A long weekend of ruffed grouse hunting typically equals enough miles to exhaust even the most in-shape hunter. It includes tough hiking through some seriously rugged terrain all while trying to stay ready for a shot. If you’re anything like us, you are always looking to be as efficient as possible with the miles you put on so you & your dog can keep the hunts going later on in the weekend. That means trying to find both the right habitat & the best times of the day to grouse hunt.
Finding The Best Times Of The Day To Grouse Hunt
A big thing that you’re going to want to think about before picking the best time to grouse hunt for you is to know what kind of areas you have to hunt. Grouse spend different times of the day in types of habitat, so being in the right place at the right time is critical.
Early Morning Grouse Hunting
Hunting in the early morning is by far my favorite time of the day to grouse hunt. I’m simply a morning person in general, and nothing is quite as peaceful and relaxing to me as an early morning in the grouse woods with my dog. Pair that with the fact that other hunters typically don’t want to deal with the alarm clocks, lack of adequate coffee intake, and frost or dew to get out there & we’ve got a recipe for success. It’s also the time of day that we seem to get the most flushes.
During this time you’re going to want to hunt the areas between more mature timber where grouse roost for the night & the thick brush where they spend the day. The grouse will be transitioning from their roosting areas to the thicker areas, and catching since they’re on the move your bird dog should be able to pick up their fresh scent relatively easily.
Throw all this together and in my opinion this is one of the best times of the day to grouse hunt.
Getting A Little Bit Later Start
About an hour after sunrise grouse typically have made their way to their feeding areas. This can be a great time to locate grouse if you’ve done your homework & scouted the area. Knowing what the grouse are eating around you will tell you all you know about where to find them. If you manage to shoot one go ahead and open up it’s crop to figure out what the grouse are eating on that particular day.
After you know what their diet is at the moment, move on over to your favorite spot to hunt with that source of food. We’ve had some great success using this tactic.
Hitting The Brush in the Early Afternoon
This is the time of day that is going force you to hunt the thickest cover around. Head over to areas along the edge of swamps, marshes, creeks, & bogs. You’re going to be looking for stands of young aspen trees & poplar trees.
This is definitely an area that you’re going to want to have a shorter barreled shotgun & the right shot size. You’re likely going to have better luck swinging through the bird if you have our method of planting of shooting that we detail here mastered.
Hunting Grouse In The Evening
In the evenings you can find the grouse back in their transition areas between the thick cover & more mature timber. Your hunting here is going to be in very similar (if not exactly the same) areas from what you would grouse hunt in the early mornings. Catch them on their way to roost, and you’ll have some great luck!
If you’ve found a great early morning spot, be sure to head back to that same area in the evenings. Hunters that claim its only worth grouse hunting in the few hours after sunrise & before sunset often have simply located great transition areas to hunt.