View Full Version : up high or down low?

01-17-2008, 09:56 PM
So not long ago I decided to take a drive up to Clingmans Dome and when i turned off the main road onto the one that goers up to the trailhead parking lot i saw some grouse cross the road. No all in one spot, they were spread out, but seemed to be everywhere. Now i know this doesn't have anything to do with fishing, but I am an avid grouse hunter, and I was wondering in the Southern Appalachians is a man better off hunting grouse on the moutnain tops, or down in the valleys? So far in the mountains around the Tellico River where i hunt I havent seen any grouse... Any suggestions comments, or tips on where in the world to find grouse would be greatly Appreciated.

Thank you.

01-25-2008, 11:31 PM
When hiking up there along those ridges, I've heard a lot of grouse beating, probably more than I've heard anywhere else. I have no idea why. I think you are on to something.

Brian Griffing
01-26-2008, 10:51 AM
This last spring I was hunting turkeys and I had set up with my back against a pine tree. I was right on the edge of a small stand of pines hugging a small creek and looking out over an oak flat that a flock of turkeys had just destroyed over the previous few weeks. There was a ridge above the flat where I was pretty sure the turkeys roosted within sight of the flat, so I snuck in well before first light and settled into the lower boughs of this particluar pine tree. Anyway, right at first light, still probably about twenty minutes before actual sunrise, I heard a deep thumping that I immediately took to be a hen coming down from the top of the tree I was sitting under. It was an absolute explosion of sound and I couldn't quite pin point the source. After frantically looking around as best I could without moving my head, I immediately began to question myself, thinking that sounded more like someone blaring rap music out of an SUV that isn't used for sports or utility at a light on Alcoa Highway than a turkey's wingbeats. I heard it again a minute later, and several times more over the next half hour. I now believe it was a grouse beating his wings, very close to me.
I am not an experienced grouse hunter by any account, but I have chanced upon several in the Park and in the surrounding hills. And it seems that every time I see a grouse, it is either in, or flying from, pines that are not necessarily at lower elevations, but are lower than their immediate surroundings.
I started typing hoping this would help, but as I go back and read it I realize it probably doesn't. Well, I'm going to post anyway, seeing as it is already typed, with the disclaimer that I am not better at finding a grouse than my big dufus of a lab, Smedley. If we see a grouse, its because we fell backwards into either the dumbest or the unluckiest bird in the woods.

01-27-2008, 01:00 PM
This probably isn't going to help you much, but I was in the Foothills WMA yesterday scouting for next years deer season and I accidentally flushed two grouse. The first one was at the base of the mountain before it got real steep, the second one was on the trail that runs along the very top ridge. One high, one low. Where I flushed the one low, I've flushed them near there many times in the past. So, my vote is for low, with the occasional high one. I also found out first hand that not all bears hibernate in the winter. Flushed one of them also.

01-28-2008, 02:09 PM
Last year while deer hunting around Citico, I flushed 3 grouse. The first one was by the fire tower on Cold Springs Road (up high), the next was along Gold Cabin Branch ((middle) the gated road that goes from Cold Springs to Doublecamp Creek), and the last one was along the gated road that goes from Citico Creek Rd to Cold Springs Rd ((low) the road deadends just after you cross a bridge off Citico Creek Rd, they park horse trailers there sometimes). I know that telling you where I saw grouse last year isn't going to help you shoot any this year, just letting you know they are out there. I personally think they are whereever the guy without a shotgun is. The only grouse hunting I've ever done was with a bow in Colorado while elk hunting. The only thing I can compare that to is like shooting chickens out of somebody's yard. They were sure tasty after eating freeze dried food for a week.

02-06-2008, 12:19 AM
I think the answer to the question is "yes." Depends on the day, the food, etc. I'm no pro, but I used to tag along with Dad enough to know they were often where we weren't. It's those times when you happened to be where they were that kept you coming back.

Had a similar drumming experience in the park last year near smokemont on Bradley Fork. Couple of us standing around tying on flies when we heard/felt that mystic thumping that makes you jerk your head around looking for a horse. We all looked at each other wide-eyed with half smirked faces. That bird drummed every 15 minutes for the next two days. Amazing that you can be standing in the river next to a fishing buddy, and you practically have to shout to hear each other over the river, but that bird can make his presence clearly known to everything in the area, above the sound of the river and everything else. And you can't pinpoint their location for anything; at least I can't.

What cool birds; they're like ghosts. I miss that sport.

Brian Griffing
02-06-2008, 02:13 PM
This probably isn't going to help you much, but I was in the Foothills WMA yesterday scouting for next years deer season ...
I ran around Foothills WMA a couple times this last fall as well. Depending on which part you are hunting I live 10 - 30 minutes away from it. If you are looking for someone to go with next year, let me know. My email is brian.griffing@usmc.mil

02-06-2008, 05:09 PM

I think I'll have to take you up on that offer for some company. I would hunt there more often, but I usually can't get anyone to go, or they go once and swear that they'll never go back. Most of my buddies like riding 4-wheelers to their treestands and don't really enjoy hunting the mountains. I'll shoot you an email. If your interested, I turkey hunt there in the spring. There's far more turkeys there than deer, but there's also far more turkey hunters. Like anywhere else on public land, if you get in a couple miles, you'll have the place to yourself.