Do-it-yourself grouse catchers

The capercaillie is an excellent trophy for any lover of upland game. You can hunt it both in spring and autumn. However, the autumn period is longer. In addition, at the end of autumn, capercaillie, after fattening, weighs up to 6 kg for males and up to 3 kg for females.

Wood grouse are found in mixed forests, wetlands, and along rivers.

Their diet includes grain, berries, larch needles - when it starts to freeze. Therefore, you need to look for birds in places where they can feed. Habitat signs will be:

  • torn and broken branches;
  • piles of pine needles;
  • litter.

When is wood grouse hunting allowed?

Wood grouse hunting generally begins on the third Saturday in August. But each region has its own shifts in hunting periods, as well as its own characteristics:

  • Karelia - 3 Saturday in August - end of February, females - only until September 15;
  • Vologda. Ryazan region, Pomorie, Kamchatka, Krasnoyarsk Territory - 3 Saturday of August - 31 December;
  • Altai – August 30 – November 20.

Therefore, in each specific region it is necessary to clarify whether hunting for a given game is allowed, when it opens and in what way it can be hunted. For example, in Yamal you have to pay separately for shooting wood grouse.

Hunting for currents

In the spring it is very interesting to shoot black grouse using a leking gun. Since about a dozen birds gather in one place, there is a high probability that the hunt will be extremely productive. Although it must be remembered that shots can only be fired at males, it is prohibited to shoot females.

The first leks are collected already in early March, when fields and forest clearings are still covered with snow. The height of this action comes with the melting of snow and the appearance of thawed patches. Black grouse flock together long before dawn, and even in the dark you can hear their warlike hissing, muttering and flapping of wings. By morning, the males become more and more excited and at times it seems that they are the most important thing in this territory. Although, by and large, this is true.

Old roosters are the first to demonstrate their singing skills. Later they are joined by young males, including last year’s, who fly up to the mating site a little later than their older brothers.

Hunting for black grouse is only allowed from a hut. It is prohibited to shoot them during the current shooting from the entrance, approach or from a rifle. Toku hunting is very simple for both a professional and a novice hunter.

Due to the fact that the songs of black grouse can be heard over long distances, finding a lekking site will not be difficult. In the place where there is the greatest concentration of birds, you need to build a hut. It should be as inconspicuous as possible and as similar to the surrounding landscape as possible.

A good option would be to build it near a dense spruce tree, the branches of which reach down to the ground. You need to chop off the lower legs and stick them around the tree trunk, adding more spruce branches. This way you will create a reliable ambush, because inside, from the sides and from above it will be securely covered by hanging branches and stuck spruce branches.

In the case where there is no suitable tree near the lek, but the place is dry, you can make a shelter hole. On a hill, a hole is dug with a diameter of about a meter and a depth of about 50-70 cm. A ledge is left on one side of the hole for sitting. A hut is built over the pit from birch branches or other deciduous plants. To do this, branches are stuck into the ground, tied from above and camouflaged to match the surrounding area. This could be juniper, spruce paws or other coniferous and deciduous plants. The main task is that the hut should not stand out among the surrounding vegetation. Small holes should be left on different sides for shooting and observing black grouse.

Under no circumstances should you smoke, talk or make noise in the hut. It is also worth waiting until the end of mating and only then leaving the shelter . Since you will have to sit in ambush for quite a long time, it is better to take care of warm clothes and shoes. This is especially important on cold spring mornings.

Black grouse hut

You need to be there at least one and a half to two hours before dawn. Very soon, strong flapping of wings will announce the start of the show. It is still quite dark and you can only distinguish the undertails of roosters flickering here and there. From all sides you will hear cooing and gurgling, difficult to reproduce “songs” that either intensify or fade a little.

As soon as it begins to get light, you will see the heroes of the occasion - walking, and at times jumping, roosters with lyre-shaped tails, wings, and curved necks. Emitting a battle cry, they periodically rush at each other to prove to the females that they are worth being a father.

