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Author Topic: Grouse Movement?  (Read 659 times)

Offline levihoward17

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Grouse Movement?
« on: January 07, 2020, 05:16:49 PM »
Well last fall I spent a good amount of time just outside of Mount Rainier national park in the Norse Peaks Wilderness searching for grouse. I made a few trips up to one particular area spanning from June to August, each time seeing at least one bird and hearing many of them 'hooting'. Come opening day and 40+ hours of hunting, did not find a single bird nor did I hear any hoot. This area was high elevation at the tree line and looked like fantastic habitat for blues, but like I said they disappeared. Am I missing something or was this just bad luck? The only thing I can think of that may have moved the birds is that there was a decent amount of foot traffic because there is a hiking trail that goes along the backside of the ridge. Other than that I can't understand why they would move. Any knowledge is great appreciated.

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: Grouse Movement?
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2020, 06:01:56 PM »
During the mating season the grouse are easy to locate because they are hooting. They will usually be in trees on ridges or area where their calls can be heard by perspective females. They are not focused on feeding as much as breeding. However when the season opens in September they are more concerned about food and gaining weight for the upcoming winter. Therefore they will be where the food is and like we have been having in dry summer like to be a leader to get water if needed. They don't really care for windy conditions and will seek valleys where food and water can be found out of the wind. Also they will try to avoid open spots where predator birds can prey on them. Depending on where in the state you are the words feed on different things. The Blues in eastern wa love feeding on Larch or tamarack needles and or berries. Western wa a good choice is berry patches where they eat the leaves and berries.

Offline levihoward17

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Re: Grouse Movement?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2020, 06:27:21 PM »
Skyvalhunter, thank you for the information.

Offline Fletch

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Re: Grouse Movement?
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2020, 02:56:40 PM »
Time of day also matters in my experience.  I have found great feeding areas without birds in the morning but mid day to afternoon they are in there.  I think the blue grouse like the sun/warmth in the morning and move to feed mid day to afternoon in the shadier cool areas where berries/water source is.  :twocents:

Offline levihoward17

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Re: Grouse Movement?
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2020, 03:33:51 PM »
Good to know. Ive heard blue grouse hooting in late august, even though they do it mostly in the spring. Do they do it just when they feel like it or are the birds I'm hearing in august just late to the party?

Offline DOUBLELUNG

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Re: Grouse Movement?
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2020, 10:40:50 AM »
Good to know. Ive heard blue grouse hooting in late august, even though they do it mostly in the spring. Do they do it just when they feel like it or are the birds I'm hearing in august just late to the party?
Those are likely hatch year birds practicing.  The adult males are often in the same areas where you hear them in the spring, but difficult to hunt as they spend most of their time in trees (they are also the worst table fare by far).  A good strategy for broods is to either drive roads, where possible, to find the right elevation, then hunt the edges of openings in that elevation.  Blues move upslope in the fall, so once you have an elevation band located with broods, hunt from there upslope as the season progresses.  On the east side sagebrush openings next to timber are good places to look, especially if there are larches higher up in the drainage.  Once the larches start to turn yellow you can pretty efficiently hunt from patch to patch.  Ruffeds are usually nonmigratory, though they change areas they use within their range as the seasons progress.  Springs and wet meadows with dense willow and aspen patches are key east side early and late, they move into larger diameter mixed conifer and alder/aspens/cottonwoods.  During late Sept - late Oct in the east Cascades I often find ruffeds associated with elderberries.  Also, sometimes the juvenile males give away a brood's position by practicing drumming in the fall. 
As long as we have the habitat, we can argue forever about who gets to kill what and when.  No habitat = no game.

Offline Pegasus

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Re: Grouse Movement?
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2020, 10:51:11 AM »
Only hunt after it has been raining. Catch them in the morning picking gravel off from the roads. Dry and hot conditions equals few grouse sightings. Use a dog for ruffed grouse in wet areas next to streams. Good luck.

 


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