
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That is interesting little difference, is there some particular reason why is it so? As I said in here it is complete normal and acceptable way of hunt.

Suppose that the sociological and historical reasons might be the biggest issue in this case. It is not that far ago when for many Finns Hunting was a necessity, not a sport or a hobby. The war took it's toll so still in the fifties and maybe even sixties in some remote areas the people were so poor that they had to take what nature gives. not to mention before the war! So we have very strong traditions with hunting for need, not for sport like many european countries where agriculture have been strong for thousands of years and hunting was for upper class of society. Of course U.S. had the same for centuries but there industrialization occurred in late 19th century if I am correct so long before us.

I used to live in California for a little while some years ago, shame i didn't do any hunting, only some fishing. especially the sierra nevada was the kind of place i would like to go back some day for some birds. Good trout rivers too.

We did some mountain hare hunting with my friends laika last autumn, great dogs for that! very resilient. won't come out from the woods without something to chase. can be quite nerve-wrecking though to wait for hours on end for your dog to come back if there is nothing. We mostly use the spitz and laikas for marking and stopping the bear or a moose, not for chase.
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Old 03-27-2015, 03:53 AM
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I've shot a lot of grouse with a .22 in my native CO. I often still hunt them in the same areas I hunt mulies and elk in. This gives me the opportunity to practice stalking, scout the area and also work on my shooting. The head or neck of a grouse is a pretty small target at 40 yards or so.

I took these birds last fall:
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Old 03-27-2015, 06:06 AM
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I know many people that shot grouse on the ground or in trees with rifles or shotguns. It doesn't matter to me. Had a cousin in the state of Washington that hunted blue grouse with a 410 tc contender handgun and shot most of them out of trees. Also see your avatar picture is of the tikka 512. I have two of the valmet 412 one 12/223 and one 12/12.
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Old 03-27-2015, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by ArttuJ View Post
That is interesting little difference, is there some particular reason why is it so? As I said in here it is complete normal and acceptable way of hunt.

Suppose that the sociological and historical reasons might be the biggest issue in this case. It is not that far ago when for many Finns Hunting was a necessity, not a sport or a hobby. The war took it's toll so still in the fifties and maybe even sixties in some remote areas the people were so poor that they had to take what nature gives. not to mention before the war! So we have very strong traditions with hunting for need, not for sport like many european countries where agriculture have been strong for thousands of years and hunting was for upper class of society. Of course U.S. had the same for centuries but there industrialization occurred in late 19th century if I am correct so long before us.

I used to live in California for a little while some years ago, shame i didn't do any hunting, only some fishing. especially the sierra nevada was the kind of place i would like to go back some day for some birds. Good trout rivers too.

We did some mountain hare hunting with my friends laika last autumn, great dogs for that! very resilient. won't come out from the woods without something to chase. can be quite nerve-wrecking though to wait for hours on end for your dog to come back if there is nothing. We mostly use the spitz and laikas for marking and stopping the bear or a moose, not for chase.
You're probably right about various influences. We had an early history of hunters shooting game for the market. While it kept people fed, it decimated our wild game populations. So, most of our laws are for regulating sport hunting as opposed to subsistence hunting. It's a crime here to sell game. But in rural areas where people are hard pressed a lot of poaching goes on as they work to put meat on their table.

I also once lived in Northern California. Like you I never hunted, just worked. A horrible existence.

I hope you share more of your hunting adventures.
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:43 AM
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I quite liked the northern California. Not a big city person but San Francisco was a decent city. Well I met my wife there so might be one reason why I have fond memories of the place.

How does the practical side of permits work in there? is there some state-owned land that you can buy a permit? In here that's the thing if you or your friends don't own a land or you are not in some hunting organization or just for a change. Would like to go back for a holiday some day soon and maybe include some outdoor activities.

Yeah can imagine hitting a bird in the head or neck with .22 must be hard, never seen it done or even tried. partly because .22s (lr) are forbidden in hunting in here. well it is not that simple actually so lets just say mostly forbidden. And local birds generally don't let you come that close either, or if they will, they are so well hidden that you wont be able to see them before they take off.

That shotgun is actually tikka m77 on top, m77k in the middle and I think m07 on the bottom. Not completely sure but they predates 512s which (at least later versions) are made in italy. I have the m77 for grouse and capercaillie, great shotgun! 12/70 is perfect for upland birds but sometimes wish that it would have interchangeable chokes, pattern tends to be quite tight even with the 1/2 in mine. I trust in Tikka quality, especially the older ones. I also have Tikka m65 sporter in .308 which predates beretta ownership AND sako ownership. At the time it was manufactured sako and tikka were direct competitors so quality had to be pretty high to fight sako. best rifle tikka ever made. The new tikka t3 is not a bad rifle and exellent price/quality ratio but it still is just a shade of what tikka rifles used to be.

I also bought remington 870 which is a good gun but not for grouse.

That brings a question to my head: What kind of shotguns do you use for grouse in north America? I suppose O/U is the most popular in there too? 12ga or 20ga? 12ga is definitely the one we prefer, rarely see any other but availability must be much better there.
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:58 AM
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Yes the tikka m77 predates the 512 but is basically the same as the valmet 412. My great uncle had a ithaca made by tikka that was a model 77 tikka with the ithaca name on it. It was in 12/222, yes wish they had srew in chokes but my valmet chokes are really tight the 12/12 has a modified and full that are more closely to a full and extra full and the 12/223 is a improved modified. All the grouse I have killed has been with my remington 870. As I don't have a dog I just walk and jump them up. Haven't killed a lot of them haven't seen a lot in the last couple of years. The one person that I know that do a lot of grouse and other upland hunting uses a valmet 412 in 12/12 and also he uses other Beretta over and unders mainly in 12 ga.
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