Habits of the black grouse and hunting it from the approach

Every hunter dreams of adding grouse to his trophies - a wild bird with incredibly beautiful plumage and tasty meat. In addition, commercial hunting of this game is associated with a certain excitement and requires the hunter not only to be accurate marksman, but also to have the skills to move silently through the forest. Despite the fact that you can hunt black grouse at any time of the year, many people prefer to go hunting in winter, when it is easier to find a large bird among the trees.

In this article we will pay attention to the main nuances of winter hunting for this game: preparing the necessary equipment and weapons, the habits of black grouse in the cold season and the tactics of hunting the game itself.

  • Selection of weapons and equipment
  • We select cartridges
  • Hunting tactics
      Hole detection
  • How to approach the hole
  • Shooting correctly
  • Which is better to hunt: rooster or grouse?
  • Secrets of successful hunting
  • Grouse hunting in winter

    Usually in winter, black grouse hunting is practiced on holes, because these birds prefer to wait out the cold under the snow. Despite the fact that this method is considered one of the simplest, it still requires certain skills.

    Firstly, the hunter must be able to locate holes - holes in the snow in which birds live. Secondly, you need to learn to determine which hole is inhabited and which game has left long ago. Thirdly, the hunter must be able to move silently and unnoticed, so as not to prematurely scare away the prey. And, naturally, it is advisable to study the habits of the bird in advance and practice marksmanship, since the success of the entire fishery will depend on this. It is these nuances that we will consider in more detail in the following sections.

    Methods of winter hunting for grouse

    Hole hunting

    We have already said that after feeding, black grouse very often burrow into the snow; there is a video about this on the Internet. But for this it is necessary that the snow be loose and the frost be about 18-20 degrees. At higher temperatures, the bird does not burrow into the snow, but is located on the surface in small depressions. And at lower levels, the black grouse cannot break through the formed crust. We believe that all conditions are met, how to hunt?

    Shortly before sunset, it is necessary to detect the flock from a distance of at least 500-600 m; if you get closer, the alarmed birds can fly very far. Using the observation method, determine the place where the flock will begin to burrow into the snow - this can happen either under the tree where the black grouse are found, or at a distance of 100-200 m from it. After 30-40 minutes, if lighting allows, you can begin hunting. If it has become dark by this moment, then you can hunt even after dawn - the bird will remain in its shelter until the sun’s rays begin to glide over the place of shelter. We invite you to watch a video of such a hunt.

    On flat snow, holes are found at a distance of 15-20 m, and the winter grouse allows you to approach them even closer, provided that the hunter does not make sharp and noisy sounds. After approaching the distance of a guaranteed shot, you can make a little noise - the frightened bird breaks out of the hole and falls under the shot. Within 5-6 seconds the entire flock rises on the wing and there is a chance to make another aimed shot. Video clips demonstrating this type of grouse hunting can be viewed on numerous online services.

    Character and behavior of black grouse in winter

    Since the grouse is a very cautious bird, the most effective method of obtaining game is hole hunting. This method is based on the behavior of these wild individuals during the cold season.

    Note: In general, black grouse tend to live in forest edges, bushland or open woodland near fields. In summer, these birds can be found alone, but in winter they prefer to gather in small flocks, which is to the advantage of the hunter, since an experienced hunter, subject to certain rules, will be able to find such a flock and shoot a lot of game.

    For the winter, birds do not fly to warmer climes, but remain to spend the winter in their familiar environment. Since with the onset of frost, young tree shoots, birch catkins, cones, needles or tree buds are mainly used for feeding, you need to look for a flock in such places.

    Figure 1. In winter, black grouse feed mainly on tree buds

    It should be borne in mind that black grouse react very poorly to cold and strong winds, so they prefer to spend most of the day in shelter under the snow, going outside only to feed. However, in severe frost, the bird can constantly remain under a snow cover (Figure 1).

    Knowing the behavioral characteristics of black grouse, you can make winter hunting for them truly effective:

    1. After sunrise, when the air begins to warm up, the birds fly out of their shelter and fly to the nearest trees to search for food.
    2. If there is not enough food near the roosting site, the flock can travel quite a long distance in search of it.
    3. When the bird is satisfied, it falls straight from the tree into the snow and buries itself in it. The black grouse disguises the resulting hole by sweeping the snow with its tail.

