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  #11  
Old 11-04-2010, 07:36 PM
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First off, please be careful out there! Muzzleloader deer season opens on Saturday and Iím sure there are lots of itchy and inexperienced trigger fingers out there.

Grouse hunting in East Tennessee is TOUGH. There are birds around but there arenít that many. Achieving a daily limit (3) is dang near impossible. And if your goal is to put even a single bird in the bag each time out you need to find a hunting preserve to visit. There have been many days, like I had yesterday, that a hunt is nothing more than exercise for you and the dog. If you are going to seriously pursue the ruffed grouse in Southern Appalachia you might want to get used to that.

Plain and simple, to find birds takes a great amount time and effort. Unlike fishing, when you shoot a grouse it dies and you are not going to shoot it again the next day. Itís gone. I consider the E. TN grouse to be something very special and each time I am fortunate enough to take one I am very thankful.

In addition to the birds being a bit scarce, our terrain makes the shooting difficult. The cover that holds birds is usually steep and thick. If an area does support birds you can just about bet that they have been pressured by hunters before and the birds might hold or might not. Most of the flushes I recorded last year were wild. For example, I watched Hazel work an area 15 yards in front of me. She was very ďbirdieĒ. The bird blew out 25 yards past her. She did absolutely nothing wrong. I only recorded a flush that particular day. I was offered no shot. Was I discouraged? Nope, I knew that there was a bird there and would visit him again.

Our next visit:



I recently got an email, from someone who didnít even bother to offer there name, requesting that I provide them with directions to a hunting spot that they could just drive up to and shoot a bird. Just kind of casual like they were asking about fishing Little River or something. If you donít hunt this might not sound all that crazy.

They didnít ask to tag along on a hunt or for information on a general area. They just wanted me to tell them where to go. Good luck to them, but Iíve spent way too much time and effort to hand over that kind of information. Like I said before, once shot itís gone. Iíd much rather give them my ATM card and PIN#.

Now, all of the WMAís and national forests areas that everyone has mentioned will more than likely hold birds. I have been to a few of the areas and have not heard of a couple more. 2wieightfav didnít flush any birds on his hunt today. Thatís not to say that they werenít there. Grouse move. They could have been over the ridge from him. Itís called hunting for a reason.

I hunted one area last year that a guy claimed held lots of birds. 1st hunt Ė nothing; 2nd hunt Ė tons of tracks in the snow but no birds found; 3rd hunt Ė no birds. I would have thought that he was crazy had I not seen what appeared to be multiple bird tracks on the gravel road right where he said theyíd be.

Donít give up on them but donít expect to flush them every time out. If a spot looks good (ďthick briar patches, along the edges of the pines, and everywhere in between. I hunted on the steep slopes, and down in the wet bottomsĒ Ė 2weightfavorite) give it a few hunts before writing it off.

2weightfav, if you are still interested in where the photos were taken from my recent post (in the photography section) just shoot me an email.
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  #12  
Old 11-05-2010, 09:24 AM
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Grouseman, perhaps you are referring to me about the request for information, i.e. park here, walk this way I think is how I put it. Sure, I was being a bit casual about it for a reason. And yes, I did not ask to tag along on a hunt with you. During our exchange of emails there was no offer to. To my way of thinking it is polite to let someone offer rather than to ask. I think this demands an explanation.

My name is Dennis Rosenbalm. I live in Knoxville. I am almost 60 years old and a TVA retiree. I hunted quite a bit when I was a boy here in east TN. The places I hunted then are either now state parks or gated with no hunting signs posted everywhere. I was recently gifted with a Lab puppy and thought it would be a good reason to try grouse hunting again just to enjoy her out in the woods, which she loves. I started asking around to anyone who I thought might know where to go to find them. More often than not I came up empty.

TWRA returned a call a couple of weeks ago and said try Royal Blue. It's a pretty big place without a well defined boundary. My concern is getting onto private land unintentionally. I can assure you I am not out after anyone's secret hunting grounds.
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Old 11-05-2010, 09:50 AM
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Dennis,
If I had a secret hunting ground, I would most likely keep it that way as scarce as Grouse are, but I don't. I've been going up and hunting the Jefferson and Washington Nat'l forests in VA (where I live) for several years now and have seen very few and killed a lot less. Mostly I hunt Bobwhite Quail and they're pretty scarce too but I enjoy it a little more than the Grouse hunting. My GSP has become quite the fishing girl the last few years which is a good thing since hunting is so tough:


