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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for Sharptail Grouse advise. I have tried once before when they first open the season, but saw nothing. Looks like more land is opened up for them but any suggestion as a starting point. I will have a couple of days, not long enough.
 

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Tried it once for a day in the central UP awhile back and did not see any.
Was driving around Drumond Island and seen a good number of them crossing a dirt road in early summer.
 

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I have hunted them during just about every open season since 1976, killing a few, missing a lot more and quite literally watched hundred and hundreds more (sometimes in flocks of over thirty) flush wildly out of range and fly off over the trees to who knows where.

Speaking from years of experience I can say that birds can be anywhere but generally speaking the HAP lands in the EUP are not the best places, with one or two notable exceptions. IMO the best thing a person can do is look for semi open shrubby cover, long abandoned fields, and knock on some doors. My experience is that many landowners in the EUP are quite generous in granting permission to hunt sharptails.

Another thing I have learned is that as the birds mature, the wilder they flush. You dog people aren't going to want to hear this, especially if your dog ranges widely, but once you get the hang of where to look more shots can often be had by leaving the dog in the kennel and merely walking the best cover late in the season. FM
 

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I have hunted them during just about every open season since 1976, killing a few, missing a lot more and quite literally watched hundred and hundreds more (sometimes in flocks of over thirty) flush wildly out of range and fly off over the trees to who knows where.

Speaking from years of experience I can say that birds can be anywhere but generally speaking the HAP lands in the EUP are not the best places, with one or two notable exceptions. IMO the best thing a person can do is look for semi open shrubby cover, long abandoned fields, and knock on some doors. My experience is that many landowners in the EUP are quite generous in granting permission to hunt sharptails.

Another thing I have learned is that as the birds mature, the wilder they flush. You dog people aren't going to want to hear this, especially if your dog ranges widely, but once you get the hang of where to look more shots can often be had by leaving the dog in the kennel and merely walking the best cover late in the season. FM
I did some training in August. My dogs had a tough time with them as it was really they're first time with contacts. It was a lot of fun though. The area I was training the birds can't be hunted but there are a lot of guys that train on them so they're wary.
 

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My dogs learned how to handle them back when we hunted North Dakota.Silent approach and after the dogs flew some out the learned how to back off and give more space.
 

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My dogs learned how to handle them back when we hunted North Dakota.Silent approach and after the dogs flew some out the learned how to back off and give more space.
Yep. They were definitely crowding them. I was training with some dogs that did have a lot of experience so I got to see some great birdwork too and my dogs all got the chance to back.
 

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Yep. They were definitely crowding them. I was training with some dogs that did have a lot of experience so I got to see some great birdwork too and my dogs all got the chance to back.
The people that I talked with over the years that hunt there or live there said a 100 to 200 yard dog is best.No noise makers on the dogs and absolute silence when walking into a dog on point.They said walking in a group with close working dogs or dogs hacked in close wasn't going to work as the birds leave out before the pressure and commotion.So after that my dog jack was given free range,busted a few,then started pointing huns and sharpies very well.
The Outfitter told us we were the only ones who were getting them in mid November in that area.He stated the sharptail and huns were tuff because we were in primarily pheasant lands and by then they were extremely educated and wary.
I believe a dog can learn how to handle different birds but it takes wild birds and the contacts to do so.

I really wish the state would relocate sharpies in the lower.They are challenging and when they fly out they leave town.Lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Not opposed to relocating Charlie's to the lower but where that has that much open land like Eastern UP? I remember a long time ago there were some open prairie land in Gladwin county that had sharptails. Have not heard anyone talk about them decades?
 

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Kalkaska county has a sharp tail habitat area. I don’t believe there has been any birds there for many years though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sounds very promising. Hope it succeeds but DNR has turkeys as their one bird that turned out well. They tried Sichuan pheasants and cross breeding with ringnecks; And Hungarian partridges too. Neither did well.
 

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Heading out tomorrow for my first sharp tail experience. Not expecting a whole lot since we’ve done zero scouting and little research.

I like the advice of running silent. I don’t think we’ll have a hard time seeing the dogs working, since it’s more prairie style hunting than thickets. ( so I’ve been told). Would you guys recommend blockers at the end of a push similar to a pheasant hunt?