    The birds remain in such shelter all night, but, if necessary, they can move under the snow cover, breaking through passages with their wings. However, it is still possible to find a black grouse in such a shelter, because it never burrows deeply. Even the largest hole will be at such a depth that, by sticking its head out, the black grouse can examine the surroundings.

    Hunting for grouse from holes

    Of course, hunting for lek is the most interesting and exciting of all the ways of hunting this bird, but autumn and winter species are no less fascinating.

    In winter, it is quite difficult to get grouse; they spend almost the entire short winter day on trees - birches, here they feed, rest, and when there is sun, they also bask. As practice shows, it is impossible to get close to them, even by skillfully hiding and using a camouflage robe. They very carefully monitor everything that happens in the area from the trees.


    Any suspicious object causes them to immediately fall off the branches and move a considerable distance. Chasing them won't work either. There are several ways to get the desired trophy in winter: with stuffed animals, on the holes and from the entrance. Currently, all of the above methods are used, but still the majority hunt on holes.

    Search for bird roosts

    In winter, with its long and cold nights, the black grouse has adapted to endure unfavorable conditions by hiding in the snow. As soon as the snow cover reaches the required height, the birds in the evening, after feeding on the trees, fall into the snow and spend the whole night there. Hunters take advantage of this; they go around the land and, having found birds, shoot them.

    But of course, everything is not so simple in this hunt. It is necessary to know well the areas where birds prefer to spend the night, to detect fresh holes in advance and to approach them correctly.

    In cold weather, black grouse stay in the same areas as in the fall. They prefer fields with numerous birch trees, ravines, forest edges and the edges of swamps. In the first half of winter, upland game is especially abundant near fields where grain crops were harvested in the fall. For overnight stays, they choose places with deep snow cover and lack of wind.


    An important condition for a successful overnight stay is the nature of the snow cover; it must be loose and deep enough. Snowless winters with severe frosts or strong crust formed after a thaw are destructive for black grouse. When looking for bird holes, the hunter must take into account the direction of the wind; they go under the snow, trying to hide from it with folds of the relief, thickets of bushes or trees. It is extremely rare for birds to spend the night in open fields.

    The size of the area on which the holes are located is always not constant and depends on the following factors: the number of birds in the flock, the size of the favorable area for overnight roosting. In some places they spend the night almost side by side, in others, on the contrary, the distance between the holes reaches several tens of meters.

    Features of hunting

    It is necessary to go out to the grounds while it is still dark; it is best to be there at dawn. This is necessary for successful hunting; most flocks of black grouse fly out from under the snow before lunch. Only in very severe frosts can they linger longer or even not fly out at all. That is why it is necessary to find roosting birds in a short time.

    Sometimes, if the birds are not disturbed enough, they spend the night in the same places several times, so such areas must be included in your route. When going around the land in search of orcas, binoculars can be of significant help; they will allow you to check the freshness of the holes from a distance, thereby giving you the opportunity to prepare in advance, which will certainly affect your shooting performance.


    You must approach the discovered holes carefully and attentively, be ready to shoot at any moment

    Black grouse can hear sounds well under the snow, so they can fly quite far from the hunter. How close you get to them depends on the condition of the snow cover - soft, loose or crusty, and weather conditions - in cold weather the creaking of snow can be heard far away. The experience of the hunter is also important. Also in the second half of winter, when the snow becomes very deep, under the weight of the hunter they begin to subside in waves running in different directions with a characteristic sound, which will certainly raise the birds.


    When approaching the holes, you should take into account that the black grouse can fly up almost from under your feet. In this case, a close shot will probably not be accurate; you need to let the bird go a few meters ahead and only then shoot.

    After the first shot, most of the flock flies out from under the snow, while some remain. Therefore, there is no need to rush, you need to walk and explore by shuttle, capturing a slightly larger area where the birds spent the night.


    Ammo and equipment

    This upland game is shot in winter with cartridges loaded with shot No. 3 and No. 2. It should also be noted that the black grouse at this time is strong for wounds and, having made a shot, you need to monitor how much visibility behind it allows. It often happens that he, having flown a decent distance, falls into the snow.

