9 Comments

  1. Michael Schwabe

    I have to say my experience has been a mix of yours and what is recommended by Tom Carpenter. I always hunt with 1 or 2 partners and one or two dogs. I have found that Ruffs like to go about 75-125 yards depending on cover and usually pretty close to a straight line and maybe half the time a flare at the end as Tom stated. We usually walk in a line about 10 – 25 yards apart with the dog(s) running between us. If we don’t flush a bird by about 150 yards we will clover leaf off to the outside and walk back about 10-25 yards further out from our original walk. This gets us a re-flush about 80% – 90% of the time. It’s not unusual depending on the thicknest of the brush to push a bird 2 or 3 more times until we lose it or we finally get a shot.

    • Northwoods'R

      Very interesting Michael, sounds like you have some sort of approach to the situation and your estimated re-flush percentages speak to the effectiveness of it. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Seamus

    I’ve tried following direct line of flight with no luck. I have noticed that if I keep moving and I take the same path back maybe a little towards the direction it flew my dog can find them again or I spook him up walking.

  3. Aaron Regier

    I have found re-flushes to be an awesome way to increase the game bag weight over the years. I think it is definitely a situational thing though; not every flushed grouse is worth chasing after. I have spent a lot of time circling after blurred wings, with most re-flushes reported as a whisper in the distance or failing to materialize at all.

    My takeaway from these failures is simple: grouse move. In a re-flush situation, my success rate goes up with the speed at which I can re-contact, and how accurately I can place the grouse’s landing zone. I try to make a perimeter in my head and hunt the area, not the bird. When you get in front of a bird and everything comes together it is magic, and many of these birds hold tight. One problem with re-flushes I have is my dog; she gets wound up and pressures re-flushed birds. She works new birds better because she is hunting cover, not birds.

    Great post, fun to think about topics like this in the off season! Thanks guys!

    • Northwoods'R

      Great input Aaron! There are a lot of variables the come into play with re-flushing especially when you are talking about such an unpredictable bird to begin with!

  4. Matt

    I follow up as well and do much of what has been already been stated but won’t repeat it here. One thing I will add is that when attempting to get a re-flush look for the thickest and nastiest cover around where you think the bird flew towards. Often the bird will land behind it or run to it and flush from the opposite side of you current approach. Birds will also often run to the edge of cover and hold. Until you look the other way or turn thinking he didn’t come this way after all.

    • Northwoods'R

      Great point Matt. Your last sentence leads me to believe you’ve had similar experiences as I have chasing grouse. I can’t tell you how many times I feel like a bird flushes when I look down to step over a big log or duck under a tangle of branches at head level. Coincidence or not, I guess we’ll never know but so often it seems the birds flush when we, the hunter, are in our least “ready” position!

  5. The GrouseFather (Giuseppe)

    Hey Guys,
    Finally got to these threads and blogs!….I agree with Aarron that this is a perfect way to spend the off season. My experience with Re-flush situations has been always to attack the L. Since I was young I’ve noticed birds flying off and the ladder part of their flight/decent is always a dog leg left or right. I’m saying that coming from the hill country in the NE where we can see a bit longer distances with our terrain being hilly. Of Course this isn’t saying you guys don’t have hills! At any rate, I try to swing broad in either direction of the flight path. Totally agreeing with Matt in that when they land and prep for your return…they place themselves at the edges or conversions.

    There is always that Houdini Bird who I watch land in a small patch that makes a fool out of me, the dog and whoever i’m hunting with. Last year we flushed the same RED phase bird 3 times…He was a monster and flew short distances each time. The 3rd time he had no where to go as the patch ended and it was open past that point. 3 of us watched as we believed that bird would be along a stone wall. GONE. We have very few red phase birds where we hunt as the elevation is high and they tend to be grey for the most part. This was definitely the same bird and each time we re-flushed him…he was far right or left of his initial flight path right where we anticipated he would be.

    • Northwoods'R

      Thanks for checking in G! Definitely a classic move for the Ruffs to flare out one way or the other near the end of a flight. Our cover can be tougher to see through at times but I’ve definitely seen them do this often enough. The Re-flush technique is something I’ve continued to ponder over the winter months, I may have to test it out on some of the spring training sessions the pup and I have been getting out on.

      I think we’ve all got a story or two about a Houdini bird! If they didn’t appear to be so smart at times where would the fun be in that?!

      Thanks for the comment!

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