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Grouse advice needed

Old 09-01-2015, 08:26 AM
  #1  
Spike
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Default Grouse advice needed

This year will be my first hunting Ruffed Grouse in the mountains of PA. I have a 12 gauge O/U and a 12 gauge semi-auto. What loads and shot size should I be using? Should I be looking into getting a 20 gauge because grouse are smaller birds? If I get a 20 what loads are good for that? Any advice would be appreciated, thanks!
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Old 09-01-2015, 08:50 AM
  #2  
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Grouse are not hard to kill, the shot size I use is 71/2 in a .28 gauge SXS. You can use any gauge but serious grouse hunters usually use smaller gauges because they are lighter in weight and you walk a lot of territory hunting grouse so the less weight the better a 20 ga with field loads is fine for grouse, you don't need high base shells. Since grouse flushes are surprising and they have a habit of getting in front of trees the faster handling your gun is the better, semi autos are usually longer because of the action and handle slower than an o/u or sxs. Just remember, it takes time to learn grouse coverts, the places where they like to be. Look for greenbriar and wild grape, wild rose and look for aspen in the late season. When you hunt walk slow, stop and start because grouse will allow you to walk by them and flush behind you. Stopping and starting will make them nervous and more likely to flush in front. If you have a pointing dog so much the better. If you have a flushing dog that isn't well trained to hup, leave it at home. The best advise is, get good comfortable boots because you will be walking a lot and make sure they are broken in before you go grouse hunting. Good luck.

Last edited by Oldtimr; 09-01-2015 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 09-01-2015, 03:58 PM
  #3  
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Originally Posted by Oldtimr View Post
Grouse are not hard to kill, the shot size I use is 71/2 in a .28 gauge SXS. You can use any gauge but serious grouse hunters usually use smaller gauges because they are lighter in weight and you walk a lot of territory hunting grouse so the less weight the better a 20 ga with field loads is fine for grouse, you don't need high base shells. Since grouse flushes are surprising and they have a habit of getting in front of trees the faster handling your gun is the better, semi autos are usually longer because of the action and handle slower than an o/u or sxs. Just remember, it takes time to learn grouse coverts, the places where they like to be. Look for greenbriar and wild grape, wild rose and look for aspen in the late season. When you hunt walk slow, stop and start because grouse will allow you to walk by them and flush behind you. Stopping and starting will make them nervous and more likely to flush in front. If you have a pointing dog so much the better. If you have a flushing dog that isn't well trained to hup, leave it at home. The best advise is, get good comfortable boots because you will be walking a lot and make sure they are broken in before you go grouse hunting. Good luck.

+1

Not much to add to that !!!

Often they seem to flush just as you bend your head down to bust through the brush.

That's grouse hunting................................
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Old 09-02-2015, 04:52 AM
  #4  
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I like a mod and imp cyl choke in my 20ga. I use 71/2 and 8 shot. I have trained my pup with a 50' check cord so that is the max she works from me.

Al
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Old 09-02-2015, 05:28 AM
  #5  
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Good point yooper, I forgot to mention the chokes, I also use mod and improved.
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Old 09-03-2015, 11:56 AM
  #6  
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If I am not hunting with a good dog I use a 12 ga Beretta OU with 7 1/2 shot for most days. Early in the season I put in a skeet choke on the bottom and IC on the top. Later in the season when the leaves are gone it will be Mod in the top and IC in the bottom. Late in the season I put a load of #6 in the top if the wind is up at all.
A 20 ga is a little slimmer and a little lighter but you are well gunned with your 12. The balance of the gun is more important than the gauge to me.
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