Getting Stoned On Grouse!


April 29, 2015 Comments (7) Dogs, Ruffed Grouse, Woodcock



So many people tell me I’m going deaf….I just haven’t heard them!  I have spent countless hours shooting and listening to loud music not to have lost a substantial amount of hearing.   If your loss is anything as bad as mine is…you cant hear the dogs bell, birds flush, buddies in the field and your wife calling you on the phone during a hunt.  Well, the last was by design!   None the less, you are missing out in some shape or form as one day afield last fall made me realize how bad the loss has become.

The ditch where the Grouse flew

The Road where we Parked Photo Credit- Andy Arthur

It was October something, and I was hunting with Sam Glasbergen and Frank Puglisi (brother in Law)  up on “Pepper Hill” (Honey Hole…you will not find it on a map…Put the GOOGLE AWAY!) What a glorious morning this was, a perfect fall day.   A light mist glazed everything that stood still into a shimmer and the leaves were starting to make way to their winter resting places on the hills floor.   Sam had done some preliminary scouting and said this hill looked promising so off we made our way into the state forest past “Times Square” and past “The Country Club” to get up the hill to Pepper.  Every Hole has a name and those are the ones we dubbed as they will be mentioned in future blog posts.   Anyway!  We get up the hill and park our vehicle at the crest.  Above us was an older timber cut that was filling in nicely and below us was a slow grade southward with a mix of berries, alders, Poplar and wild rose tangles.   Parallel to us on the lower end was a second logging road which has a nice bog.   The covert had a perfect meld of what had the looks of Prime Grouse and Woodcock Action.   After looking the covert over from inside the truck we all get out to open the tailgate to let a dog out and……Grouse Flush from the ditch next to the Truck!  That was an omen to us that even from the road we were about to get into something.

All of us amped beyond belief at this first sign….we made our way to an entry pass and worked our way down the hill with thoughts of working from East to west across the patch in between the north and southern roads.  Spread out in formation with 20 yard or less in between us we were on our way to be set when the bell stopped and wham! a bird flushes… Bird! Bird!  Grouse Language for GROUSE! GROUSE! I spin my head around to try to see where I should be looking due to the fact that I did not hear the flush!   Calling Fatso back to the scene of the crime, a woodcock flies up 15 feet from my left and again…did not hear it but those guys heard it and watched it as it flew right by my face.    I caught up with it as it cleared in front of me and by that time they both made hard shot attempts at what would have been a clean shot for my deaf ass.   I don’t know, maybe it was a cold that may have blocked my hearing but, I couldn’t even locate the beeper collar as my dog was off not too far away.  I finally located the dog creeping down the hill as he froze and creeped and froze and creeped again, and off goes a beautiful Red Phase Grouse that we saw fly down across the lower logging road and into the bog.   I saw this bird luckily, but what if that bird wasn’t in the open?

We put up 9 birds in that patch that morning in a span of 40 mins or so.    I heard 2 of them and had to change the setting on the collar to a lower tone.   I made this somewhat humorous at points, but the obvious says that this condition is detrimental to regular living.  I’m going on limb to say that a loss of hearing is murder on bagging birds! I had my ears checked shortly there after and suffer from 68% loss in my right ear, 48% loss in my left.   If you can not hear the message I’m sending with this post….GET YOUR EARS CHECKED!!!!!!!

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  1. Uplandish says:

    What!?! Great story. Im in the same boat, my hearing is shot (pun) what is worse or maybe best is i have to wear ear plugs or the muzzle blast will give me a migrain lasting a few days along with permanent damage that comes with no ear protection… i finally switched to a 28 gauge with 30″ bbls which is so much easier on the ears than larger gauges with shorter barrels. The 30″ tubes also make for a nice handling gun.

  2. Uplandish says:

    Let me know what you find out about digital ear plugs, I think thats next on my must have list ( even though the idea makes me sad) I hate wearing ear plugs when grouse hunting because I can’t hear them flush, so I don’t wear earplugs… which is stupid because I won’t be able hear grouse flush if I wanted to after Im deaf.

    Maybe its time to trade the Beeper in for a new GPS collar? They certainly have changed my grouse hunting game and my dogs probably appreciate not having a siren strapped to their neck.

    Pretty soon I will be Robo Grouser. Hearing aids, contacts, GPS equipment.

    • First off…getting the GPS collar this August for sure….must have. Second, I priced the hearing aids at $7K and are not covered by insurance..yay.

      I like beeper collars and bells…something about Bells remind me of the old beagles on rabbits we had growing up. As for plugs…cant wear them as they make me feel like im in a tube. I even hate wearing them Clay shooting but have to. ROBO GROUSER HERE WE COME.

  3. This was indubitably the best day of the season. Pepper Hill didn’t continue to produce like that all Fall, but that first foray was pretty special. AND it solidified how much I enjoy hunting with you… With my young ears and great hearing, I get the first crack at almost every bird!

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