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Appalachian Grouse Hunting Areas/Tips?

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Appalachian Grouse Hunting Areas/Tips?

Old 08-19-2016, 06:17 PM
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Default Appalachian Grouse Hunting Areas/Tips?

After shooting skeet for the first time a few months ago, I've felt desperate to move beyond just hunting big game and do some upland wing shooting.

I've got the gun and ammo for the job---12ga Winchester SXP shooting 7.5 shot---but I need to find out where it's worth burning some serious rubber (and cash for licenses) to flush ruffs.
I'm a grad student in DC (living across the district line in MD), but I come back to the SE Tennessee/NW Georgia area for Christmas break. I hear that near there the Cherokee Natl. Forest near Tellico Plains and the Cohutta Wilderness Area are good, high-altitude places. The latter looks really cool, but as a non-resident of GA I'm apprehensive about dishing out $173 just to hunt on a WMA/Wilderness Area that may or may not have any grouse to speak of.
Don't have a dog, but will be hunting with 1-2 others. I've been reading a good deal of articles that strongly suggest even without a dog I should still be able to find ruffs if I hunt the right habitat (usually thick laurels and conifers, especially along creeks at high elevations), stopping periodically to spook grouse into flushing rather than waiting for me to pass by. But as a weekend warrior who's busy with school during the semester, I'd rather know it's worth looking somewhere than go in not knowing whether there's a huntable grouse population at all.

Anyway, if anyone knows good grouse land within driving or camping trip distance of DC or the "tri-state" area (TN/GA/NC), I would greatly appreciate it.
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Old 08-20-2016, 12:09 PM
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Generally, grouse hunters do not tell people where the grouse hunting is good because they worked hard to find good coverts. No insult intended but you don't find grouse on a message board, you find them by wearing out hunting boots. If you want to know if a WMA has grouse on not, call the Game agency for that area but don't expect to get exact locations of grouse coverts. When you look for grouse, you look for what they eat, Aspen tree buds, wild grape, Greenbriar, Beech trees and much more. Get some references on Grouse foods in the wild and learn to recognize. There is more to grouse hunting than killing grouse, hunting grouse helps you become a better naturalist.
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Old 08-20-2016, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldtimr View Post
Generally, grouse hunters do not tell people where the grouse hunting is good because they worked hard to find good coverts. No insult intended but you don't find grouse on a message board, you find them by wearing out hunting boots. If you want to know if a WMA has grouse on not, call the Game agency for that area but don't expect to get exact locations of grouse coverts. When you look for grouse, you look for what they eat, Aspen tree buds, wild grape, Greenbriar, Beech trees and much more. Get some references on Grouse foods in the wild and learn to recognize. There is more to grouse hunting than killing grouse, hunting grouse helps you become a better naturalist.
No insult taken, whatsoever. I actually quite like the "naturalist training" aspect of undertaking a grouse hunt. Is there a particular book or series you could recommend as a reference?
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Old 08-20-2016, 02:32 PM
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This is just one of many. http://www.seriousbirdhunting.com/wp...ver_final4.jpg
The Upland Shooting Life by George Bird Evans is another good book. More along the line of hunting grouse with setters. There are many books out there full of information about grouse and grouse hunting, just google boks on grouse hunting.

Last edited by Oldtimr; 08-20-2016 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 08-20-2016, 05:12 PM
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Thanks again!
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:40 AM
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When you're on Spring Break, (if it's during mating season) you might want to take a trip to the areas you think you will hunt and look for Grouse and particularly LISTEN for drumming from the males. Grouse seldom move more than 2.5 miles. When you hear drumming, go back to the same area to hunt.


.
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Old 08-21-2016, 07:47 AM
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Good advice.
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Old 09-22-2016, 02:18 PM
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I've found some places I am going to try in November (Virginia) and in the first week of January (Tennessee).
I'm particularly wondering what I need to bear in mind specifically for the January hunt. Obviously there'll be less foliage. Should I consider hunting with a modified choke instead of improved cylinder, in case the birds start flushing from further away? Are they more likely to hug creeks in winter than they are in the fall? Anything else about their behavior that stands out as distinct in the winter versus the fall will be appreciated.
No guarantee there'll be snow on the ground in January where we'll be, but it's far enough north that it is entirely possible.
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Old 10-07-2016, 07:42 PM
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If you are interested in chasing grouse or woodcock, PM me. I live outside of Richmond, and not many of my friends care to hike all day for a few flushes. I have a great Boykin that is fantastic on 'cocks, but needs more work on grouse. I am happy to have company that is excited about pursuing upland birds.
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Old 02-08-2017, 10:55 PM
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Default A lot of wasted time hunting grouse

It's usually the fella wasting time that finds grouse.
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