Hunting methods

There are many ways to hunt wood grouse:

  • from the approach;
  • with a dog (husky, pointing dog, spaniel);
  • on trees (larch, aspen);
  • on pebbles;
  • with semolina;
  • on the autumn current.

You should shoot with small shot. For hunting in the fall, shot number 3 is enough. The main thing is the sharpness of the battle and the accuracy of the hit. You should shoot in the side, under the wing, otherwise there is a high probability of getting wounded. The hunter must have a good reaction and shooting speed. If there is even the slightest doubt, you need to take a few offhand shooting lessons. Because the capercaillie gives the hunter only one chance.

Find out what shot to shoot capercaillie

A wounded bird can fly up to 300 meters. One of the capercaillie's features is the ability to abruptly, almost at a right angle, change course, escaping from pursuit. Therefore, a wounded animal that has flown away without a dog may simply not be found.

From the approach

Approach hunting involves the ability to silently approach within shooting distance. The capercaillie is a wild, cautious bird. She has good hearing and vision. Therefore, the hunter must wear camouflage clothing.


You should look in places where aspen or larch trees grow. To determine exactly where the bird is, you need to listen. They never feed silently: they flap their wings, click keys, etc.

You can use binoculars to look for birds. Often a capercaillie hiding in a tree can only be discovered by careful inspection through binoculars.

With a husky

Laika is a universal dog. It helps the hunter well when hunting wood grouse. Often, birds are in no hurry to fly away from dogs, but try to run away from them on foot. The task of the husky is to lift the bird “under the gun.”

The second feature of the behavior of wood grouse is to fly almost vertically upward and settle down on the tree under which it was feeding. Then, sitting on a tree, the capercaillie freezes and merges with the surroundings. In this case, the dog’s task is:

  • point out to the hunter the tree on which the game is hiding;
  • distract the bird's attention by barking at it so that the hunter can come within shooting range.

In such a situation, the kopalukha (grouse grouse) can specifically attract the attention of the husky by clucking and flapping its wings. The young animals sit silently on the surrounding trees. Hunting ethics (as well as law) prohibit hitting females in order to preserve the population. Therefore, the hunter must be extremely careful.

On the roads from a car

In autumn, wood grouse eat quite rough food, so to help digestion, they swallow small stones and pebbles. To do this, in places where there are no rivers or lakes, birds take to the roads. In the old days, this was one of the methods of capercaillie hunting. Hunters in carts slowly drove along the roads, shooting birds.

Currently, wood grouse, which are quite shy in the forest, allow vehicles to get close to them. Wood grouse are particularly curious. Even if the old males run away into the forest, the females will stand and look at the approaching miracle until the last. Thus, in the logging areas the capercaillie population was almost completely exterminated - they were crushed by logging trucks.

ATTENTION!!! Throughout the entire territory of the Russian Federation, it is prohibited to use motorized vehicles when hunting all types of animals (Model rules for hunting in the Russian Federation, clause 22.10).

On the larch

At the first frost, the needles on larches begin to “sour” - they become soft and nourishing. And wood grouse settle on islands of larch, eating it.

Signs that wood grouse have settled in a given area will be small branches torn off by the bird during feeding, mounds of pine needles, and droppings. Wood grouse begin to feed early, at dawn, and have a “siesta” in the middle of the day. Therefore, larches are hunted either from the approach or from ambush, arranging hides in advance in the feeding areas.

Video of hunting on larch

On the pebbles

To hunt on pebbles, choose places where small pebbles accumulate. It can be:

  • river shallows;
  • rocky screes;
  • pebble banks of rivers or lakes.

With decoy

During hunting, you can use a decoy. However, it must be used when you can hear a capercaillie dancing on the ground. Then, having heard his opponent, he can run to drive the stranger away and fight with him.

REMEMBER! Often the females are the first to come running at the sound of a decoy. You can't shoot them!

