Also Goes By: Mountain Grouse, Sooty Grouse, Dusky, Pine Grouse
This large grouse is split into two separate species; the Sooty Grouse of the Sierra Nevada and Pacific Coast Ranges and the Dusky Grouse of the Rocky Mountains. Adults have a long tale that is gray at the end. Males will be dark in color (the Sooty Grouse will be especially so). The Sooty Grouse will have a yellow throat sac and wattle while the Dusky Grouse will have a purplish throat sac and a yellow to red colored wattle over the eye during display. Females will be mottled brown. This a fairly large bird, between 12 to 15 inches in length or about the size of a medium weight chicken.
During summer and fall the Blue Grouse enjoy the highland meadows at the edges of confer and mixed forests where they can be concealed under shrubs or a log. As winter approaches, this bird will move upslope to eat conifer needles and roost under the snow.
These birds begin their day foraging a couple of hours after the sun rises with later morning hours being the optimal time to spot them, so there’s no need to set the alarm clock too early. A good hunting dog who can point is ideal to take along, giving the hunter enough time to spot and take aim at his prey. Easily spooked, this bird may fly in a zigzag pattern through the trees once flushed or may fly to a nearby branch and remain stock still and blend with it’s surroundings. As a master of camouflage, the Blue Grouse may be surprisingly easy to pass by. However, once taken, the Blue Grouse makes great table fair.
There has been a lot of news about the terribly dry conditions across the bulk of the country this year. This news sparked many early negative predictions for the upland populations. If you read much about the lifecycle of upland birds though, most don’t require much water when they are young. So unlike harsh winters … Read more
Most folks who watch hunting shows on TV or who are new to the sport may never see what happens to birds after they are brought to hand. Because we camp and travel most of the season, often in places where access to fresh water is limited, we like to clean birds in a way … Read more
Is the key to restoring quail right out your back door? I grew up in small farming community in rural Northeast Ohio. It’s not considered an upland bird hot spot. But I still remember seeing wild quail when I was a kid. And I’ve verified this with others from the area. Bobwhite used to inhabit … Read more