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Gill-T

Anyone seeing any grouse?

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I have been hunting grouse for 35 years.  I have never seen so few birds.  West of Onadaga County I can't find em.  It used to be 6-8 flushes per 2 hours as average.  Now, I am tickled to see one per session.  From the heyday of the 80's we have had a coyote explosion, a lack of trappers taking egg-eaters, avian viruses spread from Turkey farms, disease killing wild apples an red brush and now fisher numbers exploding.  The future looks bleak.  This is beyond a cyclical decline.  

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 Slim pickings in my go to spots around southern Onondaga County.  Shot one on Christmas day and that has been it.  

20181225_151020.jpg

Edited by Miss em

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I will be down that way on weekend of 9th if weather permits. 

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western NY they have been gone for a long time now, sure you may be able to find one, but most days that 1 is a great day. 40 years ago me and a buddy would hunt them with no dog and get shots every time out. Hitting them was another story with no pointer at your side.

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I can honestly say growing up I couldn't go afield for any reason without flushing several grouse.  These days they are more rare than coyotes.  

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Back in the 70's we'd get 20 flushes some days. My roommates and I shot 200 grouse one year! 4 of us hunting with 3 dogs. Now I seldom see any. Don't believe I could bust the brush and hunt hard like we did back then but we sure had fun. My favorite game bird.


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I read some place that the grouse where getting hit with a disease similar to west Nile, started a few years back and spreading through the population killing them as it go's. the western N.Y, area has been hit hard I'am not sure how far East it go's if its hitting the Adirondacks area.

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Grouse 5 .....dudes with guns 0.  Birds won the weekend. 

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Ended the season on a high note.  Rarely is a grouse set up perfect.  The bird was where it was suppose to be, the dogs flushed it, my brother missed it, I shot it, my pointer found it and my rescue dog-flusher dove in and grabbed it.  Perfect. 

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I've actually had quite a few bird contacts in the southern tier. "quite a few" meaning maybe 3 on average/outing with a hard working dog.

If you want to get into any real numbers you have to travel. Northern Maine/Vermont/New Hampshire is a decent area still. We averaged 22 grouse contacts per day on our Maine trip this year.  Otherwise you just gotta grind it out with hours and miles in the best cover you can find

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Unfortunately I can’t grind my dogs like I would like. My pointer has a condition called Exertional Rhabdomyolosis that causes skeletal muscle break down on heavy running. She will start pissing blood after 1hr. 

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I have been seeing good numbers on the state land areas I hunt in Moravia and south of there. I have also seen a lot of Fisher tracks everywhere I go, which seems to have the birds more nervous than they naturally are. Last year I went to Quebec on a grouse hunt. Not a bad drive, only 6 1/2 hours and saw a lot of grouse.

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I'm sorry to hear about the dog. It's hard to hold them back when all they want to do is hunt. Mine broke his foot right in the middle of October. Was definitely hard to sideline him.

 

I more mean spending significant amounts of time in grouse cover. With a dog or without. I don't hunt fast and I don't over-exert my dog. But I do spend time almost every day before the opener of rifle in grouse cover trying to better understand what feed they're focusing on at that time. I did a lot more scouting this fall with the dog being on bed rest and it helped me pinpoint what type of cover the birds were in, which translated to more flushes. Around these parts you can't just trip out the back door and run into birds anymore, even on a good numbers year. it takes a lot of time and effort. That's what I mean when I say grind it out. A dog is a great tool but they can't do all the work. 

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