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Old January 26, 2008, 08:47 PM   #1
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Grouse Etiquette

Not too long ago, I had a conversation with a guy regarding some of my past bird hunts. The conversation became heated when I told him that I'd rather take pats while they're walking or sitting prior to them flushing. Since I don't hunt with a dog, I figured it didn't matter to shoot them on the ground. This guy got bent out of shape and starts to give me a bunch of crap about it, probably because he hunts birds with dogs exclusively. It actually got to the point where I had to walk away from him. It made me wonder if there was a bird dog hunter mentality that looks down on those who hunt without dogs.
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Old January 26, 2008, 08:58 PM   #2
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I went on a dove hunt this year where a two in the group shot two dove out of a tree. That's not my cup of tea, but I'm not going to get my feathers rustled over it. On quail hunts we only shoot at flushing birds, but you are right; it's over dogs. I don't fish with live bait typically either. I'd shoot a scaled quail on the ground.
la plus belle des ruses du diable est de vous persuader qu'il n'existe pas!
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Old January 26, 2008, 09:04 PM   #3
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Many consider shooting grouse, pheasant, quail, or ducks on the ground unsportsmanlike regardless of whether or not dogs are being used. The only time I would shoot them on the ground is in a survival situation. It is not a bird dog mentality issue, it's about SPORTSMANSHIP and many feel very strongly about it.
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Old January 26, 2008, 09:27 PM   #4
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I can see hunters wanting to maintain a level of sportsmanship. I don't hunt quail, ducks, and rarely if ever hunt pheasants. I do hunt grouse though, and the land my family hunts is pretty thick and usually those birds flush long before we ever see them. When we do see the sitters or walkers, we choose to take them.
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Old January 26, 2008, 10:23 PM   #5
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As far as sportsmanship goes, here's my take (for what little it's worth): Grouse evolved with two very dependable defensive traits: camouflage, and flight. If they sense you, they will remain stone-still, blending in with their surroundings. And if you get too close, they will fly out with enough noise from their beating wings to surprise and confuse predators, even humans. In my part of Wyoming (Sheridan) we had Blue and Ruff grouse. I was scared poopless (not literally) more times than I can remember while walking to the school bus half a mile away by a grouse thundering out of its hidey hole. Not to mention all time times I was startled by an unseen grouse while playing in the ravines or riding mountain bikes.

If you happen upon a grouse, and you can see it befoer it decides to take flight, then take your shot. You've beaten its evolved defense mechanisms. You've won. You may have gotten lucky, but you've beaten the bird. And if you do it without dogs, more power to you.
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Old January 26, 2008, 10:38 PM   #6
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I used to hunt grouse. I didn't have a dog other than a beagle. He would bump up some birds. My experiance is crawling into the brush, shredding every inch of exposed skin. This just to have them flush only when I was crawling over or under something. If I would have caught one on the ground I would have wacked him.
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Old January 27, 2008, 01:49 PM   #7
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Garryc, that is called hunting except for the wacked part at the end of your post. It is one of the reasons real bird hunters have dogs and why few hunt grouse. Plus, they aren't easy to hit when flushed. I don't know anyone who really needs the meat to eat. Hence you play by the rules hunting them. If there are dogs around, shooting on the ground does increase the potential for a dog to get shot by mistake.

We usually hunted them as part of rabbit hunting and there were almost always beagles around.
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Old January 27, 2008, 03:48 PM   #8
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Bad form to shoot a sitting bird. It is about the sport after all. If it were only about food then you might as well buy a chicken.

I've hunted birds without a dog and you pretty much have to flush them yourself. Some birds will take off further away, some right under your feet.
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Old January 27, 2008, 04:08 PM   #9
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I have 0 repeat 0 issues w/ shooting a bird on the ground, unless there are dogs around that might get shot. I usually don't have the luxury to hunt over dogs, so if given the opportunity to take a skillet shot, i'll do it. Just make sure you don't go over your limit. Same for doves. If you can "stalk" w/ in range, blast away...I figure it makes up for the effort!!! As far as I'm concerned, it's as much about the skillet as it is the sport.
VEGETARIAN...old indian word for bad hunter
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Old February 1, 2008, 08:20 PM   #10
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Etiquette? Arkansas the buggers and fry them up..
Grouse deserve anything they get.....
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Old February 1, 2008, 10:23 PM   #11
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What a snob If it's legal & safe then go for it! You have no one to answer to on how you hunt but yourself & the law.
To kill something as great as a duck just to smell the gunpowder is a crime against nature. - Alan Liere
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Old February 2, 2008, 06:03 AM   #12
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I'm pretty sure it's illegal to shoot a sitting bird here in the UK.

Most bird hunting here is done on large estates by rich gits who line up and mow down hundreds of driven birds a day. Seems fairly unsporting to me...
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Old February 2, 2008, 10:30 AM   #13
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Back in bobwhite country, I generally waited until the birds flushed. More fun, more sporting.