Only problem is trying to keep my hunting partners from slaming car doors and hitting the whistle every 10 seconds.

I’ve never even been pheasant hunting so it will be a nice change of pace. Probably revert back to the old grouse and woodcock pursuits within the first day though
 

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Sounds very promising. Hope it succeeds but DNR has turkeys as their one bird that turned out well. They tried Sichuan pheasants and cross breeding with ringnecks; And Hungarian partridges too. Neither did well.
The new science's on genetics and as they mentioned about gene flow is a key factor.The Zoologists were the first to discover how it works while attempting to breed endangered.They stand to have a very good chance if they collect birds from different locations every year as the program continues
 

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Two weekends ago, my I accompanied my son-in-law on a prairie chicken/sharptail grouse hunt in north west Minnesota.

He was one of 125 hunters who drew a permit to hunt prairie chickens.

I was not allowed to hunt. Only permit holders can carry a gun. Permit holders can shoot prairie chickens and sharptails.

Neither of us had ever seen a prairie chicken or sharptail grouse before.

We hunted for 2 days. The first day, we walked 11 miles. That day, my dog flushed 10 prairie chickens and 3 sharptail grouse.

The second day, we walked only 3 miles and he shot his second prairie chicken filling his season limit.

The photo below shows a sharptail grouse on the right and prairie chicken on the left.

I hope the sharptail experiment works for Michigan.

Wood Pattern Grille Automotive exterior Metal
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Profoundly a dumb question, but watching a video of the 2018 Michigan Sharptail grouse hunt, what is the ideal choke and shot? Much more open then woodcock/ruffed grouse? Imp Cyl/Modified or Modified, and 7 or 8 shot?
 

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Profoundly a dumb question, but watching a video of the 2018 Michigan Sharptail grouse hunt, what is the ideal choke and shot? Much more open then woodcock/ruffed grouse? Imp Cyl/Modified or Modified, and 7 or 8 shot?
Sharptails are larger than a ruffed grouse but smaller than a cock pheasant. They are probably the size of or slightly smaller than a hen pheasant. They do not appear to be as tenacious as pheasants. When hit, they go down and do not move very far.

We hunted on Federal Waterfowl Production Areas in NW Minnesota. Nontoxic shot is required on these areas.

My son-in-law used #4 bismuth shot. I think that #4 steel would have worked well too. In lead shot, I would recommend #6 or maybe, 7 1/2. I would not go as small as #8. I do not like a lot of small shot in my food.

The areas where you hunt them are more open than typical ruffed grouse cover. You will have the opportunity for much longer shots. For a single barrel gun, modified choke seems appropriate. In a double barrel, IC/Mod would work well.
 

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Every year, we hunt the Pheasant opener around Winner, SD and after we finish out in the mid-afternoon on Pheasants with the old fat guys that want to get back to televised sports and strong drink, several of us (some of us who are old and fat, but like to hunt) hit the hills for chickens and grouse.
I use a cylinder and a skeet in my 687 for this, and I have never felt like I missed a bird because I didn't have enough choke.

I've been lucky enough to pull a Grand Slam (limits of all three species) 3 or four times.

I find that, especially for grouse, either "zenning" them, by walking slowly with frequent, irregular stops and starts works best to get them up within range. (later in the season, they congregate in winter wheat, and you can do some phenomenal pass shooting for them)

Chickens are stupid but fast. (not stupid like spruce grouse, but stupid enough to stand there after you see one standing on a brome-covered hillside until you can sidle up into range).

My brother has a Shorthair that works close, and she is hell on the pheasant and grouse (and great at finding dead chickens.

Going out there the 18th to try it again:)
 

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Leaving sunday for 9 days of bird hunting. Starting sunday afternoon in roscommon county. Leaving monday morning to hit the keweenaw. Going to hunt tuesday and wed with my son in keweenaw area then head back across the UP stopping to hunt along the way for 3 days. Supposed to meet up with a buddy and my son on friday night to hunt paradise area for 4 days. Might try some sharptail hunting at somepoint. If the hunting isnt so great around paradise could head back down to roscommon for the last two days of the trip. My dad has a cottage in that area and it is on the way home.

Cant wait!
 
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