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Grouse hunting can be a great complimentary activity while on your deer hunting trip, a fun way to spend the day, and a great way to introduce new and young hunters to the sport. These tasty birds are easy to harvest and provide a great campfire meal in the woods.
I bagged these grouse with my bow on the way in to an archery season elk hunt.
The Spruce grouse, Ruffed grouse, and Sharptail grouse are the species that I usually hunt out of the 18 types of grouse that are in existance. When hunting grouse, make sure to know how to recognize characteristics of each species, so you can keep within legal bag limits.
Where to Look
I have had success finding grouse usually on trails and forest roads going through old growth timbered areas. Grouse can also be found in grassy areas with vegetation. Areas that have had forest fires and logging activity are great places to find grouse. Usually they are found in groups called coveys.
Grouse will usually stand relatively still while you shoot them one by one. Sometimes you will encounter a worrisome covey but usually you can expect shots from 20 yards or less but a 40 yard shot is not uncommon. A good .410 shotgun will do the job some people use 12 guage shotguns with a light load like a #6 shot in a 2 3/4" shell, or a .22 rifle also does the trick. Just try to aim for the head in order to minimize flesh damage to the breast of meat.
Cleaning and Preparing
After you shoot grouse, you can clean them fairly easy by stepping on the wings and pulling the legs up and away from the carcass, this will remove the breast with the legs and leave the waste behind. Another way is to push your thumbs into the breast and pull the feathered skin away. Next, break the wings off (you might need to cut the bone) and rip the head off. The entrails will be attached. If transporting leave one wing on for identification of the grouse. I then filet the breast meat away from the breast bone and fry them up with spices.
Posted June 11, 2014 by Justin Ott