• Guns and shells - You will be walking long distances and hunting in tight quarters; depending on your personal preference, any good birding gun will do, but bigger is not necessarily better. A lightweight 16- or 20-gauge over/under or side-by-side double-barrel with 26- to 28-inch barrels is recommended. All you need is one shot, so a semi-automatic isn’t necessary. Chokes range from skeet to modified, and you’ll want a tighter choke on your second barrel for the longer second shot, if presented. Preferred shot size is No. 71/2, but a No. 6 will often be in the second barrel.
• Dogs — Suggested dogs are pointers like English setters or flush dogs like Labs. Many hunters consider English pointers or English setters the best dogs to work behind. German shorthairs also make good choices. You’ll want an active dog that cuts into the woods on both sides of the trail and will do best by working two or three dogs at the time.
You can start with bells and whistles to keep up with bird dogs, and you may later want to advance to Garman GPS collars that indicate when the dogs stop on point and Trytronix training collars to keep them close in.
• Equipment - Wear quality boots and good walking socks, not thick, heavy socks that will bunch up. You might want to wear a backpack to carry food and water in; it will also come in handy to put stow some of your clothes as the day gets warmer. Hunting britches or chaps are strongly recommended.
• Recommended books - Grouse Hunter’s Guide by Dennis Walrod, Grouse and Grouse Hunting by Frank Woolner