In Terlingua, in blue quail country, it's a whole different deal. Blues won't hold a point. You bring a good, trained pointer out here and you better have a dog-psychiatrist on stand-by. Call 'em "run-run birds". Yeah, they'll fly--after they're out of shotgun range. You take whatever shot you can get. And usually, they're at least 30 yards out when you first see them.
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Old February 2, 2008, 10:55 AM   #14
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Hell I am no purist and have head shot the occasional duck with a rifle in my time, when it has been sitting happily beside a pond, a man has, as they say, got to eat. However difficult snotting that little bobbing head is with a rifle it is not regarded as Cricket.

Why, The etiquette of the sport essentially dictate that you should not take birds on the ground.

If you are shooting at a swanky English game shoot, aside from being horrified at my behavior, they would frown upon the use of any shotgun other than a double barrelled shotgun and are adverse to cammo- you must wear tweeds.
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Old February 2, 2008, 01:33 PM   #15
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Wayward Son brought up a good point in that if you have spotted the bird on the ground, you already have the upper hand. Why not challenge yourself a little further by trying to get as close to the bird as possible and shooting it in flight? I find a moving target more challenging to hit than a sitting duck .

Edit: Quarry escaping on foot is another story.
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Old February 2, 2008, 10:30 PM   #16
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sitting grouse

Grouse hunting here tends to be a part of hunting big game and as such many are taken with a 22 pistol, yes on the ground out of trees etc you might think of that as unsporting but if you haven't tried to knock the head off a grouse ptarmigan or hare with a pistol don't knock it.
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Old February 3, 2008, 12:24 PM   #17
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I like the ones that are laying down..............on my pan, while being cooked. I very seldom have the chance to take one on the ground, but if I did shoot one I don't loose any sleep over it.
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Old February 3, 2008, 01:21 PM   #18
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Ground-swatting is a little silly. If you just want some birds to eat, go to the store and buy a chicken.

All the guys I know who shoot them on the ground just do it so they can talk about how many grouse they shot.

I'd rather have 10-12 flushes, 3-4 shots, and one bird than 8 dead, ground-shot birds.

Maybe if there was a name for it... instead of "hunting" maybe we could just call it "killing".
"If it bleeds, we can kill it."
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Old February 4, 2008, 02:22 PM   #19
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How come turkey hunters get to shoot birds on the ground?

I know for a fact they can be killed in the air.

Hunting is just so confusing.

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Old February 5, 2008, 01:15 AM   #20
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Some of the bird hunter types are just up tight. Their way is the only way.

Some of these types get a bit impatient with the guy that is trying to teach his kid how to shoot clays with the Remington 870 as they stand their with their $3,000 O/U's rolling their eyes at each other. I've seen it first hand.

I would just take the exchange with this guy with a grain of salt. You did the right thing by walking away. Theres no need to roll around on the floor with somebody over something like this.
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Old February 5, 2008, 02:13 AM   #21
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Ethics are a personal thing. I went many a season only shooting a flushed bird. Then we had some lean years, all day hunting and only 1-2 flushes. BUT there goes another ATV (4wheeler) putting down the trail. Or the Nimrod shooting from the road.
Nowadays i don't make a big deal about a bird on the ground. Just don't take to many. Think of the youngsters that would like to see a few birds.
personally i don't like hunting over a dog. You miss a lot of nature when you have to be focused on that soup hound. Yes you will probably be more successfully (bag) but hey, its your hunt, Hunt the way you enjoy.
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Old February 7, 2008, 05:07 PM   #22
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Ground swatting game birds?

Survival situation? You betcha

When hunting? Not for me, thanks.
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Old February 7, 2008, 11:20 PM   #23
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It's still hunting if you nail them on the ground...when was the last time you "winged" a deer??? You still have to "hunt" to find them...I can't tell the difference in the pan or on the grill whether I shot em on the ground or the air...But NEVER NEVER NEVER shoot them on the ground if you are hunting with dogs...Good way to kill a dog...
VEGETARIAN...old indian word for bad hunter
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Old February 8, 2008, 12:22 AM   #24
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I hunted grouse for many years without a dog, and about 8 years with one, then she died and I haven't hunted birds with a dog since. We always hunted for meat. When we hunted with the dog NOTHING got shot on the ground. Every time we hunted without a dog the SOP was, run like a rabbit, die like a rabbit. That went for pheasants also.......
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Old February 8, 2008, 10:32 AM   #25
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"if you want to eat a bird go buy a chicken"??? How in the heck do you make a nasty azz commercially grown chicken taste like a dove or grouse? Some one been eatin' my brownies? If you are so dang set on shooting flyers go shoot some clays and boil them up! Same difference huh? I ain't never once hunted over dogs for birds and have shot a pretty equal amount of flying birds and grounded birds... I never once heard any one say MMMMM this chicken tastes just like grouse!
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