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10 Great Tips and Tricks for Small Game Season

Posted by John McAdams - Jan 14, 2015

Tip # 1: Keep yourself in good physical condition .
Upland game hunting may require a lot of walking and covering ground , sometimes even on snowshoes. Staying in good physical condition will help you to succesfully cover more ground off the beaten path.

Tip # 2 Match your shotgun and shotguns gauge to the terrain and game you’re after.
Short barreled guns for dense or thick cover will make it easier to carry and shoulder fast when needed. Longer barreled guns can be used in semi , flat and open terrain.

Tip # 3 A good upland game vest.
One of the most important items for an upland game hunter is the vest. It should always be a size bigger than the jacket size you normally wear in order to fit over your jacket comfortably.  It should be blaze orange for safety and it should have plenty of zippered pockets in the front to hold ammo, snacks and drinks to keep you going. Also, it should have a blood proof bag at the rear to hold game . All this will keep your hands free to carry your gun and every thing you need at your finger tips.

Tip # 4 Grouse tracks
Don't pass on fresh grouse tracks made in the snow , especially those made in the early to mid morning hours. Follow them and move slow, make sure to look ahead as you go. If your hunting with a partner, have them flank where you track and watch ahead . One of you just might get a shot at a bird.

Tip # 5: Stop and go
Walk slow when hunting rabbits and grouse . Stop and pause from time to time . When you pause it causes the game to get nervous and they may just bolt or flush from cover.

Tip # 6: Look for the eye
Spot a sitting rabbit easier by looking for their eyes. Moving slowly and looking under brush and deadfalls for a sitting rabbit can be tough but if you look for a black round dot it can show you the whole form of the rabbit sitting . This has never been so true when hunting white snowshoe hares in the winter season.

Tip # 7: Find a downed bird
Shot a grouse on the wing and can't find it? After you take your shot and see the grouse go down , go to where you last  saw it . If you don't see the bird, drop your hat on the ground or hang it on a branch as a reference point and start to make wide circles around the hat going father out each time . Look for feathers on the ground or in trees because this might help you find the downed bird.

Tip # 8: Brush piles and deadfalls
Rabbits like to use brush piles and deadfalls for cover . If your hunting with one or two partners, one of you needs to unload your gun for safety and climb up the pile or deadfalls while the other hunters wait to see if a rabbit bolts out. Sometimes it may take several minutes to get a rabbit to run out, especially with cottontails.

Tip # 9: Hunt the edges
Grouse like to feed along edges of thick covers and trails . Edges can be really good to hunt when you’re on your own. When the weather warms up and the sun is shining,  grouse can often be found sunning themselves on the sunny side of edges and trails .

Tip # 10: Practice, practice, practice!
Sometimes a little mid season practice at the trap and skeet range with your shotgun can really help hone your shooting skills. Before the clay bird comes out of the house , don't carry your shotgun mounted on your shoulder while walking through the bush. Instead wait until you see the clay target than mount your shotgun on your shoulder and fire. This will help you shoulder your shotgun faster and instinctively when a bird rises or a rabbit bolts out of cover.
 

Comments (1)

Jason / Jan 15, 2015 11:43 AM

Great article!

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