Maine Grouse Hunting: 5 Ways to Improve Your Shot. Ever wonder if you could be doing things better? Who doesn’t?
This is especially true of grouse hunting. With something like 27,000 square miles of potential grouse habitat between its borders, Maine is a grouse hunting destination like no other. But with so much area, you’ll want to hunt it as effectively as you can.
Today’s post is about eliminating those simple mistakes we hunters often tend to make that reduce our effectiveness in the field. What mistakes, you ask?
Slow Down Your Grouse Hunt
Slow it down. Our tendency is to barrel through the cover, bouncing from one thicket to the next trying to push the next flush. Problem is, going too fast is probably causing you to miss birds.
You didn’t travel all this way to Maine and walk all these miles just to go blowing by birds while they hunker down waiting for your blundering mug to pass so they can get on with their day.
So slow it down. Take your time. If you have a dog, give it time to work. If you don’t have a dog, slow down even more. Stop often. Look and listen. Maine Grouse Hunting takes patience.
Know what a grouse thinks when you stop within striking distance of it? Something to the tune of, “Holy sh–, I’ve been spotted! I gotta get outta here. Now!”
Flush. Shot. Dinner.
Don’t Move in Straight Lines While Hunting
Have you ever watched a dog narrow in on a scent? Think about that. When a dog picks up a scent, he doesn’t just beeline to its source. He zig-zags back and forth, working closer and closer, following the trail until the scent gets so strong that he’s certain he’s pinned it down.
That’s the time when pointing breeds lock up. They stop. Hence the above suggestion.
Incidentally, most natural predators follow the same process. As should you. Especially if you hunt without a dog. This not only lets you cover more ground more thoroughly, it potentially gives the illusion to your prey that you’re on to them.
Flush. Shot. Dinner.
Passing on Shots
Grouse habitat is brushy. Thick. If you’re not on your game, your shot is likely to take down little more than leaves and branches. Or worse, a bird may flush and you pass up the shot altogether for lack of a suitable shooting lane. Either way, you’re going to bed hungry.
To remedy the latter, keep a constant eye downrange and have your shooting lanes identified beforehand. Then, when a bird does take to the sky, you can time your lead and make the shot in the precise place and time it needs to be to connect.
Flush. Shot. Dinner.
Taking Your Eye Off the Prize
Sometimes it doesn’t all come together perfectly. Sometimes the result is: flush, shot, miss (followed by some curses, some friendly taunting from your hunting buddies, the obligatory excuses, and a bruised ego).
Thing is, there’s a step between the miss and the cursing and taunting that we often forget: tracking the bird.
Just because you missed (or couldn’t get a shot) doesn’t mean the bird is now out of play. Watch where it goes. Flushed grouse often don’t fly far. If you note where it lands, you can potentially set yourself up for a follow-up flush. Just be sure to hunt your way there, per the first two tips above.
If nothing else, you should at least note the type of cover the flushed bird seeks out and use that knowledge to focus on similar cover types later. Chances are, if that particular cover type is good for one bird, it’s good for others too.
Don’t Underutilize Technology
Which brings me to my final tip. Though no hunt is the same as the one before, there are often consistencies. Things like the type of cover grouse seem to always like during a particular time of year. Or the way they held tighter during particular weather conditions. Unfortunately, it’s practically impossible for us to remember all those little details about every hunt.
You have a device in your pocket that can capture all that knowledge right from the field. It’s your smartphone.
I’m sure there are some designed specifically for keeping hunting records. Personally, I use a simple cloud-based notetaking app. I can jot down or even record a quick summary of the conditions and what happened during the hunt right from the field. I can even take pictures on the fly of the areas where I flushed birds for later reference.
Get enough of this information in one place and I guarantee over time you’ll start noticing patterns and consistencies. Then you can use that information to find more grouse.
Flush. Shot. Dinner…Post to social media. #MaineGrouse
Maine Grouse Hunting
In Northern Maine, nestled in the little town of Patten, sits the most gorgeous land we’ve ever seen. Camp Katahdin Adventures is our little piece of heaven. We have 100’s of acres and three full time rental properties. Guests enjoy all seasons of hunting (pheasant hunting, year round, no license needed), our well kept ATV trails and sled-in-sled-out Maine ITS Snowmobile Trail access. We also have our own shooting pavilion if you need to brush up on your skills. Great for groups, families, and executive meetings, we have an adventure for everyone.
See more pics, reviews, descriptions, and our available dates here: