I love being in the woods in the spring, it makes me realize that there is a Ruffed Grouse Drumming out there that is seeking his next date and my next generation to hunt. Spring brings us new flowers, longer days and and a certain retrospect that fuels our passion for preparing for the next season. This is the time when all things reproduce and assure our existence.
Part of the reason I love Spring Turkey Season in New York State. Not only do I get to call a gobbler…but, I get the sights, smells and sounds of those transient patches that I frequent in the fall. As I plant myself on some hardwood hillside, I process a new set of sounds which signal spring. Loud gobbles from Toms from surrounding properties sound off as they compete for the hens attention. In the midst of all that a most exciting beat sends me into a lather. From slow to fast…..thump …thump…thump thump…thump thump thumppppppp…. from near… warrants some investigation. I knew exactly what it was and didn’t dare get too close, but i needed to mark the area.
There is definitely a female in the area as I can hear this Ruffed Grouse Drumming. Drummer Boy was only 75 yards away at the point of a bottle nose of tall alders and I can see him as clear as day standing tall on a moss covered green downed log at the very end of the point for all to see. Not to disturb my little buddy, I made not of the time of day and the approximate whereabouts this bird was drumming and moved on to continue my hunt. Making it a point to map out all spring activity and interactions I had with Grouse during Spring Turkey Season, made for a more intelligent approach during my fall hunts. I made note of every flush as well, trying to pattern the off season activities of birds at different times of the day and concentration.
As spring made its way into summer and summer approached fall, I began to increase my time in the woods exercising my dog. I found that most of the way points that I marked from that spring session while turkey hunting yielded positive results when determining where birds would be in the fall. 80% of areas i ear marked as active areas remained favorable in the early fall weeks of Small game. “Drummers Point” as I named it remained a great patch the following fall many times over and made me realize the importance of pre-season scouting as early as spring for the next season!
If the grouse didnt drum during the spring Ii doubt I would even bother with turkey hunting. First time i ever heard a drum was during turkey season and i thought i was having a stroke or somekind of heart problem because i didnt so much hear the drumming but felt it resonating, i have been obsessed ever since.