Good luck finding a spot for your pup but the best thing to do right now is buy some pigeons and train, train, train, because if and when you do run across that rare wild bird you want her to be up on her game and have some idea of how to handle the situation. I still train and my dog is going 5 years old now, just keeps her keen. I built a little "rabbit hutch" type cage and buy a few Quail or Pigeons here and there and just try to suprise her on a normal walk down on our farm just to keep her hungry for the hunt. We spent a lot of time on yard work those first 16-18 months.
I manage my farm for Quail, I planted plots of switchgrass, lespedeza, and black-eyed susies in half acre increments. I also had the state come in and plant 45 acres of old tobacco fields back in Loblolly pines. After all of this I had a friend in NC to raise 300 Quail for me and I released them at 6 weeks old in coveys of 20 each. That's been 4 years ago and they've raised some, a lot have fallen to predation but I still have 20-30 calling around the farm in the spring and they seem to have gotten some foothold by now. It's a labor of love for sure, a lot of time and money have went into it. Best regards and again, good luck!!---Bran
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  #14  
Old 11-05-2010, 12:50 PM
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Thanks for the encouraging words Bran. Ms. Annie loves the water and goes trout fishing with me often, except in the GSMNP which finds it necessary to virtually ban dogs from just about everywhere in the park.

I understand folks being protective of favorite places for whatever reasons be it bird, fish, deer, turkey, etc. That is why whenever I inquire I try to be respectful of this and speak only in generalities. A lot of older folks I've talked with no longer hunt since obviously it is a tougher thing to do as one matures. Thing is I've not met many younger folks who hunt, let alone bird hunt. The ones that do seem more interested in deer these days.

Ms. Annie and I will eventually find some birds. We will try different locales and enjoy our times together afield whether we have a lot or a little luck, makes no difference. I envy you your farm and quail. I raised quail when I was 14 down in Louisville, TN. Loved to hear them call. Can't remember how long it's been since I've heard ole mister Bob White. It's been awhile.
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:14 PM
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It's a rare sound these days to hear a Bobwhite call indeed. Have you ever tried Woodcock? They should be coming through our Latitude about now any time and they're fun little fellas to chase. I know your dog would be interested pretty quick, my lab always liked to kick them up.
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  #16  
Old 11-05-2010, 05:41 PM
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I wonder why they even have a 3 bird limit if they're so scarce. They reduce duck bag limits when their numbers fall off. They are beautiful birds...wish I was close enough to huntable area to give it a go.
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  #17  
Old 11-05-2010, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelO View Post
I wonder why they even have a 3 bird limit if they're so scarce. They reduce duck bag limits when their numbers fall off. They are beautiful birds...wish I was close enough to huntable area to give it a go.
I think because it really doesn't matter to TWRA. The funding for small game is nothing. They make more money off elk, turkey and deer.
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  #18  
Old 11-05-2010, 08:06 PM
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Dennis, I've got a couple of areas that I have wanted to check out for a while now. I have never hunted or even been to them but have heard a little talk. No idea if there are birds there but you are more than welcome to come with me when I go. It will probably be when deer season is closed.

There is a price to be paid. You need to post some pictures of Ms. Annie asap.

I've heard more than one bird hunter say that it takes birds to make a bird dog. Bran mentioned quail. There is a guy in Maryville who raises quail and sells them for around $4 per. If you have a place that you could release birds and work your dog that would be very beneficial to her progress. I'll include the quail guy's name and number in an email with my number. If anyone else is interested in the quail just shoot me an email. I don't think that he would mind me posting his contact info on here but I'd want to ask him first.

I'll shoot you an email with the numbers.
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Last edited by GrouseMan77; 11-05-2010 at 08:37 PM.. Reason: Additional info
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  #19  
Old 11-09-2010, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrouseMan77 View Post
Dennis, I've got a couple of areas that I have wanted to check out for a while now. I have never hunted or even been to them but have heard a little talk. No idea if there are birds there but you are more than welcome to come with me when I go. It will probably be when deer season is closed.

There is a price to be paid. You need to post some pictures of Ms. Annie asap.

I've heard more than one bird hunter say that it takes birds to make a bird dog. Bran mentioned quail. There is a guy in Maryville who raises quail and sells them for around $4 per. If you have a place that you could release birds and work your dog that would be very beneficial to her progress. I'll include the quail guy's name and number in an email with my number. If anyone else is interested in the quail just shoot me an email. I don't think that he would mind me posting his contact info on here but I'd want to ask him first.

I'll shoot you an email with the numbers.
I know that man. His birds are flight pen raised and fly hard! I've released some of his birds and had them all fly hundreds of yards away. Then you see the surveyors flagging I tied to their legs hanging out of the trees.

If Dennis doesn't accept your offer on the hunt then I would love to go. Waling through the woods by myslef is getting lonely. I'll try to post a picture of my dog soon. Email me if you want to go after deer season russells@mbiarch.com
Offer is for anyone wanting to go!!
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  #20  
Old 11-09-2010, 03:59 PM
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From a preserve quail hunt last year.
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