sharptail grouse

Discussion in 'Upland Game Forum' started by Grand Passage, Mar 12, 2001.

  1. Grand Passage

    Grand Passage Elite Refuge Member

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    Waukesha, WI
    While duck hunting in North Dakota last fall I saw quite a few sharptails flying around the countryside. I'm totally unfamiliar with these birds and am looking for a little advise on hunting these birds. I'm used to hunting ruffed grouse here in Wisconsin but these sharptails seem totally different they seem to fly for a mile or two at a time. Any suggestions on what type of habitat they prefer or effective stategies? :confused:
     
  2. OldHunter

    OldHunter Senior Refuge Member

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    Neb
    We have quite a few sharptails here in the sandhill region of Nebraska, plus prairie chickens which are closely related and share some of the same habitat. I don't hunt them anymore because it usually requires a lot of walking. Early and late in the day they often fly down to hay meadows in the valleys, later they move out to the hills and you'll find them late morning and midday near the tops. They also eat wild rose hips and look for them near patches of wild rose. The prairie chickens seem to hang around cornfield pivot circles along the eastern and southern edge of the hills, and you'll often see flocks of them sitting on the pivots. I haven't hunted ND, I see a few in SD, but usually don't shoot at them because they look so much like hen pheasants and until they fly a little ways I have trouble telling them apart. They aren't too hard to kill if you hit them, and you normally don't lose cripples.
     
  3. blackdog

    blackdog Senior Refuge Member

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    Sturgis, SD, USA
    SD offers some real fine hunting for sharptail grouse and prairie chicken numbers have been increasing. Open grasslands are prime habitat, especially in areas that also have some good brushhy draws, plum thickets, etc. Early season finds the birds scatterred in family groups, berries & insects are feed. Prime locations often are near water (spring fed creeks are good) as early season temps can be hot. Later birds will bunch up and move into croplands. Pass shooting is possible then as hundreds of birds fly in to feed. The river breaks in western SD hold large populations of birds, which are currently at a peak in the population cycle.
    Here's a couple pics :
    Cheyenne River Breaks [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [ 03-13-2001: Message edited by: blackdog ]
     
  4. Fetch

    Fetch Elite Refuge Member

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    North Dakota
    Good advice - I love sharptail hunting - love the country they live in. Love to walk & love workin the dog. Plus I can actually hit them. I'll add on hot sunny day they seek shade. Had one weekend where all we did is look for these big bushes that were all by themselves & there they were. around rock piles with cover too. Have also got them in Alphalfa - They seem to be in areas with a good mix of grass & stubble - If there is standing corn or sunflowers they hang pretty close to that too (especially after being shot at) The Hungarian Partridge have made a pretty good comeback too in the areas I hunt sharpies in
     
  5. KC

    KC Senior Refuge Member Sponsor

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    Northwest WI
    DuckinIdiot,

    Believe it or not, we still shoot some sharpies in Wisconsin. They are concentrated in the northwest corner of the state and I usually spend a couple weeks chasing them around the cut-overs and pine barrens--great fun! You have to apply for a special permit to hunt 'em here, but its worth it. That said, I've chased the little buggers in SoDak, NoDak, Wyoming and Manitoba. Just can't get enough of them. Oh yeah, don't expect them to taste anything like a ruff. They are all dark meat and not as mild as ruffs or even pheasants.
     
  6. KEN

    KEN Moderator Moderator

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    Minnesota
    I hunt sharps here in ND all the time.They are great hunting with a pointer of some kind.We have miles and miles of CRP and they can be scattered anywhere.The absolute best time to hunt them is on a warm sunny day.They will always look for shade.Bullberry clumps are great as are tree belts.As the season gets into Oct. and Nov. they can be tough to hunt as they will not hold as well.After you have hunted them a few times,it is easy to tell them from hen pheasants.Sharps are grey in color and I have never seen one flush that did not cackle.They do tend to fly for a long ways after flushing compared to pheasants and huns.
     
  7. Canaduck

    Canaduck Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
    They are the staple upland bird in the areas we hunt in Saskatchewan! We find them in wind-rows that run along agricultural fields. We found a small little spot last year that we've hunted ever since that holds unreal amounts of birds! It's awesome! One way of finding where birds are is simply keeping your eyes on hay bales on cold mornings. They hop up on top to sun themselves and will often lead you to lots of birds! Have fun with them and as they say "bring your walking shoes"!!!
     
  8. Greybeard

    Greybeard Elite Refuge Member

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    Location:
    Springfield,Illinois
    Duckin'Idiot:
    I'de pick KC's brain if I were you.
    El Grouso Supremo!...and he's a purist.
    Side by Side Shotguns, leather sling straps for the birds, fine retriever to hunt over...the WHOLE bag of marbles!
    Also, ANY book by Ben O. Williams..the Master Guru of Western Birds!
     

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