So I've been reading the reports on grouse hunting and it has really peaked my interest. I have a fishing trip planned next week, I will be up at Virginia Lks. I know they are there because I have seen them while driving on the road. My questions are: where in that general area can I hunt grouse; I haven't hunted grouse before so are they blue grouse or sage grouse, from what I've read you need a permit for sage grouse and that season has ended already anyway, so are the two birds easy to identify in the field? My biggest concern is not being able to properly identify one from the other, especially if thier ranges overlap. Finally any techniques, I wont have my dog, and will most likely be hunting solo. I am used to hunting chukar and quail in the Mojave so are there any similarities. Thanks for all of the help....Oh yeah, anyone have any good recipes, just in case.
Last edited by mojavejohn; 09-11-2012 at 05:36 AM.
You are correct about Sage Grouse. You need a permit. I have heard about Blue Grouse that are in the high country around where your going. That season is open. I believe the limit is 2/ day. I'm anxious to see other replies on your thread as I'm curious about the Blue Grouse too. Good luck!
Blue grouse are mostly in pine/aspen forests, Sage grouses habitats are in the foothills or sage plains. Blue grouse are the size of a big chukar, Sage grouse are (I think, I've only seen them at 100 yards) bigger than a Pheasant, smaller than a turkey (in other words, HUGE!). Good luck with em, blue grouse to me are one of the tastiest birds out there.
I have seen Blue Grouse a few times up in the South Eastern area around lake Tahoe. I've always seen them in forested areas relatively close to a water source or probably more importantly the thickets they'll use for cover that grow near water. And it has always been around 10 AM when I have seen them. I've heard they are late risers so this is consistent with the time I have seen them. First time I saw them I flushed up two birds downhill and watched where they probably sat down. I went to those spots and was able to flush the birds up twice more each before I didn't feel like following them anymore... course I didn't have my shotgun at the time.
The birds themselves appeared very dark (and noisy) when flying from cover, almost black looking, and are about the size of a small chicken or a bit larger then a chukar. Sage grouse should be lighter in color, larger, and I imagine would be out in the sage areas not up in the pines or aspen. The forested areas north of the road up to Virgina Lakes looks like it may be a good area to try for you.
That's about all I know. Any additional info about the birds habits, calls, sounds, etc would be appreciated as I will probably try for them as well soon. Anybody know if they can be found as far South as the areas around Kennedy Meadows? Oh yeah and Hello everybody.
Yep if its in the trees its a blue grouse. If it is in wide open sage flats (i've seen them at atleast 10,000) its probably a sage grouse, and yeah they are huge.
Here is a blue grouse in the southern most county of its range. Female with chicks.
i m ready leave friday
One other question; what size shot shells do you use? Initially I was thinking 6's, just like chukar. Although I have killed my fair share of those red legged devils with 71/2's. Anyone have any preference?
7 1/7 or 6's are both popular. In general they are in the trees and the shots are close from what I have read. They do go above tree line sometimes though. I'm leaving tomorrow night for the canyon where I saw teh one in the photo! I'm packing 1 oz of golden pheasant #6 out of a 20 ga with LM choke. Hope I bring one home! If not, I got a spot near there to slaughter 20 jacks every morning, call coyote, and scout those chukar. Don't forget Brown trout! God, do I love sept and october!
i cant wait will they call off work today and make it a 4 dayweekend
This is a bird I would really like to go after. Hope you get into them. Looking forward to hearing about your hunt!
My boy and I are off grouse hunting this weekend as well, but to the western slope of the Rockies. We got into some sage grouse there last year, but didn't get any. My boy flushed three but didn't shoot because he thought that they were turkeys. They were huge.
I hunted sage and blue grouse in Colorado one time, while on an archery deer hunt. My brother and I each bagged 3 of each species in one afternoon hunt. It was high sage country with aspen groves, both species were in the same area.
For sage grouse, pick out the smallest bird in the group and shoot it. Don't be tempted to shoot the B-52's, they may be big, but they are tough old birds.
All blue grouse are excellent eating, one of my all-time favorite birds for the table.
I saw a passel of them this past weekend. My legs are way to sore to go back after them anytime soon, but planning for next year.
This response is right on the money from what I experienced.
Good luck, I'm quickly becoming a grouse purist (ok, well not really), but they are really fun, but tough to hunt. Very tough shots in thick cover. Heading out tomorrow to hunt west of the Cascades.
THE WORST DAY OF HUNTING OR FISHING IS BETTER THAN THE BEST DAY AT WORK
Hiked all day 12 miles round trip stomping the bushes. I never saw a thing. I have seen them there before though. I believe it may of been that it was soooooooo crowded. must have been 30 or more hikers on the trail. I'm guessing the amazing weather brought everyone out. I have been there 3 other times and usually see 1 or 2 people all day. Grouse do not respond well to people. In oregon for example there are grouse all over until the first day of deer season. Once the army of deer hunters turn the back roads into a highway the birds are no longer hanging out in easy to get to places. They all go up to the ridge tops and you see very few. I suspect any grouse in the area are far from the trail when it is busy. Either way it was beautiful and tuned up the legs for chukar season. I did talk to a hiker who said he had seen some. There was also very little snow this year and it was real dry.
The highest point of my hike. Had lunch and headed back.
That looks like ptarmigan country. I thought that grouse spent more time in thick pine forest amongst berries and aspen. Nice photo and good chukar warm-up.
yheap me to deer bear now been out last to weekends 4 does no bears used to think opener could be good but even before its tough forgot camera on last trip working to much last year 3 and 4 day weekends this year so i take advantage of it