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  1. #1

    Default Any Michigan grouse hunters.

    Hey with my bear hunt done I'm thinking about bird season. I used my Brittany for pheasants in Ohio for several years but there's just not enough of them. I'm originally from Michigan so I drove my dog up to the upper and northern lower many weekends last year. I saw about 40 birds and managed to hit 1! Anyhow, anyone else doing this? I'd be happy to meet up for a weekend if someone wanted too. I'm not planning on starting until mid October this year most likely.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Kalispell , Montana
    Posts
    355

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    My best luck was around the West Branch area , head west west out of center of town . The dirt road is know as Dunham lake trail ! Spend some time on your map and you will see lots of area to hunt and camp if you like .
    The U.P. is great too if you dont mind the drive up there . We spent lots of time around Newberry and surrounding area .
    Sounds like fun !
    I'm chashing Elk that time of the year now in Montana !!

  3. #3

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    Yeah definitely no problems finding spots in the upper or lower. Thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    SW Michigan
    Posts
    1,422

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    We hit up one of the GEMS last year by Reed City and didn’t turn up much. Spent the weekend in Newberry and turned up a few.

  5. #5

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    Yeah I'd stay away from the places specifically mentioned online to be grouse managed areas. I mean how much money has the state really put into these areas? Doubt much. Not enough to counteract the additional hunters.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by MT.PERCHMAN View Post
    My best luck was around the West Branch area , head west west out of center of town . The dirt road is know as Dunham lake trail ! Spend some time on your map and you will see lots of area to hunt and camp if you like .
    The U.P. is great too if you dont mind the drive up there . We spent lots of time around Newberry and surrounding area .
    Sounds like fun !
    I'm chashing Elk that time of the year now in Montana !!
    What he said, lot of clearcutting down that road the last couple years so there's a lot of young growth, I drive down that road a couple times a month and frequently have grouse cross in front of me

  7. #7

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    In my experience 1 out of 40 isn't too bad. I'd hate to tell you how many I shot at before I knocked one down. We spend some time in the Pigeon usually the end of September. Depending on how the Wyoming draw pans out we probably won't go this fall. Lots of ground to cover in northern lower.

  8. #8

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    Never figured the thumb area for grouse. Yeah lots of area

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by MiStickSlinger View Post
    What he said, lot of clearcutting down that road the last couple years so there's a lot of young growth, I drive down that road a couple times a month and frequently have grouse cross in front of me
    Wow! I never thought for a minute I'd read about DL Rd on the internet...let alone a site focused primarily on western big game. My family has had a cabin up there for the last 45 years.

    Please try and avoid listing specific roads (regardless of how far they are from your back porch) when it comes to grouse covers. Anybody with a pulse can access the MI-hunt website and find more 3-10 year old aspen cuts than a lifetime of dogs could ever cover. Technology has made it very easy to find spots to hunt.

    Anyway, there are NO GROUSE IN MICHIGAN, the wolves ate 'em all! I plan on taking my kids to Big Falls, MN when they're old enough to chase grouse...

  10. #10

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    Yeah I feel bad now. There are people stupid enough to go right to that spot too. Northern Michigan is high enough in grouse that I would generally see 1-3 when I went out for a few hours in the morning. Not hard to find spots and it's not like anyone has dogs anymore to give you a lot of competition.

  11. #11

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    No worries. Al Stewart (MI DNR bird head honcho) wanted to put another feather in his cap when he rolled out the GEMS program. One of those areas was a go-to spot for me for a lot of years, but as soon as the signs went up, I knew it was the end. He did rolled out a similar "Turkey Tracks" area in the game area near where I work, and the locals ripped it out of the ground the first weekend the map was up. I don't condone vandalism, but I had heard from a few of the biologists "that he was warned this would happen."

    My favorite ground is the west end of the UP, but the drive time and a lack of vacation time limit my time up there. The last time we spent a week in that area was also the same year they got like 12-16" of rain in the month of May. Bird numbers had been epic the year before, but we struggled that fall as the hatch survival sucked.

