Grouse enjoy eating berries above all else, so hunters should keep a sharp eye out for them. Early in the season, grapes are a mainstay, but many types of berries remain edible all winter, even after a hard freeze.
Crabapples are extremely hardy, even surviving hard freezes and snow. They may shrivel or darken, but grouse will still eat them. The downside to hunting in and around crabapple trees and thickets are the trees’ long, sharp thorns. The thorns that fall to the ground can stick all the way through the foot of a hard-running dog. If your dog is limping, check for thorns immediately.
Smilax, which is the genus as well as the common name of several species of greenbrier vines, also have thorns. However, the shorter thorns are not as hazardous to a dog or to a hunter as are those of crabapple. Smilax berries also shrivel in winter, with some dangling on the vines like raisins and visible above the snow. The seeds and berries may remain on the ground where grouse can find them.