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Looks like work is taking me that way for the remainder of the year. My home state obviously has no grouse, however most of our snipe hunting is just a hike with a shotgun ( until now without a dog) with the intent of shooting it a few times. We'll likely be spending a few long weekends in the mountains anyway. Is it pointless without a seasoned dog? I have a first year lab pup that'll be along for the ride but that's it.

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I doubt grouse numbers are very high in NC. You have to bundle the hunts a bit. That means look for woodcock and maybe Wilson Snipe at the same time. It’s always good to just get out.

Another option is drive to the plentiful public land in N WI or MI.

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As mentioned, grouse in NC are pretty scarce. I guided for the RGS hunt in MN for a few years and the couple guys I remember being from NC didn't mention hunting grouse there at all. I did meet a couple guys from NC while goose hunting and invited them to MN to chase grouse. It was 2 years past the low end of the cycle and it seemed they bagged more birds in one day than they would see in a season. In 5 days of hunting they probably doubled the number of grouse they shot in their life times. By "running and gunning" the best spots they had about a dozen+ grouse opportunities a day.Back home, they considered a 2 flush day to be a very good day and bagging a bird to be a red letter day on the calendar.

They were also amazed at there being woodcock so I would guess numbers for them are also rather low or they are found in few places. We hit the peak of the flights and the woodcock were so common that they interfered with finding grouse. I do recall a guy on a different site talking of hunting snipe and rails in one of the Carolinas but those birds generally live in a very different habitat than grouse. Though I have picked up a very occasional snipe while hunting ruffed grouse, it is rare. I have found many more while hunting sharptails and it is something I keep in mind.

That was 25 years ago so things may have changed some in NC. There may be some positive change but it is likely minor and localized as I have not seen or heard any mention of NC being a destination place for grouse anywhere. Getting out and looking yourself beats sitting around watching TV and there is always the chance to find a decent spot everyone else overlooks.

Last edited by woodmaster81; 10/12/18.
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Internet research agrees with you gentlemen. We're planning a week long trip to the mountains ( Nantahala or Pisgah National Forest). I plan to hike with the boys and dog anyway, carrying along a shotgun and possibly flushing a grouse is just icing on the cake! I'm scouting on the east coast of NC for snipe/ woodcock and maybe rails this week.

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You should have plenty of squirrels also in NC, maybe try a spot or two. Yes I agree, snipe are in the open pond edges. As a kid growing up in the U.P. we normally went hunting for whatever was open, all at the same time. That could include waterfowl, grouse, woodcock, snipe & cottontail or snowshoe hares. Often some trap checking was on the list too.

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Sourdough, my gang consists of three boys (8,4,3) and a first year Lab pup that loves to find and fetch whatever I wish. That type of hunting is EXACTLY what's on the menu this season!

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I'm in the eastern part of NC, but it is my understanding that the tree huggers in the mountains have caused a lot of NF timber sales to be curtailed. As a result, there is a lot of mature hardwood and not enough of the early succession habitat to support good numbers of grouse.


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There ya go,
You ever do any bird hunting on the east side of the state? I've looked over a few game lands near me in Williamston and I'm thinking about picking up a small game permit for Roanoke River. I'll have a few weeks to hunt over here along with our mountain trip hopefully.

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Z, I gave up quail hunting over 20 years ago, when my last bird dog died. The last couple of seasons with him, in the mid-90's, were nothing but an exercise in nostalgia. Without a huntable population of wild quail to train a new dog on and with an aversion to preserve hunting, I gave it up after 25 years of bustin' briars. I made some major life decisions on the assumption that I would be able to hunt quail around here as long as my legs held out. It was one of the biggest disappointments of my life when that assumption proved to be wrong. The decline in wild quail populations is well documented across the entire south, the biologists saying it is all about changes in habitat; specifically, farming practices. Perhaps.

Having said that, the Roanoke River gamelands undoubtedly have some woodcock flights periodically. If your dog is familiar with working them, it could be productive. And there could be a wild covey or two of quail there.


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I've got a first year Lab that I just want to get some woods time on. I've booked a preserve hunt just to show her some birds then we're going to start burning boot leather. I hear there are plenty of dove in Roanoke if all else fails. Ever found any Snipe around here?

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There are some dove fields on gamelands and private farmlands will often have good populations during the winter season, you will have to scout a lot and then get permission. Most of the private land is leased out. I have never hunted up there, I'm south of that area. I rarely see snipe in any appreciable numbers.

On another forum/thread you were asking about deer hunting. Lots of deer up Williamston way, but again most of the land is private and leased. I think you have to apply for permits to hunt the Roanoke River gamelands for deer or waterfowl; not sure about the chances of getting drawn for one of those hunts. I'd inquire of the preserve operator you're booked with, I would think he'd know of a deer hunt you could get in on.


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I believe we're going to try our hand on public land. I'm only booking a preserve hunt in the name of dog training. Most things I prefer to go unguided.

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don't waste your time buying a license or toting a gun... remember I told you...


"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went"
Will Rogers
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Sasha and Abby,
Those sound like words based on experience πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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Grouse hunting is Great in North Carolina. I have hunted grouse here since the 70s . I have also hunted Ruff grouse in every state that has them. You can not move the number of birds that you can in Wisconson or some of the north eastern states but the hunting is still good in the western part of the tar heel state.

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I was born in western , N. C. ,still live here, started grouse hunting when I was 12, i'm 70 now, in my teens and twenties i wouldn't think of going anywhere else, i've hunted the U , P, Wisconson , Maine, Thumb of Michigan, Montana, Canada . I KNOW good spots in WNC, last hunt in my best place eleven miles walking ONE flush, I killed him and felt bad about it as I feared he was the last one. That was last year.My last trips to Michigan were pitiful. Friend of mine doesn't call it grouse hunting, he says it's marathon walking.You can grouse Hunt here but you won't do much finding. AS was stated above big problem is lack of cover. I probably will be selling some of my gun's later in the year, because I feel it won't be back in my lifetime.

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We used to have a lot of grouse.

Until the state, in their infinite wisdom, decided to release a gazillion coyotes, so now we have a bunch of nuisance varmints and that's about all.

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Yea, we hear that also....The Pa GC released Coyotes. They didn't. "Oh, but I trapped a Coyote with a GC tag, so they must have." No they trapped one and tagged it to see where they are when another traps it.

Coyotes walked into Pa and unless the NC GC says they did, I would suspect they did the same in NC. If some of the workers were turning loose Coyotes, someone would squeal all the way to the courts. You couldn't hide it. Then are they breeding them on their own, or buying them from another State. Where are the breeding pens or which State is shipping them in undercover? Who is the shipper? More inconveniences that need to be hidden.

Last edited by battue; 02/13/23.

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We've got a family cabin about 10 miles up the mountain from Boone and I still encounter grouse up there when I'm just out roaming the hills in the few days we spend there. A couple years ago I walked right out of the cabin and there was one sitting right by the truck less than 10 feet from the porch. Have never actually hunted them but would like to try.

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I don't live in Western NC but as close as you can get in Eastern TN. I hunted the Cherokee NF (borders Pisgah NF) extensively in the 90's and grouse were plentiful and I would always hear them drumming in the spring turkey woods but since about 2001-2002 they seemed to have vanished. I used to have 2 pointers that I hunted quail and grouse over but once they both died I never replaced them due to not being able to "keep feathers in their mouths", as both quail and grouse populations crashed. Take a trip to the UP of Michigan to hunt the large public land opportunities and you won't be disappointed.

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