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grouse hunting with a flusher dog

  • crawdaddy
    Participant
    St. Paul MN
    Posts: 824
    #2055011

    I might go up north the first week of october, with a golden retriever, is that a workable deal to try for a ruffled grouse? It seems like people usually train a pointer dog for woodland birds. She loves pheasant hunting and went with me about 25 trips last year. Thanks for any advice. I’m trying to decide between the north shore or grand rapids area.

    Brad Dimond
    Participant
    Posts: 916
    #2055029

    I might go up north the first week of october, with a golden retriever, is that a workable deal to try for a ruffled grouse? It seems like people usually train a pointer dog for woodland birds. She loves pheasant hunting and went with me about 25 trips last year. Thanks for any advice. I’m trying to decide between the north shore or grand rapids area.

    I’ve run Springers since 1985 hunting in the Whiteface area. They are great grouse dogs! My buddies mostly run Labs and they are equally good grouse dogs. We also pheasant hunt and the dogs are equally good chasing them.

    One heretic in the group bought a German Wirehaired Pointer. She’s done very well on birds and plays well with the Labs and my Springer in the grouse woods. The flushers get a little confused when the GWP gets far out in CRP land when hunting pheasants.

    grubson
    Participant
    Harris, Somewhere in VNP
    Posts: 742
    #2055038

    As long as you can keep the dog close you’ll be fine. In a lot of areas if your dog is 30yds in front of you it’s too far. I like a flushing breed to stay within 15-20 yds in the woods.

    bigpike
    Participant
    Posts: 6255
    #2055039

    As long as your dog stays close you’ll do more than fine. Follow your dogs instincts. Depending on the day grouse will run more than you think. Hunt the tag alder swamps and adjoining woods and you’ll get woodcock along with grouse that time of year.

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 7861
    #2055041

    I am in the same boat as you crawdaddy. I have a yellow British Labrador that is well trained…for pheasants. I usually take her with grouse hunting once a year and the outcome is significantly different. Part of the issue is that the scent is probably not the same, plus the habitat is much tougher too.

    I think a well trained pointer is a better asset for grouse because it would allow the hunter to get into a good shooting position. Most of the time when a grouse flushes, I don’t even see it. I just hear a whirr of wings.

    Carter Johnson
    Participant
    Anoka County
    Posts: 1063
    #2055050

    You’ll be perfectly fine. Way better than hunting with no dog. Granted I have still been able to limit a handful of times without one you’ll be light years ahead of no dog.

    Gitchi Gummi
    Participant
    Posts: 1204
    #2055079

    I’m not even sure why you’re questing it if the dog is good on pheasants. I’d hunt grouse with a good hunting dog, flusher or pointer, over no dog every time. The key is going slow and giving your dog time to quarter and work the woods on both sides and not get much further than 10-15 yards ahead of you.

    If you’re questioning if the dog is too far ahead of you, picture a grouse flushing to either side of the dog and flying in the direction that is away from you. Would you have a shot at the bird? If not, then the dog is working too far ahead. Good luck! Goldens are great grouse dogs when they have a high pray drive and listen to commands.

    suzuki
    Participant
    Woodbury, Mn
    Posts: 16544
    #2055122

    Ive hunted Grouse my whole life. They are my favorite game. I recently found that under the right circumstances you can get more birds with a dog however overall I find a dog to be more of a hindrance unless you have a perfect super close working one. I have never taken any of my dogs on major out of town Grouse trips. But then again I find the most pleasure in harvesting them. On the flip side I would never hunt pheasants without one.

    gimruis
    Participant
    Plymouth, MN
    Posts: 7861
    #2055128

    I recently found that under the right circumstances you can get more birds with a dog however overall I find a dog to be more of a hindrance unless you have a perfect super close working one.

    I agree. I’ve hunted over some very improperly trained dogs that didn’t listen to commands and chew up birds that darn near ruined the hunt. In those cases, I would have much rather hunted without a dog. In fact, before I had a dog, I did most of my hunting without one and probably still harvested more pheasants than the average hunter.

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #2055144

    Great topic… during the course of my lifetime I’ve had 4 female black labs. 2 raised and trained for pheasants that did hunt grouse and 2 raised and trained in the Northwoods that got a bit of exercise with the pheasants of the south.

    I always felt that the last two executed the quartering much better as they were trained to HAVE to stay real close with the grouse. And once in the pheasant fields with heavy cover, it was actually tougher on them than in the grouse woods, making them stay closer.

    While it definitely is more difficult for humans to negotiate tag alder covers and new regrowth of cutovers, it always seemed to me that it was easier for them to wiggle through than some of the pheasant field cover (milos, switch grass, bluestem,etc.) they have to bust through. Granted there is some easy stuff in the pheasant field, but I’d find my lab getting the heel of my boot in their chop faster down south than up north.

    Mark

    BigWerm
    Participant
    SW Metro
    Posts: 6966
    #2055150

    I always grouse hunted w/ my lab and she was great. Can extend your day a ton too, if the dog works the brush and you can walk the logging trail. Agreed with previous posters that she will need to stay close tho.

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