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PNW E-Scouting for Ruffed Grouse

FairWeather

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Sep 30, 2021
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I’ve been spending my summer scouting for deer mostly, but with the upland season opener just around the corner, I’m turning my attention towards grouse for the next month.

There’s lots of info out there about where to look for grouse, but most of it seems focused on the midwest or northeast. Here in the Pacific Northwest the terrain is pretty different, and so is the vegetation.

What do you you all look for if you’re e-scouting to help decide a spot to go spend a day wandering the logging roads? Simply draws with creeks in them? Timber bordering clear cuts? Does elevation matter, I.e. below/above X ft elevation you don’t find them?

Would a road like this one, for instance, be a good place to go looking?

How about for quail? Same areas, or are they in different habitats?

I’m doing this solo w/o a dog, so the odds aren’t particularly in my favor. Trying to set myself up for success the best I can. I appreciate any wisdom and insight you all can offer.
 

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406LIFE

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I'll tell you in SW WA they were on just about any logging road you'll find them. Make sure you walk them and look through the thick stuff. Just know that if you don't make a good shot, it will be very hard to retrieve them. If you're not a purist, a .22 would be ideal.
 

Buck Fever NW

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May 23, 2022
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Oregon Coast
Interesting question, never really considered e-scouting for grouse. I'm no pro, but have taken several grouse over the years. Where I live on the coast, I tend to find them mostly associated with riparian areas, particularly blocked (or lightly traveled) roads adjacent to streams. Old roads with a little gravel on them are ideal IME as they need the gravel/grit for their crop and they can "dust" in the road as well. It's always been trail and error and just spending time on the ground finding locations that seem to hold more birds. Aside from that, I think most people just drive logging roads and road hunt them, since you often see them on the roads edges. I try to make note of where I see higher densities then try to find old roads nearby that I can walk.

Mountain quail are fun, but challenging to hunt (I'm not a great wingshooter though). I've found them in a variety of habitat but seen most in more open areas, like young plantations/reprod, recent clearcuts that haven't been sprayed yet that still have brush for cover etc. They're tasty birds but I've never been able to shoot more than a few in a day, lol. They're fast little buggers! Really cool looking birds and very exciting when you find a covey. Once one takes flight, get ready because it's like fireworks going off after that. They pop out from everywhere! Good luck, have fun!
 

neffa3

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Wenatchee
I have three tricks/tactics for ruffies in WA. Drive logging roads along creek bottoms when it's super dry and crispy out, very slowly with the windows down, radio off, you can actually hear them move away from the road as you drive by (though they're out of view), after the first rain just cruise around on logging roads, look for blue elderberries, I find they really hit them the first 1/2 of sept.

^I learned all that prior to realizing that people actually hunt grouse on foot.
 

pnwsculler

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Jul 26, 2022
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Oregon
I look for wet meadows because they usually have the greatest amount of biodiversity and edge habitat that attract a lot of wildlife. Often you find Hawthorne, crab apple, rose hips and other food sources. Plus they provide some beautiful scenery.
 

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FairWeather

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Thanks all. Seems like boots/tires on the ground is really the best way to find them. I went out yesterday to reset my trail camera, and did some poking around the other logging roads in the area, and bumped one. Haven’t seen multiple together, so not sure if that spot isn’t really much of a producer for grouse? I didn’t see much for food besides blackberry and raspberry, but those berries were there in abundance.

Figure I’ll go there for starters when the season opens, because I at least know that gate is open. That’s the other part of the puzzle, many/most of the gates in the area don’t open until OCT 1.
 

44hunter45

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Aug 14, 2019
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North Idaho
I have three tricks/tactics for ruffies in WA. Drive logging roads along creek bottoms when it's super dry and crispy out, very slowly with the windows down, radio off, you can actually hear them move away from the road as you drive by (though they're out of view), after the first rain just cruise around on logging roads, look for blue elderberries, I find they really hit them the first 1/2 of sept.

^I learned all that prior to realizing that people actually hunt grouse on foot.
This,
Pitch up your elk camp near a loaded Elderberry tree and you may have grouse waking you up every morning.

A for E-Scouting, look for edge. Any road or trail can produce a grouse.
 

Salmonchaser

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Nov 12, 2019
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Head up to Alsea, there is an extensive logging road system up there. Take any of the low elevation ones as noted by others. Work your way back toward Eugene. You’ll find grouse.
 

wa_archer

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Jan 30, 2013
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295
Location
E. WA
I thought driving around looking for them was how you hunt them? Odds of finding them go up the more you stop looking for them. Just remember in wa they moved the opener back to the 15th last year.
 

Don Fischer

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Jun 27, 2017
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The only place in Oregon I have ever found many grouse is the coast range. Go out several time a year for them from central Oregon and haven't seen a grouse in five or six years. I don't care to travel much over hundred miles for them. They were everywhere when I lived in Montana and Alaska, sure do miss them. of course central Oregon has become the last place on earth the hunt game birds of any kind!
 

FairWeather

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The only place in Oregon I have ever found many grouse is the coast range. Go out several time a year for them from central Oregon and haven't seen a grouse in five or six years. I don't care to travel much over hundred miles for them. They were everywhere when I lived in Montana and Alaska, sure do miss them. of course central Oregon has become the last place on earth the hunt game birds of any kind!
I’m in Eugene. I’ve gone out 4 times in some public land that’s close by, and haven’t seen anything yet. I’m thinking the 2 hour hunts after work aren’t going to pan out, and I’m going to have to dedicate more full day weekend hunts to really get out into the industrial timberland that’s a little further west.

I’ve heard that Hungarian partridge and chukar are prevalent in central OR, though. That has not been your experience, it seems?
 

Don Fischer

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Jun 27, 2017
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I’m in Eugene. I’ve gone out 4 times in some public land that’s close by, and haven’t seen anything yet. I’m thinking the 2 hour hunts after work aren’t going to pan out, and I’m going to have to dedicate more full day weekend hunts to really get out into the industrial timberland that’s a little further west.

I’ve heard that Hungarian partridge and chukar are prevalent in central OR, though. That has not been your experience, it seems?
It has been years since I've seen much of either within 100 miles of home, Antelope.
 

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