Grouse are like the last remaining dodo birds in Montana. They are relatively “tame” and are rather slow to fly away, which is good for the hunter and bad for the bird. Locals call them “fool chickens”! Nice, big game birds.
Using a Glock 17 (generation 1) in 9mm, I took two hens in the Helena National Forest this season. Aim high so you miss the breast. One Spruce grouse was up in a tree about 30 ft away. After 1 shot, four others flew up from the ground into the next tree, but then kept moving downhill as I approached. The hen was white with spots all over the size of dimes. The second, a Ruffed grouse, was on the ground digging around a fallen tree trunk. At 40 yards, it took the third shot to connect. Oddly, the hen just stayed put until she was supper.
These birds weighed about four pounds each and have large breasts and strong legs. The breast meat is kinda like the thigh meat on a grocery store chicken. The thigh meat is slightly darker. They really do not like to fly because they weigh too much for their wings to manage.
I recommend preparing grouse as in a cou au vin, ala Julia Child. http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/coq_au_vin/ This recipe is made for the darker cuts of chicken — that is EXACTLY what grouse is like.
Also, a pollo en mole treatment is good and that was what I did with my first two grouse. (Not the green or verde sauce! Use the brown sauce that contains cocoa.) Wal-Mart actually carries the stuff here in MT! I have likely seen 20 Hispanics in the last year up here, so I have to wonder who is keeping something as obscure as mole sauce on the shelves. It is very good and very, very easy. http://www.mexgrocer.com/2526.html is an expensive way to get it. $2 at Wally World, but here’s a picture.