    My old vizsla turns 14 next week, so his hunts will be shorter than ever this fall. As always, I'm cautiously optimistic about our pending bird season.

    Best of luck!

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steelsearchin View Post
    Wow! I never thought for a minute I'd read about DL Rd on the internet...let alone a site focused primarily on western big game. My family has had a cabin up there for the last 45 years.

    Please try and avoid listing specific roads (regardless of how far they are from your back porch) when it comes to grouse covers. Anybody with a pulse can access the MI-hunt website and find more 3-10 year old aspen cuts than a lifetime of dogs could ever cover. Technology has made it very easy to find spots to hunt.

    Anyway, there are NO GROUSE IN MICHIGAN, the wolves ate 'em all! I plan on taking my kids to Big Falls, MN when they're old enough to chase grouse...
    Yeah that's my bad, I've been going up there for 20 years, never thought there were many grouse hunters in the area, I thought they all went way north.

  13. #13

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    Man I was just thinking of grouse the other day. I went to college in the UPS. I was up there for 5 years and we would shoot a handful ever year.

    I am guessing Randy is going to agree with me on this. I know it isn't sporting but I will take a grouse with any means possible, ground pound, tree shoot, etc. Ya it may not be sporting but I am not sure if there is a wild game animal I would prefer to eat over a grouse.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Kalispell , Montana
    Posts
    355

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    My intention was not to give away anyone back yard favorite spot. I'm just trying to help out a fellow hunter . NOTHING is safe from people anymore . I quit hunting in the lower years ago ..just was not safe ..to many Orange Pumpkins walking around shooting at anything that moves . I can't seem to edit the post . Sorry for trouble .

  15. #15

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    Hunted the UP for the first time last year for the opening 3 days. Good times! Guy that invited me along used maps to find aspen clear cuts of a certain age. We rarely didn't find birds. Getting them shot was a whole nuther story...
    Hank and I with his first pa'tridge
    Untitled by Tyler Staggs, on Flickr

  16. Default

    Southern Marquette and Northern Dickinson county in the UP are both great, with lots of public land.
    The area north of Ralph MI was my old honey hole. I moved to MT a year ago so have at it.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steelsearchin View Post
    No worries. Al Stewart (MI DNR bird head honcho) wanted to put another feather in his cap when he rolled out the GEMS program. One of those areas was a go-to spot for me for a lot of years, but as soon as the signs went up, I knew it was the end. He did rolled out a similar "Turkey Tracks" area in the game area near where I work, and the locals ripped it out of the ground the first weekend the map was up. I don't condone vandalism, but I had heard from a few of the biologists "that he was warned this would happen."

    My favorite ground is the west end of the UP, but the drive time and a lack of vacation time limit my time up there. The last time we spent a week in that area was also the same year they got like 12-16" of rain in the month of May. Bird numbers had been epic the year before, but we struggled that fall as the hatch survival sucked.

    My old vizsla turns 14 next week, so his hunts will be shorter than ever this fall. As always, I'm cautiously optimistic about our pending bird season.

    Best of luck!
    Al is a nice guy, but he should have retired about 30 years ago!

  18. #18

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    It's good people are heading to the UP. The area needs all the help it can get anymore in the fall with the deer herd previously on the rocks. I have one area I hunt in the UP near where family has land and will probably go more to the lower where other family lives. There's enough birds where I want to find them to bother going somewhere specific. But the UP has a different more remote feel to it especially the further west you go.
    Hitting the birds is the challenge for certain no matter where you go. Sometimes better to go with less birds and better shooting I'm thinking. Name:  IMG_20180619_182712.jpg
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  19. #19

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    Well I was just thinking about the fact the I always read up on the ecology and lifecycles of the big game animals I hunt but I don't know much about grouse other than where I sometimes see them. As a testament to how popular grouse hunting is anymore, I just purchased two of the highest rated grouse books on Amazon for $13 combined with shipping. I will post back my thoughts when I get them done:

