What to use for grouse

Vashper

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Ha! I didn't even recognize him, I thought he was Honecker. Really Tito. I don't know who they were hunting, most likely a wild boar. It is easier to organize. Brezhnev was photographed on many hunts, but he is always in the same sweater, so it is easy to confuse. Brezhnev did not like Western weapons, but rather good weapons. A pair of peacemakers were given to him by the Americans, as I recall, and apparently he liked them. He usually hunted with a double-barreled MC-10-09 rifle, 9x53r cartridge.
 

WilhelmM

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When we hunt moose we often take a few evenings to chase up grouse by the roads or in the woods. I have lugged my 12 G but that is just too much, and I have used a bow, which is fun. But, I am thinking of picking up a shotgun of some sort for this - perhaps a 410 or 20 G. Maybe an old SxS. I think the 410 would be perfect. What do you folks think?
410 is absolutely perfect for birds the size of grouse.
 

One Day...

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That is my experience too...

In British Columbia, in 2006, a couple hours north of Prince George, and a couple additional hours away from asphalt, deep in the woods, grouse would walk 5 yards ahead of us on the trail, or stay in trees, totally unconcerned. The Moose/Grizzly combo hunt guide had a single shot .410 to take them for the pot. He thought me silly for dashing at them and force them to take flight before shooting them.

Admittedly, this had nothing to do with shotgunning for grouse; this was subsistence killing of wild birds likely encountering a human being for the first time in their life. The single shot .410 was perfect for that...

By the way, this was one of the most picturesque, if rustic, hunting cabins I ever hunted from. Loved it. No staff, just the guide and me.

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JimP

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One nice thing about taking them while they are on the ground is that you don't have to pick shot out of them before eating, just blow their heads off.
 

Frank Ragle

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I use a Ruger 20g O/U in the U.P. for grouse/woodcock. I run a 7 1/2 in the bottom barrel and a #6 in the top barrel. As others have said, I try for open chokes, as I'm shooting them on the wing over my Brittany.
 

Velo Dog

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Fellow Hunters,

Here in Alaska we have ruffed grouse.
However, I have not yet seen one here, in the 38 years that I’ve been a resident.
That said, we also have spruce grouse (locally known as “spruce hens” regardless of gender) and we have more than one sub-species of ptarmigan.
Ptarmigan appear to possibly be the same or very similar bird as what are known as “snow grouse” in Scotland ?
Likewise ptarmigan could easily pass for second cousin 3rd removed, with Africa’s Francolin.

At any rate, I have shot quite a few of both spruce grouse and ptarmigan, with pump action shotguns in 12 bore plus, side by side shotguns in 12, 16, 28 and .410 bores.
Likewise, I’ve also used single shot guns in 12, 16 and .410 for grouse here.
All of the above have been inexpensive guns, most of them made by Remington, Stevens, Rossi and various low end (very low end) Eibar Spanish makers as well.
All but two of the above clunker doubles have been sold now, to help pay for hunting trips.
My one remaining halfway decent pump gun is a vintage Winchester Model 12, with full length solid rib, 24.something inch barrel, true cylinder bore, with 2 & 3/4 inch chamber.
It is handy for grouse in thick cover when loaded with birdshot.
And it is quite accurate with Brenneke slugs (in case of a peevish bear).

Just this Christmas, my wife gave to me a 1961 vintage Beretta 20 bore, model 409 Silver Hawk side by side.
It has two sets of barrels, both sets have 2 & 3/4 inch chambers and extractors only.
One set has 28 inch barrels and one set has 26 inch.
The longer ones are choked modified and full.
The shorter ones are improved cylinder and modified.
This elderly but apparently not much carried and not much shot little Beretta has enough drop at the heel to fit me well.

I am anxious to get after the spruce hens with the open choke 26” barrels.
I use a flushing dog for these (Irish Terrier) and so, despite their ground hugging stubborn ways, I commonly shoot them as they flush from my hyperactive little terrier.
I suspect that I might soon join in the happy chorus with those who have already declared the 20 gauge as perfect for grouse.

Back when I was hunting moose and / or caribou each year, I have also shot the heads off both spruce hens and ptarmigan with whatever caliber rifle I was carrying.
Furthermore, I’ve shot them with various caliber handguns, including but not limited to the .22 Rimfire.
On occasion, specifically for spruce hens, (with no dog present) I’ve also used a 4 inch S&W .44 Magnum, loaded with #9 birdshot, as they sat there, defiantly staring at me.

Grouse IMO are excellent skewered on a stick and roasted over a wood fire, just sprinkling a tiny bit of salt on the meat as each bite is taken.
I also enjoy saving up the hearts in my freezer, until I have a few.
I cut each one into halves and then fry with onions, simply delicious.

Cheers,
Velo Dog.
 
