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Grouse Hunting Question, McKelvie National Forest

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    Question: Grouse Hunting Question, McKelvie National Forest

    Anyone have any advice to a lifelong pheasant hunter who is looking to start grouse hunting, possibly at McKelvie National Forest?

    Are there grouse there? Is there other public land closer to Omaha I should try? How hard is it for an Omaha idiot like myself to pack up and drive out there with my Springer and shoot some grouse?
    "I can't wait to hunt with you dad" -- My seven year old son, John

    #2
    Saw NO grouse when visiting McKelvie during opening duck season last year, but I gotta bet they are there!

    Southwest "trail road" from Merritt had plenty! In fact, Uglymike dropped one over the decoys just "up the crick" from the lake!

    GOOD LUCK!

    Harold F.

    Edit to add: WELCOME to the BOARD!
    Last edited by Harold; 08-20-2011, 10:55 AM.
    Report Fish/Game Violations:
    1-800-742-SNAP (7627)

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      #3
      Super easy if you dont mind walking.

      PM sent.
      "There's more fun hunting with the handicap of a bow than there is hunting with the sureness of a gun" -Fred Bear

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        #4
        Always had good luck there. Lots of walking. Bring a compass or gps because once you get in the hills everything looks the same. Many people have got lost out there. When you get tired of walking you can go fishing at Merrits.
        Last edited by gwhunter; 08-20-2011, 08:40 AM.
        Don't believe anything you read and only half of what you see.

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          #5
          Was there last year during Oct 8-10th. It was extremely hot, and extremely dry for that time of year. Saw more birds flying in groups while driving to the hills in the mornings than we did while walking. Lots of ground to cover and the birds are few and far between (at least that was my experience). I recommend whenever you bump up a bird, sprint to the top of the closest hill so maybe you can see where it lands and start walking in that direction... because you don't know when you might see the next bird. If using a dog, make sure to bring boots and pliers as there are tons of burs and cacti. Bring plenty of water as well.

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            #6
            Get a map from the office, take a GPS and basically hunt from windmill to windmill focusing on the hilltops.
            Cleaning Trash Fish FromThe Pit, One State Record At A Time

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              #7
              plenty of grouse out there. I would bring your rifle too. If you get bored you can always go shoot a few prarie dogs.

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                #8
                Remember P. dogs = rattlesnakes quite often!!!!

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                  #9
                  Go Hunt

                  You can do anything with a springer! To help avoid bur-troubles I spray my spaniels down with Show Sheen. It's made for horses, but safe for dogs. Makes them 'slippery' and keeps the burs from grabbing on. If any burs do stick to the dog's coat, they slide out easily. You can pick it up at about any Farm/Ranch-type store that sells horse supplies.

                  hershy
                  Aaron "hershy" Hershberger
                  Nebraska Game and Parks
                  Outdoor Education

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                    #10
                    Where do you buy the show sheen at?

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                      #11
                      Believe my last bottle came from Orscheln's or Tractor Supply Co.

                      hershy
                      Aaron "hershy" Hershberger
                      Nebraska Game and Parks
                      Outdoor Education

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                        #12
                        I have spent alot of years bouncing around in a truck and walking all over McKelvie. Never seen a Prairie Dog Town on this Property ? Never seen a Rattlesnake ? Have hunted over 35 years on this property with and without a Dog with little problems other than an errant Sand Burr once in a while....

                        The biggest problem and threat to walk-in bird hunting on this property is the use of ATV's. An ATV is a mode of transportation on an established trail to get to a hunting spot, not a means to fan out and drive around on line cross country with multiple ATV's until you spook a bird then get off and walk. I believe in the last 5 years that this is what has made the birds at McKelvie so spooky by the first week in October thru the rest of the season. I will see this practice repeatedly during the entire hunting season--especially deer season. We use to see hundreds of deer spreadout all over McKelvie, since the advent and use of ATV's, the deer are all relegated to the fringes of public and private property. Nothing like ruining a good thing.

                        I believe ATV use has it's place and can make a hunt more enjoyable--but it should be used as a tool, not the means to an end. Hopefully, one year the Forrest Service will get smart and do what they did at Halsey and post areas for Walk-in Hunting Only and limit ATV use to specific posted trails only.

                        If you go, Hunt with the Wind, be quite as you can be--no yelling at dog or kids, walk the ridges and tops of the roughest terrain you can find that is not being grazed after 10-11AM. You should get close enough for a shot and see plenty of birds to make the trip with while. Early season, definately bring a dog, it is amazing how easily you can loose a dropped bird in 6" of grass. Remember, get the guts out as quick as you can and get the birds on ice--bring a cooler with ice to store birds with feathers (field dressed) before you clean them. Soak'em in cold milk, 24 hours before you cook them, til they are done to a medium consistentcy (still a little pink), serve with cold cranberries and wild rice. And call me and I will come over and help you eat'em.

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                          #13
                          M_aayeahthat:

                          Great post Craiginc!!

                          dc

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by Craiginc View Post
                            I believe ATV use has it's place and can make a hunt more enjoyable--but it should be used as a tool, not the means to an end. Hopefully, one year the Forrest Service will get smart and do what they did at Halsey and post areas for Walk-in Hunting Only and limit ATV use to specific posted trails only.
                            They have! See the note at the bottom of this map, http://a123.g.akamai.net/7/123/11558...LT1_027440.pdf .

                            Daryl B.
                            Daryl Bauer
                            Fisheries Outreach Program Manager
                            Nebraska Game & Parks Commission
                            [email protected]
                            http://ourdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/category/barbs-and-backlashes/

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                              #15
                              Thanks to all for the help...

                              Due to the fact thats its getting harder and harder to find decent (or any) CRP for pheasant, I'm trying to branch out and do other types of hunting; if that means driving a couple of extra hours and Grouse hunting, so be it...

                              I have a 6 year old son, and my worst fear is not being able to bird hunt with him (wild birds on public land)...
                              "I can't wait to hunt with you dad" -- My seven year old son, John

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