    Regarding equipment, I would like to note the following points: when leaving home, it is better to dress lightly, because... It’s easy to get sweaty when skiing to the grounds, and in winter it’s dangerous. It’s better to put a warm sweater in your backpack and get dressed on the spot. Of course, you must have a thermos with hot tea, matches, a telephone or a walkie-talkie with you.

    Features of winter hunting

    Winter grouse hunting is divided into passive and active. The first is carried out with stuffed animals, which are used to lure birds. The second subspecies is more interesting, as it involves independently searching for holes and luring grouse out of them (Figure 2).

    Figure 2. Winter fishing is one of the most productive

    Regardless of the chosen method, due to the severe frost, hunting requires careful preparation from the hunter. Since black grouse often live on the edges of swamps or in thickets of bushes, you need to properly prepare clothing that will not restrict movement and at the same time allow you to move relatively quickly and silently through the snow. In addition, it is advisable to have binoculars with you, since in relatively moderate winter temperatures birds can sit not only in holes, but also in trees.

    Winter hunting time

    In each specific region, the best time for winter hunting varies. Black grouse hunting begins in winter with an approach in December, however, it will be more effective in the second half of January and February. And at what time to go for the trophy, your observations of the habits of the bird and the method of hunting will tell you. Where winters are too harsh, the active phase of the bird's life is much shorter. Sometimes the black grouse may not crawl out of the hole for more than a day. Basically, they come out to feed twice – in the morning and in the evening. They wake up early, but stay in shelters for up to ten hours. Then feeding and after lunch back into the snow. Before sunset there is a second feeding, after which they spend the night in a snow shelter until the next morning.

    If there is little snow and the climate is moderate, then the black grouse can spend the night on the ground . Therefore, the best guide for a hunter to choose his finest hour is his observation.

    Anyone who has managed to get a black grouse at least once will never refuse the opportunity to once again experience those indescribable feelings that he felt. And experience and practice will definitely come.

    Selection of weapons and equipment

    According to experienced hunters, the best weapon for hunting black grouse is a smooth-bore weapon, in particular a regular double-barreled shotgun. Of course, in terms of its technical characteristics it is inferior to modern pneumatic weapons, but it is ideally suited for hunting in severe frost, when pneumatic weapons may misfire or have other malfunctions.

    In addition to uninterrupted operation in severe frost, the double-barreled shotgun also allows you to fire two shots at once without additional reloading, which is extremely important when hunting shy grouse. When choosing a weapon, you should pay attention not so much to the range, accuracy or good sharpness of the shot, but to the uniform distribution of the shot. For this parameter, it is better to choose a gun with a barrel of the cylinder type with pressure or pay (Figure 4).

    Figure 4. You can catch game using pneumatics or a regular double-barreled shotgun

    The choice of ammunition also plays an equally important role. Many novice hunters are interested in which shot number is preferable for a given type of fishing. It should be taken into account that the black grouse is a bird that is quite strong against wounds, but in winter its resistance is significantly reduced. In addition, it should be taken into account that in winter this game is caught mainly on holes, which means they are shot from a short distance and most often at point-blank range. Based on this, it is better to choose shot number 3 or 4, but shot number 5 or 6 will also cope with the task quite effectively. Such ammunition will provide the necessary accuracy and strength of the striking impulse. Even if you are not confident in your accuracy, when shooting with such shot, you will be sure that the wounded animal will not be able to hide.

    In addition to the gun and ammunition, you need to prepare other equipment necessary for the hunter:

    1. Wide skis for fast and silent movement on the snow. Their length should be about one and a half meters.
    2. Binoculars will help you spot game in the trees while feeding or pinpoint the location of bird holes.
    3. It is also advisable to put a flashlight in your hunting backpack: winter days are very short, and you can get carried away with hunting and linger in the forest until dark.
    4. Clothes should be moderately warm, since hunting black grouse requires constant walking through the forest. In addition, clothing should not rustle or stand out visually, so that the birds do not notice the hunter prematurely.

    Dogs are usually not used to hunt grouse, since even the most trained assistant may not deliberately make unnecessary noise that will scare away the game.

