Wyoming Sage Grouse

TheDudeAbides

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Sep 26, 2015
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617
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Wyoming
Last year I drew an opportunity to hunt sage grouse in Nevada at the Sheldon Antelope refuge. Spending a couple days there fishing and chasing sage grouse got me hooked. This year I was fortunate to have an opportunity to take a career job in Wyoming and have another opportunity to hunt these wonderful birds.

A lot of people I talked to said it would be really easy hunting them in Wyoming and after this experience I wonder if they either got really lucky or if they have even ever hunted them.

Day 1 -
C1WfDkf
We (The dog and I) hunted around flaming gorge in an area where we seen a flock two days before. We hiked and hiked. We jumped around 50 rabbits (All 3 species Jack, Cottontail, Pigmy), but couldn't find any chickens. I made an executive decision to go and try Seedskadee. We hiked and hiked, jumping nothing but more rabbits. When finally walking the top of a ridgeline plateau, the dog slams on a point. I see two heads, they see me. They do not wait long before they flush. On the second shot, I dropped the bull out of the pair. I was excited as the dog brought the big chicken back to me. We called it a day, the dog was beat. This was the biggest chicken I have shot, so I made the executive decision to have the bird mounted (Which, thinking tonight
, I might mount it and give it to my grandpa, because he introduced me to hunting).

Day 2- Same places. Lot of hiking and lots of rabbits.

Day 3 - After receiving a tip from work to try the boar's tusk in the red desert I couldn't resist to try it that night after work. An hour into the drive I decide to stop and stretch my legs and get the dog out. I stopped at a spot that had two thick sage brush draws and open grass in the middle. While filling the pack full of water, I spot a chicken scurrying across the field. The game is on, but the wind is in my face and not at my back. We walk right passed the bird and the dog doubles back and points at me. The bird flushes 5 feet away from me and I had no idea it was there. I quickly pull my whit together and hammer the bird (Hindsight I should have let it get a little bit farther away) We collect the bird and keep working the draw. 25 feet later a second point is made back in my direction and I stop and right as I look to where the dog is pointing. A grouse flushes, this one was 15 feet away. I hammered it. Hour drive, 15 minutes of hunting and we were done. I kind of felt ripped off, but amazing at the same time. We stayed and watched the sunset, because it was an hour to drive home either way.
10NtaK1


Day 4 - We stopped a little short of where we were the day before and went for hike. Hiked a good mile or two with nothing but rabbits moving around. Walking back to the car, I heard a flush just in time to watch a bird fly out of range. We start to head towards the bird when I see something strange running off in the distance in the direction the bird went. I wasn't sure what it was, It looked like a pig scurrying off. It was dark cinnamon colored and did not have a tail. It might have been the elusive chupa cabra or a wayward bear or domestic pig or a bobcat or a docked coyote/cougar, either way I didn't want my dog to face it without having a decent tree to chase it in. We switched directions and went back to the truck. We took a nasty road and hunted around the Boar's tusk the rest of the night, which was not great because it was sandy. We started to hear coyote howls and called it a night.

Day 5 - We walked the same area as day 3 and didn't see anything other than rabbits. We decided to follow the county road to see where it went. We got on top of the plateau and did some hiking from there. The wind was ripping on top, but we still tried to find some chickens. To no avail, we called it a night.

Day 6 - We started in the same area as day 3, but we walked towards the plateau rather than towards the Boar's Tusk. We hiked a lot. We were crossing a hill to get over into the next valley, when suddenly we had a point. The bird flushed and a good shot was made. It capped off an amazing experience for my first year of Wyoming Sage Grouse. I can't wait until next year.
KjHFm52


These birds are truly worth saving. They are not as dumb as people may tend to think they are. I have seen them in Black Sage Brush that is an ankle high (Sheldon) and I would have no idea they were even there until one stuck it's head up. I literally almost walked right past two of them that I didn't even know were next to me. They are a challenge, because they are a serendipity in the desert. I tried to figure where they would be holding up at, but everyone one of my theories was debunked by these desert nomads.

In the 6 days, I did not see another grouse hunter. Which was good for me, but sad because so many more people should enjoy hunting them. It is really a blast.

They taste good too. The breast tastes just like Mule Deer Venison (Dark Meat) and the Legs taste like turkey (Light meat)

Best of luck to all the upland game hunters the rest of the season, my season is made and I'll be playing with house money chasing chukars later in the year.

P.S. Sorry about not attaching the pictures, I couldn't get the uploader to work. Forgive me, I'm a noob.

Edit:

Day 1 http://imgur.com/C1WfDkf

Day 3 http://imgur.com/10NtaK1

Day 6 http://imgur.com/KjHFm52
 
Last edited:

1_pointer

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Dec 20, 2000
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18,108
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Indiana
Very nice!! They are possibly my favorite bird to hunt. I do agree with the sentiment that they are "easy"...once you find them! They hold tight and aren't the swiftest of flyers, but one can cover a LOT of country trying to find them. Congrats!
 

What Map

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Jun 23, 2012
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Bozone
Sage grouse are fun to hunt. I saw some before the season but I did not find time to get back on them. Thanks for posting. I used to run around in the Red Desert decades ago. It was wide open country.
 

TheDudeAbides

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Joined
Sep 26, 2015
Messages
617
Location
Wyoming
Very nice!! They are possibly my favorite bird to hunt. I do agree with the sentiment that they are "easy"...once you find them! They hold tight and aren't the swiftest of flyers, but one can cover a LOT of country trying to find them. Congrats!

A lot of country is an understatement.

They can be found anywhere in the sage brush. They do not need water, so it can be tough to pick a good spot to start, because all of the country looks the same.

Without a dog, the only way you would find them is stepping on them or having a young bird give itself away by sticking it's head up or moving across an open area.
 

TheDudeAbides

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 26, 2015
Messages
617
Location
Wyoming
Sage grouse are fun to hunt. I saw some before the season but I did not find time to get back on them. Thanks for posting. I used to run around in the Red Desert decades ago. It was wide open country.

Yeah,

It is a special place.

The desert elk herds are worth the price of admission.

The ever present speed goats rutting is really gun to watch.

I do not care for wild horses, but they are in there.

Tons of rabbits, gophers, mice, finches, etc

It is really an animal rich area that most people drive through.
 

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