Anyone got some grouse/chickens tips?

Hutcho

New member
Me and a buddy are heading up from Missouri in a few weeks. Got 3 dogs. New to grouse/chickens but not to upland hunting. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, we're trying hard to get the slam this year!
 

benelli-banger

Active member
Stick to grass or crops that are short...much above shin-high is too tall...midday they will use tree belts or shrubs to escape the heat...that is fun hunting! I like grassy hills in the morning, especially if adjacent to crops...they like alfalfa for food and cover...
 

Randy S

Member
If you're headed to the Sandhills, they aren't like northern sharptails. Nebraska prairie grouse only use brushy/tree shelter if it's very hot like upper 80's, and still only a few. Grouse will be up high and out of the wind. The sandhills are sub-irrigated so grass on lower ground is thick and too tall. Start on the highest ridge you can find and hunt lower till you find them. Most will be on top. Opposite of most upland hunting, you'll want to hunt with the wind at your back. With the wind in your face the birds will be on the opposite hill you climb, near the top, and facing you. Tough to get any shooting as they'll usually flush when they see you top out. The 3 large public areas are 90% grouse 10% chickens. It can be hard to find a chicken. Hunt eastern or southern edges of sandhills CRP Map ground for chickens. Private pivot corners can be good. You'll have fun.
 

quailhunter101

New member
Does anyone have encounters with rattlers or porcupines in early season hunting in the Sandhills? Have wanted to come out and try it, but my dogs are not snake trained.
 

Randy S

Member
In 100+ trips never a venomous snake. The only rattlers I've seen in Nebraska were in the southwest around Scotsbluff. I've heard of dogs and porkies but I've never seen one anywhere in Nebraska except northern river bottoms and the Pine Ridge. I wouldn't give either a second thought. I don't disagree with snake avoidance, I just wouldn't cancel a sandhills hunt without it.
 

hunter94

Active member
if you roll the dice and go, at least stay away from rocky areas, timber pockets, etc., it only takes one unfortunate encounter, anti venom is very expensive, depending on the bite location and venom injected. i take my pup to snake avoidance every year, $50, cheap insurance, compared to thousands for anit-v. ask your vet, they should offer a 2 round vaccine that can help if your dog gets struck.
 

Westok

Member
I second the hunt high, and look for bowls up high . First time I hunted up there I could not find a bird the first day, second I hunted high and found a big group in a protected bowl. I have not encountered a snake myself. The old adage of when they flush just when you think they’ve all flushed 1 or 2 stragglers will go up is true. Reload or get ready .
 

quailhunter101

New member
Lookin forward to hear your report.

I think I have talked myself out of an early season hunt and will head to ND for late October hunt in hopes that I will still see some prairie grouse, maybe a hun and for sure some pheasants.

How is the grouse hunting in Nebraska later in the season?
 

Hutcho

New member
For some reason I haven't been getting the notifications. Thank you all for the advice! Just a few more days til we leave, excited is an understatement!!!
 

airmedic1

Member
In my experience, the best hunting is earlier in the season when the young birds are not so wild. They will sit for pointers better. Later in the season they become more wild and it's not uncommon to have flushes that are 75 to 100 yards out. Usually by Thanksgiving, they become birds of opportunity for me while hunting pheasants. It might be different if you have some private ground that has never been hunted but most of mine is done on public ground.
 

mutthunt

Member
If the weather man is right (LOL!), then there's a few days coming up that might be worth the long drive down.

Hmmmmmm
 
Changed my mind, I am still going just looks like Saturday will be a short morning hunt (hopefully) and then a lot of time to scout.
 

Hutcho

New member
Changed my mind, I am still going just looks like Saturday will be a short morning hunt (hopefully) and then a lot of time to scout.
We are leaving Missouri tommorow at 5am. Hopefully get a short hunt in tommorow, and coming home Monday. Maybe we will see you out there lol!
 

Hutcho

New member
Hunted yesterday evening when we got here and this morning until it got too hot for the dogs (and us). So far no luck at all! We have seen a few but they get up so far out I'm still not even sure they are what we think they are lol! Anyone have an idea what we could try different? We've been hunting ridge tops mostly, 1 guy on each ridge and one down in the bottom. 3 dogs.
 

Randy S

Member
Cover on the lower hills and meadows is too tall for grouse unless it's been recently mowed. The birds don't have a choice but to stay high. All you can do is keep walking. Also, move to a different area. Winter survival and nesting success should have been good. If you're not finding birds there must have been local hail. 10 or 20 miles can make all the difference.

I hunted Tues. and Wed in the eastern sandhills on CRP Map ground. Birds were hard to come by for me as well. Limited on Tues but only flushed five birds (about 1 per hour). Hunted for five hours Wed. and didn't even see a bird. Will be moving further west to federal lands next week. Private cover where I hunted was mowed and baled like I've never seen before.
 
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