    We select cartridges

    For a truly successful hunt, you need to choose the right cartridges. Typically, the first shots are fired using dispersant cartridges with a shot number of 3 or 4. Such ammunition has good sharpness and produces an even spray of shot. Experienced fishermen advise choosing cartridges with two-component gunpowder (for example, Tecna Nobel Sport, m92s, Sunar-M or Irbis-M), as they have proven themselves in shooting in severe frost. But it is not recommended to use ammunition with foreign-made gunpowder, since they are not suitable for cold weather.

    Some hunters prefer to go hunting with a small rifle equipped with small-caliber 5.6 mm rimfire cartridges. Such weapons and ammunition will also be enough to shoot game at close range.

    Hunting tactics

    There are quite a lot of methods for catching game, but in the case of black grouse hunting in winter, the method most often practiced is from the approach, or on the holes. In fact, this is the same method, and the hunter’s task comes down to three main goals: to detect bird holes, quietly approach the distance required for a shot, and shoot at the frightened birds taking off.

    Each stage requires certain preparation and knowledge, so we will look at each stage of the hunt in more detail.

    Hole detection

    It is advisable to find the holes in which the black grouse are hiding in advance. The fact is that in winter the day length is very short, and you simply may not have time to get game before dark. Shooting grouse at night is extremely difficult, and you will simply waste ammo without getting any game.

    Figure 5. Hole detection is a key part of the hunt.

    There are several ways to choose the time and place for hunting. Firstly, you can conduct reconnaissance on the eve of the outing and accurately determine the habitat and roosting of the birds.

    Secondly, if you go fishing in a familiar forest, you can simply check the locations where these birds prefer to live. Naturally, in the latter case, you will need knowledge of the habits and habits of grouse in winter (Figure 5). If you go fishing during the day, it is better to look in advance for the birds’ feeding or roosting area and return to it at a more appropriate time, for example, at dawn.

    The following tips will help you quickly find grouse holes:

    1. It is better to move in search of shelter along the edge, but at some distance from the trees, since birds prefer to make holes in such an area.
    2. It is advisable to stop and inspect the snow cover with binoculars every 100 meters. This way you will definitely not lose sight of possible holes.
    3. If you go hunting with a partner, you need to move in search of holes at a distance of 10-15 meters from each other, staying close together.
    4. As a rule, the holes stand out from the surrounding snow. From a distance they look like small mounds and differ slightly in color.

    These rules should be followed when searching for shelters in open spaces. If you move through a birch forest or open forest, your visibility will be limited, so you should only view the area with binoculars if you are sure of the presence of game in the area. You also need to move extremely carefully so as not to accidentally scare away the game.

    How to approach the hole

    When hunting on holes, you need to be ready to shoot at any time. At the same time, you need to approach bird shelters with extreme caution so as not to scare away the game ahead of time. Steps should be quiet, slow and as even as possible (Figure 6).

    Note: There is no point in getting too close to the hole. It will be enough to get close to a distance of three meters: it will be enough for an accurate shot.

    When you have found a hole, you need to decide whether there is a bird in it. To do this, use the following method: carefully inspect the snow around the hole. If there is another one next to it, and the prints of its wings are clearly visible in the snow, it means that the black grouse has already left its hiding place. If these signs are not present, it is enough to loudly tap the ski on the snow several times to scare the bird away.

    Figure 6. You need to approach the holes slowly and quietly so as not to scare the game ahead of time.

    It is not recommended to concentrate your attention solely on the hole itself. When falling under the snow, the black grouse can dig holes in it, moving away from the main hole to a distance of up to two meters. Therefore, you need to be prepared for the fact that the bird can fly out from anywhere. But be sure that you will not miss the grouse flying out of the shelter, as this is a very spectacular process: the bird flies out of the shelter, raising a large snow cloud. When you see him, you need to immediately take a shot

    Shooting correctly

    Even if you are mentally prepared to shoot and expect a bird to appear at any moment, you will still have to shoot suddenly. Since the distance for a shot when hunting on holes is minimal, you need to know how to shoot correctly (Figure 7).

