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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Highly Anticipated

Without a doubt, the opening of Ruff Grouse season was my favourite day. By this time of year the temperatures were getting cooler and the mosquitoes were slowly disappearing. It was a nice time to be out in the woods. To me, it represented the beginning of the fall wildlife harvest, an event my family had participated in as far back as I can remember.

I can recall my grandmother serving up partridge stew with doughboys and apple pie on the Thanksgiving weekend. My family spent this holiday on my grandparents farm in Guysborough county. I often accompanied my father and mother on their walks around the edges of the hay fields and along the river in pursuit of grouse. They liked to check out all the old crabapple trees along the way and would return later to harvest any apples that would make good preserves.

Soon enough I was introduced to the Cooey model 84 .410 gauge shotgun and accompanied both my mom and dad on many partridge hunts. We would always check out all the old apple orchards and fox berry patches that produced grouse in previous years. As the opening of the big game season grew closer my dad would take me on more challenging hikes into the back woods and spruce swamps. “We are looking for deer” he would often remind me “so be quiet and watch your step.” He would point out any tracks, droppings, scraps or rubs. Often, black bear droppings loaded with wild berries were identified. “In this heavy bush you have to learn to look for parts of a deer,” he said. “Look for any movement, a white throat patch, the twitch of an ear, the silhouette of a deer broken up by brush or small trees, light glaring off an antler or the white flag of their tail.” He told me of a late fall hunt on a cold day. “That deer was standing behind heavy brush not thirty feet away. I could see its breath in the air.” He often repeated to me,” You need to learn how to quickly scan the distance for anything obvious and to look up close all in one motion. The key is to look, listen and plan your next step, careful not to step on any dry branches or loose stones. Ideally, the wind should be blowing in your face.”

Ruff grouse were commonly called partridge and spruce grouse were referred to as spruce partridge in Nova Scotia at the time. My father taught me that the spruce partridge were one of the easiest wild animals to harvest if you became lost and needed food.

As I grew older and moved to different provinces to work, I always looked forward to the opening of grouse season. The fond memories of hunts on the farm down home were combined with the urge to just be out in the woods and participating in a practice as old as mankind. It felt good to be out in the silence, feeling the breeze on your face, watching, looking, and listening and sensing the smells in the air, especially those of the evergreens. Or perhaps stalking on a misty morning, with the wet carpets of browning pine needles and the glistening shrubs with their leaves floating to the ground, marking the closing of another year. It was an activity that demanded that you became immersed in your surroundings.

Even today, after fifty-one years of hunting, I am still looking forward to getting out in the woods on the first day of grouse season. It will be the start of something very special.
 

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You're Quite right Louisbear Grouse season was a right of passage to us as well , I remember my late father who always said same thing when going on hunts , old apple trees , fox berry patches , small hardwoods , edge cuts . Old gravel roads first thing morning and late afternoon .

You brought back some of the same very memories I had and enjoyed growing up , every yr opener is like the start of something magical for myself .

Great read , thanks
 

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Very well written louisbear, I was undecided if I would get a small game license this year.
Now I will have to get one after reading this:)
 

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louisbear, Always a treat to read your stories...Thanks for posting it...


"Old gravel roads first thing morning and late afternoon"

Tyson10gauge, Thanks for the Memories...My father passed away in1989 at the age of 77. Grouse was the only thing that he hunted in his last years. And he basically hunted with his car.

To get to my hunting camp you have to drive a mile long dead end dirt road. During grouse season, especially after a rain, he would leave early in the morning and slowly drive the camp road. There are stretches of the road that are fairly straight where you can see well ahead. Once he would spot grouse filling their gizzard with gravel, he would stop, load up, and if he didn't manage to get them right in the road, he would pick them off whatever tree branch they'd escape to.

I'm not sure what the rain had to do with it but he would never fail to get a few when the road was wet.
 

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I'd have a hard time picking between Grouse or Deer if someone asked, there's just something about October grouse woods with your trusty scatter gun in hand.
 

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I'd have a hard time picking between Grouse or Deer if someone asked, there's just something about October grouse woods with your trusty scatter gun in hand.
Worst is when deer season is open and I am only carrying a deer rifle I tend to see the most grouse. Go figure.
 

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Worst is when deer season is open and I am only carrying a deer rifle I tend to see the most grouse. Go figure.
Last season I took my buddy out with me a lot as it was his first year hunting, he shot his first bird early October and was hooked on getting some more. Never got many more opportunities for the rest of the month, but go figure the first time I had him out deer hunting we saw 10 that would have been easy pickings. I just laughed and said "That's hunting for ya!"
 

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October partridge hunting is always a good time - been a few years but need to get back to it again.

in my younger "brown its down" days, hunted with a shotgun - slugs for deer, shot for the partridge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Beaverhunter said,”Worst is when deer season is open and I am only carrying a deer rifle I tend to see the most grouse. Go figure.”

At one point, I wanted to buy a combination gun like the Savage 2400 in 308 Win/12 gauge (2 3/4) but very difficult to find. In my mind it would have made it possible to hunt both deer and grouse at the same time. My preference would be to own a 20 gauge but I do not think it was produced with a 308 win.
 

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Best thing about hunting grouse is its an easy hunt, I find no pressure to succeed just enjoy yourself, and if you do get something step on those wings and pull those legs and you have some delicious meat. Shooting a deer you got some sweaty azz work ahead of you.
 

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Last year I considered buying slugs for my 20 gauge O/U to carry during deer season but in the end didn't bother. It occurred to me a month or so ago and now seeing this thread I may just do that! I have taken the head off a couple grouse with a rifle years ago in New Brunswick but since that's not allowed here I don't try it.
 

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Great post louisbear, thanks.
I hunt partridge and pheasants usually lots of time for grouse between filling the archery tag and opening of general season. Ruff grouse are good eating for sure we always called them birch partridge tho. I have a few places that produce birds year after year.
 

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I'd have a hard time picking between Grouse or Deer if someone asked, there's just something about October grouse woods with your trusty scatter gun in hand.
Takes a lot of birds to equal the amount of meat from one deer.
 

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Last year I considered buying slugs for my 20 gauge O/U to carry during deer season but in the end didn't bother. It occurred to me a month or so ago and now seeing this thread I may just do that! I have taken the head off a couple grouse with a rifle years ago in New Brunswick but since that's not allowed here I don't try it.
I used to do that with my 30:06 with a scope. Then it became illegal. My father did it with his .32 special with open sights.
 

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Louisbear i loved the part about your father telling you “ we are looking for deer”. He really knew his stuff! That’s what I teach new hunters" , look for parts of a deer, flicker of an ear or tail, patches of brown , sunlight off horn, horizontal shapes in a mostly vertical landscape,etc.. See the deer before it sees you, especially when still hunting!
 

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Best thing about hunting grouse is its an easy hunt, I find no pressure to succeed just enjoy yourself, and if you do get something step on those wings and pull those legs and you have some delicious meat. Shooting a deer you got some sweaty azz work ahead of you.
EXACTLY - its a great way to spend a day or few hours in the woods.
from years back - used to do a family hunt, first cpl weekends of October, every year for a while...

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