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Kevin Peacocke

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Come on Velodog, get one with a catapault! That would just about finish the lineup. The hearts fried in butter with onions sounds delicious.
 

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We have a grouse fajita night ever moose hunt served with tequila and cold beer. the boys are a little slower the next day ................
As for weapon of choice I prefer a sxs 28, I find I tear up a lot of birds with my 20.
cheers
Pat
 

Velo Dog

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Come on Velodog, get one with a catapault! That would just about finish the lineup. The hearts fried in butter with onions sounds delicious.

Spruce grouse are commonly taken by swatting them with a stick.
And I suspect a single buckshot or small stone, from a catapault / slingshot would work well.
I’m not sure I could hit one with such a weapon, as they are rumored to require much practice to master.
However, I did once manage to knock one out of the air by swatting it with my fly rod.
It bounced on the ground and immediately flew again, with me missing my second swipe at him.
I should’ve dropped my salmon and drawn my revolver instead, as the first chamber was loaded with #9 birdshot.
The grouse statewide are probably all still laughing at me.
 

Kevin Peacocke

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Ha! I didn't even recognize him, I thought he was Honecker. Really Tito. I don't know who they were hunting, most likely a wild boar. It is easier to organize. Brezhnev was photographed on many hunts, but he is always in the same sweater, so it is easy to confuse. Brezhnev did not like Western weapons, but rather good weapons. A pair of peacemakers were given to him by the Americans, as I recall, and apparently he liked them. He usually hunted with a double-barreled MC-10-09 rifle, 9x53r cartridge.
Is Bernie a hunter? He would have a hard time pulling the trigger with his mittens on.
 

WAB

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Spruce grouse are commonly taken by swatting them with a stick.
And I suspect a single buckshot or small stone, from a catapault / slingshot would work well.
I’m not sure I could hit one with such a weapon, as they are rumored to require much practice to master.
However, I did once manage to knock one out of the air by swatting it with my fly rod.
It bounced on the ground and immediately flew again, with me missing my second swipe at him.
I should’ve dropped my salmon and drawn my revolver instead, as the first chamber was loaded with #9 birdshot.
The grouse statewide are probably all still laughing at me.

Velo Dog,

The ptarmigan you are shooting are likely willow ptarmigan or willow grouse. An interesting side note, taxonomically they are the same bird as Scottish red grouse. The Scots like to dispute this as red grouse don’t change color in winter, but facts are facts. So every time you shoot one you should feel a little like nobility.

You also have White Tailed ptarmigan, which, unlike willow ptarmigan, are actually a true ptarmigan. However, very few hunters ever see or harvest them. They are in the rocky peaks. We took a few in the Kenai mountains, right up in the peaks. You tend to see them sheep hunting if that gives you an idea!

If you want to get into some ruffed grouse try the barley projects in Delta or the River bottoms around Clear AFB.

WAB
 

Ray B

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In lieu of a catapult you could give a Wrist-Rocket slingshot a try - 00 Buck has a great ballistic coefficient for the ranges involved. For shotgun use, loads can be tailored to the bird. So using a 20 gauge load fiber wads an 3/4 ounce shot. Or if that's too much increase the fiber and go with 1/2 or 5/8 oz.
 

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To hijack the thread slightly, has anyone hunted chukar? What gauge/load do you use for them and how are they on the table?
 

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Back when I was in the Olympic Peninsula, WA......
we stopped for a break from cutting/splitting Western Red Cedar shake bolts and heard the drumming of a Blue/Sitka grouse. Traced the sound to the middle of logging road about 35 feet away. 1 of the guys yelled "get me a rock!" I just shook my head. The third guy tossed him 3" (or so) rock. First throw hit high on the body. He ran up and to it, twisted the neck. I was in total disbelief and laughing my head off.

Cleaned the bird, started a fire and had a fantastic snack. The marksman told us he previously saw 3 grouse on a branch and was able to shoot them all singly with a .22rf, the others did not move while each one fell to the ground as they were hit.

These Blue grouse did not seem to flush until you were practically standing on them, 10' maybe. Hearing & seeing them was quite common in the '70's. The logging has been drastically curtailed in that area. I would hope that they are thriving with less intrusion.
 
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JimP

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I use a 12 or my 20 ga on chukars, I have used a .410 but that is pushing it a little.

They are great eating birds, so much so that it took me a very long time before I ever mounted a couple.

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Nevada Mike

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To hijack the thread slightly, has anyone hunted chukar? What gauge/load do you use for them and how are they on the table?
I have hunted chukar a lot over the past 30 or 40 years. I use a 16 gauge Side X Side with an ounce of 6's or 7's. They are good on the table, but not as good as ruffed grouse. They are a challenging birds to hunt.

Wire and Chukars.jpg
 

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