by walkos5
I have been grouse hunting in Pennsylvania for at least the past 25 years and its been going progressively down hill, at least for me. As little as 5 years ago I could cover a few miles of desirable grouse terrain and put up 8 to 10 birds with a few good shot opportunities. But the past 2 or 3 years I'm lucky to put 2 or 3 birds up covering the same amount of ground. I know grouse populations run in cycles but I've never seen it this bad before. Any of you bird doggers struggling like me? I feel like I'm letting the pooch down. Did ok with pheasants last season though. I have been putting up more woodcock then past years too and I cant figure that one out either. I don't hunt them though because of their size. Appreciate any suggestions.

by SXS ohio
It should get better over the next few years if all works for the grouse. DNR has changed course...realized the need for young forests and have started to clear cut large tracks of mature forest. Mostly for deer but the grouse like it as well. Read this months P.A. game news as it tells all about this topic. I hunt potter county and they have been cutting up their for a few years now. Some of the first areas have come back great and now hold grouse...(-: I agree the hunting is not like the old days unless you hunt turkeys, bear or...coyotes! Everything good that I know is in decline!!! including America....)-: My first trip to potter will be the 25th oct. with my Gordon setter Ruby,... SXS ohio

by walkos5
I agree that cutting some mature forest's does improve habitat for many of our game species. And I totally agree that our country is in decline. But it seems that the only ones that have the power to change things are the ones causing all the problems. As for the grouse hunting , I almost feel like I'm part of the problem, hunting a game species that's in such decline. I will be trying some new hunting ground this season in Bradford county PA near our deer camp. They have been cutting lots of timber there as well but mostly due to the gas industry. I hunt a Brittany and his name is Monty. We had a good season last year on pheasants, mostly put and take by the PA Game Commission. But from what I hear there is some decent pheasant hunting in south east PA with both wild and released birds and I might give that a try since I have a brother that lives near Harrisburg PA. Hope you and Ruby have some good hunting in the weeks ahead.

by QuailHollow
My husband and I were talking about this yesterday. He said that the Ruffed Grouse Society paired with the Army Corp of Engineers here to prep government ground and provide cover for the birds. I have private ground behind my house which is full of Ruffed Grouse. I do road work on my dogs back there, running a trail to hunting camp. When my dogs aren't trying to outrace each other - they'll dive into the woods and I'll see one fly overhead. I never even knew what they were until I asked my husband what kind of large brown bird lives in the woods with a big tail and a black stripe across it. Yes, he gave me the :? look, then answered my question. What can I say, I never saw one until I started walking the woods with a dog.

ETA: We don't hunt them, it's just coincidence.

by walkos5
Grouse do have some interesting detail in their plumage. And they really startle you when you surprise them and they burst into flight. Glad to hear some effort is being made to improve the habitat in your area. I believe the NWTF and Pheasants Forever have been doing some habitat improvement projects in the North East where I live. I also wonder if the increase in the coyote population could be a part of the reason for the low grouse numbers.