    Ruffed Grouse:. Woodland Drummer. Michael Furtman

    Grouse Hunter's Guide:. 2nd Edition,. Solid Facts, Insights, and Observations on How to Hunt Ruffed Grouse. Dennis Walrod

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by shaffe48 View Post
    Well I was just thinking about the fact the I always read up on the ecology and lifecycles of the big game animals I hunt but I don't know much about grouse other than where I sometimes see them. As a testament to how popular grouse hunting is anymore, I just purchased two of the highest rated grouse books on Amazon for $13 combined with shipping. I will post back my thoughts when I get them done:

    Ruffed Grouse:. Woodland Drummer. Michael Furtman

    Grouse Hunter's Guide:. 2nd Edition,. Solid Facts, Insights, and Observations on How to Hunt Ruffed Grouse. Dennis Walrod
    Both these books are recommended.

    The Furtman book is written by a hunter but makes no more than a passing reference to actual hunting. Instead the book is about the biology and habits of the bird. He bases a lot of his information on a researcher from Minnesota making the book especially relevant to the upper Midwest. While it won't make you a scholarly expert, this book will help you know what birds are up to an why a whole lot more than most other hunters.

    The Walrod book is written by a New Yorker and is witty and provides a lot of good information. Provides information on biology and habits on order with the better hunting books I've read. Provides info on how to approach grouse cover during both the fall and winter. Provides a lot of numbers and statistics from grouse hunting organizations.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by shaffe48 View Post
    It's good people are heading to the UP. The area needs all the help it can get anymore in the fall with the deer herd previously on the rocks.
    The UP is a great place but economically depressed. Probably more meth heads now than partridge.

  22. #22

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    I was lucky enough to draw a MI elk tag last year and spent the majority of my time in the Pigeon. I still can’t believe how many grouse I saw there, and am definitely heading there this year with my Brittany, ol’ Jume Bug. Even in areas that I would generally overlook as being too mature I was flushing healthy numbers, and that’s without a dog. Figure I need to go get some payback for all of the mini heart attacks they have me for exploding from under my boots.

    There is state land right where Oakland, Genesee, and Lapeer counties meet and I actually saw a grouse there just last week. Couldn’t believe it.

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Louisdove View Post
    I was lucky enough to draw a MI elk tag last year

    That is awesomely lucky. Now that I'm a NonRes, I'd have to have a great number of points just to draw a black bear tag in MI.

    Quote Originally Posted by Louisdove View Post
    Even in areas that I would generally overlook as being too mature I was flushing healthy numbers,
    From above books, young grouse disperse from the brood in the fall looking for their own home range. That's why you find grouse in unlikely places. If they don't happen on a good home range (10 acres for males, a little larger for females), they will probably die. This is one reason why hunting especially early in the season has practically no impact on grouse numbers...in addition to the fact that we don't actually hit any of them.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Louisdove View Post
    I was lucky enough to draw a MI elk tag last year and spent the majority of my time in the Pigeon. I still can’t believe how many grouse I saw there, and am definitely heading there this year with my Brittany, ol’ Jume Bug. Even in areas that I would generally overlook as being too mature I was flushing healthy numbers, and that’s without a dog. Figure I need to go get some payback for all of the mini heart attacks they have me for exploding from under my boots.

    There is state land right where Oakland, Genesee, and Lapeer counties meet and I actually saw a grouse there just last week. Couldn’t believe it.
    I was lucky enough to draw the Michigan elk tag this year and saw a handful of grouse in my hunting area, they seem to be fond of all that new growth aspen

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by MiStickSlinger View Post
    I was lucky enough to draw the Michigan elk tag this year
    Wow, I have a 50.year old family member that's been applying every year since his teens and still ain't drawn.

    there's no shortage of aspen in the lp or up of Michigan where I hunt. The 30 year old aspen are supposed to be their primary winter food but the younger aspen provide good overhead cover from avian predators especially after the aspen reach 10 years of age. Without these two things (winter food and overhead cover), grouse don't survive which is why they are so plentiful in Michigan.

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