Where to hunt Grouse
A lot of species go by the name of “grouse”. Perhaps the most thought after by North American hunters is the ruffed grouse; tradition dictates one should seek it in New England in the US and Quebec and Ontario in Canada, but good opportunities exist elsewhere. Sharptail grouse dwell in the Dakotas and other prairie states, and blue and spruce grouse can be added to ruffed grouse in the Rockies. In Europe, the famous grouse is the willow ptarmigan, known as red grouse in Britain, and white grouse elsewhere (because its winter plumage is white on the Continent, but not on the British Isles). Black grouse is the second biggest European grouse, and is a favorite bird to hunt in Scandinavia and Russia, along with the capercaillie, the biggest grouse in the world. Hazel grouse is a small shy bird inhabiting dense woods of Eurasia, and rock ptarmigan can be found in the tundra across the Northern Hemisphere.
Grouse hunting opportunities start at about $500, which may include a few days lodging in a camp, but are typically unguided. A fully guided hunt, with the use of outfitter’s dogs, may cost about $2,000, more for a hunt in a remote or iconic location. Black grouse and capercaillie hunts in Russia and Sweden typically go for between $1,000 and $2,000.
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Capercaillie is the world’s biggest grouse. A mature cock may weigh over 12 pounds, and is arguably the most difficult of the grouse members to harvest. Only a limited number of cocks can be hunted on a special spring text, and our blog is one of the few places in the Internet where you can read about this unusual hunt in the English language.4 Jan 2018 The Quiet Call of the Biggest Grouse
When to hunt Grouse?
Grouse seasons usually open in September and run until December. The best time for grouse hunting depends on species and location, but October is usually the best bet. The classic stalking hunts in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries begin in late October, and continue into the winter, and the spring season in Eastern Europe runs in April-May.
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The ways of grouse hunting are as varied as the grouse species. The Russians hunt black grouse from a blind, and the Swedes spot the birds on tree tops, stalk and shoot them with rifles. The British driven hunts for red grouse are legendary, with hundreds of birds killed in a day (the record, set in 1880s, is 1054 birds per one shooter). Hazel grouse can be taken only by calling, and stalking capercaillie to its mating song is something else again. But the most popular method by far is hunting over pointers and setters. You can hunt almost any species of grouse this way, both American and European. You can walk the grouse up without a dog, too.
Why hunt Grouse?
The meat of the grouse has always been considered a delicacy. New York millionaires dined on the ruffs, British lords on the red grouse, and Russian boyars on the hazel grouse with equal zeal. The experience of harvesting the bird is even more of a royal treat. Even as you see a photograph of an Atlantic coast woods colored by the brush of the fall, don’t you feel like walking under their red and yellow cover? Is there a better way to walk them than with a shotgun on your arm, and a trusty setter quartering ahead? Who can find words to describe the intensity of feelings as you walk to the point, expecting any moment a rush of flapping feathers that might make you forget how to fire that gun? Dark woods of the Rockies, wide open prairies, snow-covered silent forests of Scandinavia, awakening nature of the Russian spring, the grouse can take you around the globe on a journey as exciting as any mountain or African “slam”.
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