On the autumn current

In the first days on the lek, the capercaillie is calm and imposing. Later, when the hunt began, he becomes cautious, often falls silent, as it seems to the hunter, for no reason, and flies away. While the males sing, the females “stand on guard” and, seeing or hearing a hunter, raise the alarm. They shout "up-up-up"

A person hears the song of a wood grouse at a distance of 200-300 meters. You should approach carefully, no more than 50 meters at a time, taking pauses between approaches.

The song itself lasts about 15 seconds, divided into three segments. The first is cautious, the second and third are with constant acceleration. On the third knee, the rooster “goes deaf”—he doesn’t hear anything around him. It is during these few seconds that the hunter moves forward with large steps or jumps. However, the displaying male, without even hearing the hunter, can notice his acrobatic exercises. Therefore, you should approach under the cover of vegetation.

REMEMBER! Starting the second knee, the wood grouse physically cannot stop until it finishes the third. Don't try to come up during the second knee.

On the aspens

Hunting on aspens is not much different from hunting on larches. Young growth is clearly visible on aspen trees. Birds are noisy and often flap their wings. Birds fly to aspen trees when the leaves on them begin to fade. And they remain until the trees completely fly away.

Choosing a gun and cartridges for wood grouse

To get to the current, it is best to take a 12-gauge double-barreled shotgun with a sharp and precise firing.
With a double-barreled shotgun it is easier to aim and there is always the possibility of a second shot if you miss. It is wiser to load cartridges with smokeless powder, as it will provide better sharpness when fired. Special attention should be paid to fractions. The capercaillie has a very dense feather, so you need to shoot with large shot. It is best to use No. 1 or No. 0 shot when shooting at a distance of up to 50 meters.

You need to aim at the side of the capercaillie. If you hit the tail or the chest area, the bird can only be wounded and it will fly away, after which it will be almost impossible to find it.

And remember: under no circumstances shoot at females.

With this you will destroy a whole brood of wood grouse
. Be patient, if you fail, you can always come to another current event the next day.

How to catch a wood grouse without a gun

In addition to hunting with a gun, there are “old-fashioned” methods of hunting capercaillie without the help of a firearm. This is the guarding of traps, the use of loops and snares.

A loop

Wood grouse were caught using loops pulled up. Loops were often made on pebbles. They cleared a small circle, alerted the noose, and laid cranberries, rowan berries, etc. as bait. The noose was camouflaged with tufts of grass. The other end of the loop was tied to a sapling that was bending down to the ground. The guard was made in such a way that a capercaillie coming up to peck at the berries would disturb the guard.

ATTENTION! Harvesting game with snares is prohibited by law.


A popular trap for capercaillie is the slopets. The upper part consists of two logs or a heavy board. When a wood grouse touches the guardhouse, a significant load falls on it and immediately kills it. Slopets are placed on a wood grouse trail on the way to a watering hole or to a feeding site. It is possible to feed birds and lure them with berries.

Snare is another name for a self-tightening loop that is installed on animal trails. Prohibited by the law of the Russian Federation.

Live traps are used to catch birds alive. To do this, they use cages, wicker “baskets”, and stretch the net over the fattening site. The bird hits the guard and ends up in a trap cage or gets entangled in a net.

REMEMBER! The net must be large mesh so that the bird remains alive until the hunter arrives.

How to butcher a wood grouse while hunting

Freshly caught wood grouse during a hunt is butchered in this way:

  1. remove the skin and feathers. To do this, you can make an incision on the skin, you can, if strength allows, simply tear it;
  2. cut off the paws at the first joint;
  3. cut off the head;
  4. cut off the wings at the first joint;
  5. To wash off stuck feathers, you can pour water on them;
  6. put the carcass on the belly, take it by the neck, cut along the spine to the end of the ribs;
  7. the knife is wound down, under the ribs - towards the abdominal cavity;
  8. a similar procedure is performed on the other side of the spine;
  9. separation is performed: with one hand you should hold the sternum, with the other you should pull the neck until the carcass is separated;
  10. the intestines are discarded, the heart, liver (careful not to damage the gallbladder!) are left for cooking;
  11. Then you can continue cutting the carcass at the joints, separating the sirloin from the keel bones.
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