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Distinguishing Grouse and Woodcock

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Distinguishing Grouse and Woodcock

Old 10-29-2016, 06:19 PM
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Nontypical Buck
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Default Distinguishing Grouse and Woodcock

My dad and I will be going after grouse next month in Virginia and then the first week of January in East Tennessee. In both states, grouse and woodcock season will not overlap when we're hunting; my understanding is both birds' range and habitat overlaps substantially.

As this will be my first time hunting grouse, I'm concerned about not being able to tell the difference between the two species when the birds flush---assuming we're fortunate enough to get a flush. What are these game agencies thinking? Will the woodcock all have migrated by then?

If not, how obvious is it to tell the difference between them when they've flushed? Specifically, are there any tell-tale signs about how they flush that can help me determine if the bird's legal? I've read that woodcock make a whistling sound, but I do not know whether they always do or not.
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Old 10-30-2016, 04:25 AM
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Pretty easy to tell the difference, woodcock are a little bigger than your fist and grouse about the size of a Bantam chicken. Just google for pictures of both of them. Grouse bust out of cover and startle you, woodcock don't make near as much noise and bob and weave in the air and sometimes twitter.
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Old 10-30-2016, 07:21 AM
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When grouse flush there is an explosion of sound of their wing beat and with woodcock their wings whistle when they take flight.


And body shapes are far different and as OT said Timberdoodles are smaller in size.


JW

ps Use You Tube - some good videos on both woodcock and grouse flushes.

Last edited by JW; 10-30-2016 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 10-31-2016, 12:23 AM
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Default Grouse: A learning experience

Finding grouse is a learning experience. Flushing grouse is a learning experience. The walking might be a learning experience.
Unless you have a couple of dogs, you might have a great learning experience.
Ha, a newbie wants to avoid a learning experience.
To think of the times without dogs, and stamping my feet to get a grouse to flush, on my waiting time. Newbies are a wonderful people.
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Old 10-31-2016, 08:24 PM
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I'm looking forward to the learning experience; in the meantime, learning all the abstract knowledge possible so I can get the most out of what is irreplaceable: knowledge acquired through real life.
It's fun being a newbie.
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Old 10-31-2016, 10:15 PM
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Grouse leave the scene at about 62 mph. Woodcock around 78 mph.
Some days Grouse will set till you step on them and some days they come up way out front of you.
Around here Woodcock are usually here a few days in December before Christmas then they are gone.Usually find them in flat woods and Grouse in steep woods.
They both put a tree between you and them real quick.
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Old 11-01-2016, 06:18 AM
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Younggun

My advice on woodcock gunning in the areas you find them. For me it is popple thickets or tag elder.
When they flush and the bird reaches the tree top openings - they either fly left, or right, or straight away and there is a microsecond they appear to hesitate. Best time for the shot and when I have my best success.
Recently took a double - reloaded and shot my third all pointed by my GWP. Shot the third as the dog was on her way back with a retrieved bird and locked on point again. Awesome to see a dog on point with bird in her mouth.

Don't think that will ever happen again.
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Old 11-01-2016, 08:34 AM
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Ridge, when you say "steep woods," do you literally mean on forested slopes or generally in mountainous wooded area (which includes slopes/sheer spots but also mountain/ridgetop clearings and mountain creek bottoms, where the land gets noticeably flatter)? I plan on hitting as slope-y and high altitude area as I can, especially trying to find laurels along trickling creeks (I'm hoping that'll be a major food and cover source in the late season, especially if it's in reasonable distance from both a gravel road and conifers).

Thanks for the shooting tips, JW. I'll definitely try not to rush a shot while the bird's still rising at a sharp angle---I'm not that good of a practiced snap shooter yet even with skeet. But I won't hesitate once I'm on him, either. Sounds like if I carry the gun in a good, ready position for quick shouldering I'll have a decent chance to be on the bird right about that moment of hesitation you're talking about.
Lot of ifs in there, but hopefully I'll get a feel for it, eventually.
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Old 11-01-2016, 11:32 AM
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I mostly hunted and found Grouse in the Mountains. How high and where depends on weather and food.
Grouse hunting is better with a good dog but if the dog is not so good I would as soon be without.
Walk a few steps and stop. If they are setting tight most times they will flush. They will let you walk past them and flush behind you sometimes.
Bottom line I guess is they are where they want to be and do what they want to do depending on the day.
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Old 11-06-2016, 02:05 AM
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You'll know when a grouse breaks.
-Jake
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