Grouse hunting may be one of the most difficult small game birds to bring down. They fly extremely fast and require cat-like reflexes to hit. Due to their zipping speed and small size, they require the right kind of rifle. These birds can be hunted with or without a dog. But when going solo without the hound, your skills will really be put to the test.
The best rifle for the job
Remember that grouse are fast flying small birds that can suddenly spring up from the bush and fly in every direction. Having a rifle with too long of a barrel can interfere with your ability to accurately fire off some shots with quick response.
Some hunters will use a 28-gauge shotgun, but even then they can shred the meat. Grouse are delectable little devils, so I would recommend a single low caliber shot that one can get from many types of air rifles. There are a number of great online vendors like airsoft megastore that carry several varieties of hunting rifles ideal for small-feathered prey. The last thing you want to do is crack a tooth on some buckshot, and for this reason more hunters are becoming big advocate of the air rifle.
Improve your reflexes
Practice makes perfect—especially when hunting grouse. Skeet shooting is a great way to work on your aim and reflexes. This sport is done recreationally, as well as competitively. The sportsman can use a shotgun or a rife. The clay discs are 109.54 mm in diameter and are 28.58 mm thick. They fly a distance of roughly 62 yards. Due to the size and speed at which these discs fly, they are ideal for grouse hunting training.
Staying one step ahead
Knowing the habits of grouse will help make you a more efficient hunter. These birds utilize excellent camouflage and prefer thick undergrowth in shaded areas where they can better blend into obscurity. They stay extremely still in order to avoid detection. But in some cases they can be seen roosting in treetops. When hunting grouse you will want to take on the Elmer Fudd philosophy and be very very quiet.
It is common to suddenly face a spray of grouse fleeing from under your feet. Remember, they don’t fly straight up into the air. Rather, they fly sideways. Grouse also never forget their wingman, and almost always fly in pairs or in groups. Be prepared to take aim on a single target while not allowing yourself to be distracted by their nature’s trickery.
Use your ears. When flushed, grouse make a distinct sound for each of their various movements. Veteran grouse hunters can pick up on these sounds and predict the bird’s flight path.
Part of being a good hunter is knowing how to prepare these tasty birds for the dinner table. Once you have de-feathered and cleaned the bird, you will want to cook it in a way that allows the bird’s naturally gamey taste to shine through. ‘Honest Food’ offers some amazing recipes for hunters that really pay tribute to the bird. They showcase a grouse recipe that preserves the bird’s natural flavor without getting overly fancy. Simple seasonings and some olive oil will go a long way, but the cooking time and temperature must be just right. If it isn’t, your stealthy endeavors will be in vain.