    For the fishery to be successful, you should:

    1. Gun fire, as a rule, is fired after the flying game, so you need to aim below the body of the bird, but in the direction of its movement.
    2. Aim so that there is a small gap between the muzzle of the gun and the grouse. Since shooting is carried out from a short distance, the size of the clearance is chosen by no more than one body of the bird.
    3. When aiming at one bird, try not to get distracted. Grouse may start flying out of other holes, but you have to set yourself up to hit a specific bird flying out of a specific hole.
    4. If, when approaching the selected hole, game takes off from a neighboring hole, do not be distracted by it: try to scare away only certain prey. If you turn around and start aiming at another individual, you can lose both grouse at once.

    When you manage to shoot one bird, try to immediately switch your attention to another nearby individual. Despite the fact that the black grouse is quite strong to the wound, the wounded animal will not go far, and you can get it at any time.

    Figure 7. When hunting grouse, you need to be ready to shoot at any time

    The best option is not to raise the entire flock, but only one or several individuals. In this case, you can pick up killed game, wait until the flock calms down and try again. If the entire flock has left the shelter, you will have to go in search of a new location for the holes.


    1. thisisforaprilone 05.12.2020 at 20:49 Since the black grouse is a very cautious bird, the most effective method of catching game is hole hunting.
      This method is based on the behavior of these wild individuals during the cold season. Answer

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    Which is better to hunt: rooster or grouse?

    Experienced hunters who respect the laws of nature will never shoot a female, since the number of livestock in the next season will depend on the number of females in the flock. At the same time, many fishermen admit that in the past they sinned by shooting grouse due to youth and inexperience. But any self-respecting fisherman will say that shooting female grouse is an unworthy activity.

    Since the main prey is the killer whale, you need to be prepared not only for a sudden start of shooting, but also to determine the sex of the individual in time. Fortunately, females are very different from males in appearance. The Kosach has dark plumage with a slight blue tint. It has a beautiful forked tail with white tail and wing feathers. The grouse is much smaller in size and colored inconspicuously brownish-pockmarked. In addition, the male has a bright red crest on his head, by which most hunters distinguish their prey (Figure 8).

    Figure 8. External difference between male and female individuals

    As a rule, females are located at the edges of the flock, and males are in the center. In a similar way, birds bury themselves in the snow to spend the night. However, during takeoff in a thick cloud of snow, it is often difficult to determine the sex of an individual. If you accidentally shot a black grouse instead of a black grouse, don’t be upset. With experience, you will learn to distinguish them by appearance in just a second.

    Secrets of successful hunting

    If you do not have enough experience in hunting grouse and other game, you will need the advice of experienced hunters.

    For poultry harvesting to be successful, the following conditions must be met:

    1. Inexperienced shooters are better off going fishing in the evening rather than in the morning. In the evening, the birds fly out of the holes one at a time and much slower than in the morning, so you will have more time to aim accurately.
    2. If possible, choose holes located next to a young birch tree. Frightened birds will fly away to the trees and, most likely, their wings will become entangled in the branches. This will give you extra time to make an accurate shot.
    3. Having noticed that black grouse are hiding in holes already at dusk, it is better to postpone the hunt and return to the same place in the morning, since in the dark it will be difficult to make an accurate shot.

    Regardless of the time chosen for fishing, you should dress warmly and choose clothes that do not restrict movement. It is also strongly recommended to choose clothing in camouflage colors so that feeding birds do not notice your approach.

    If you have never taken part in such a hunt, we recommend watching a video that shows this process in detail.

    How do you hunt black grouse in winter?

    You can find black grouse in winter either while feeding or by looking at the holes in which it shelters from the cold. Endurance, patience and excellent physical fitness of a hunter are necessary qualities. Most often, hunting grouse in winter from the approach is successful only after preliminary preparation. Only a person who is well acquainted with the bird’s habitat can go for a trophy without scouting trips. A certain percentage of hunters simply rely on luck - a chance encounter with a black grouse is not that uncommon, the main thing is that it does not take you by surprise.

    The hunter's task is to quietly approach the bird within shooting distance and accurately hit the target . Special equipment, good eyesight, hearing, extreme composure, attentiveness, coupled with shooting skills will be the key to success.

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