Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 21

wooded kingdom and spent the next 12
years skulking along wetlands for ducks
and geese.
Bobby, who is a serious bowhunter,
mentioned that he had been seeing quite
a few grouse on some private land he had
permission to hunt, but wanted no part of
them until after archery.
By the end of December, Bobby
had filled his tags, so we scheduled a
combination goose-and-grouse morning
extravaganza.
After a chilly dawn, plus three hours
lying in a snowy cornfield, we decided
to switch gears and exchanged one-piece
coveralls for lighter flannels and jeans.
I hadn't yet learned the importance of
chaps, leather gloves and rugged shooting shirts.
But by the end of that first day in the
woods, my vest and flannel shirt were in
tatters and had been just about ripped off
my body.
Greenbrier had poked so many holes
in my jeans they looked like swiss cheese.
Three hours and 12 heart-pounding
flushes later, however, I was hooked for
life.
The next two weeks were spent pouring through any literature I could find
mentioning the word grouse, and staring
at Google Earth to discern good cover.
I tried several state parks nearby on the
weekends, but had little luck finding birds.
I had by this time invested in a $200
bird vest and $110 chaps, and I was starting to take the shape of a grouse hunter.
My shooting, however, still needed
work.
Bobby and I tried another parcel where
he had hunted a few years ago.
After a mile loop through an old clearcut and across a log landing, we climbed
to the top of a short ridge, and discovered
the "chicken tracks" of the grouse I had
J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7

just flushed.
I felt the recoil but never heard the
crack, as I watched the change in trajectory in amazement.
Feathers flew and the bird arced to the
ground.
Never in my outdoor pursuits have I
felt so thrilled.
Bobby walked over and congratulated
me, just as happy as I was that we finally
had gotten one for all of our effort.
Little did we know, then that, within
the hour, Bobby would make a fantastic
shot on a fast-moving grouse.
There were not two happier hunters in
Pennsylvania that day.
Years later, I fondly remember the heft
of that bird in hand. I was never much for
mounting harvested game, but that bird is
in full display within a glass coffee table
in my office.

WALKING THEM UP
Although a dog is one of the finest tools
available for the upland-bird enthusiast, it
is not a necessity. With proper planning
on how cover is hunted and an "always
ready" mind-set, ruffs can be successfully
harvested throughout the season.
Late season with a few inches of snow
on the ground is the dog-less hunter's best
friend, and tracks tell the tale of where
birds are holing up.
The snow also quiets a hunter's
approach, and birds often will hold tighter
in cover.
Look for downed treetops, hemlock
stands, and especially wild-grape tangles,
as they can be an important late-season
food source for grouse.
Do your homework, get prepared and
then enjoy hunting Pennsylvania's state
bird.
Thomas J. Keller is a Pennsylvania
Game Commission game birds biologist.
2 1



Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - Intro
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 47
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 48
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 49
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 51
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 52
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 65
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2017 - Cover4
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