Anyone done a dusky...
 

Anyone done a dusky/ blue grouse hunt?  

Page 2 / 2
  RSS
Durangatan
(@durangatan)
New Member

@westok

Right on. Hit me up if you come to Durango. There are some birds in Echo Basin, west of town in the La  Platas. There are a few groups of ptarmigan above Emerald Lake, but you will need legs and lungs to get to them. There will definitely be a lot of stupid people from out of town, doing stupid things in the woods in pursuit of elk. However there are very few elk around.

If you are game I’d be happy to get together for a backpacking trip for fish. You’d be welcome to bring a shotgun, but it might be 7 pounds of weight that you wouldn’t use.

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 9, 2019 10:08 am
thornton
(@thornton)
Noble Member
Posted by: @durangatan

If you have the time, I'd head up to the North Cascades.

We're in SW CO, and except for the plains, there really are not huntable bird numbers in the mtns. I'm out usually six days per week, training for mtn bike racing and trail running, or backpacking. I rarely go north of the I70 corridor, so my experience is through Durango, Pagosa, Leadville, BV, Aspen, Telluride, etc. We run into pockets of grouse. A few ptarmigan. Mostly, you will be taking a walk with your shotgun. Much more productive would be to punch back into high country lakes and fish. As an example.... I did a 6 day mtn bike trip from Durango to Moab, up through the LaPlatas, to Telluride, then to Moab. Zero birds.

In the North Cascades it is not uncommon to push up 20 - 40 birds per day. You also have the benefit of lower altitudes. Around CO, I run into elk hunters from lowland locations in the backcountry. Universally they are not fit, and are gassed from elevation. Some to the point where they cannot function to hunt.

If you want to get on birds for your canine's sake, Black Canyon Hunt Club north of Montrose is amazing for pen raised birds. Their flight pen is 10 acres! So the birds really fly.

Enjoy!

Apart from the unfit elk hunters....are you using birddogs re encountering the duskys?

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 9, 2019 10:28 am
Greg T.
(@greg-t)
Famed Member

@thornton

Marty is a professional fitness guy.

Everyone is less fit than he.

A person that doesn’t live and train in the mountains can have a perfectly satisfying 10 day long trip after Blues with some pre-trip effort on the flatlands.

I live at 587 ft and have had many mountain adventures. 

 Get your heart and lungs into adequate condition before you go (whatever that is for you), hunt high sleep low, limit your activities for the first two days in the hills (keep the hunts short), and carry Dramamine in case you feel some altitude sickness. But after two days or so your red blood cells will have multiplied to the point that walking around in the hills following a dog really isn’t an issue. 

For you or the dog.

"Chemists make good solutions" 🙂

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 9, 2019 1:19 pm
Durangatan
(@durangatan)
New Member

@thornton

If I am walking, my dog(s) are with me. Running - 50 / 50. Depends on the run. Not on the bike though.

Blues are clumsy, easy to spot birds. I could have killed several with a rock. Canines may or may not be required, but I wouldn't upland hunt without dogs.

Ptarmigan are a bit more crafty by us. Steady to wing and shot is required if you don't want your Best Furry Friend launching off a rock with nothing but 1,000' of air underneath them, in pursuit of a winged bird.

 

 

This post was modified 1 month ago by Durangatan
ReplyQuote
Posted : August 9, 2019 5:47 pm
thornton
(@thornton)
Noble Member
Posted by: @durangatan

@thornton

If I am walking my dog(s) are with me. Not on the bike though.

Blues are clumsy, easy to spot birds. I could have killed several with a rock.

 

Rock chucking and disparagement of the Dusky (as happens with the ruffed species in some areas of the range) aside....what breed of birddogs do you use for dusky grouse?

Does time of day factor into success at all?

Thanks

This post was modified 1 month ago by thornton
ReplyQuote
Posted : August 9, 2019 5:53 pm
Westok
(@westok)
Active Member

I hunt with a Brittany for the record. I appreciate the fishing offer btw . Wish I had some extra time. Like I have said it’s more adventure than anything on this “hunt”. We will walk some likely spots and if we see birds great. If not we will try another species next time or another spot. This is as much to get somewhere cool as anything.

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 9, 2019 10:01 pm
Greg T.
(@greg-t)
Famed Member

@westok

I shot my first blues over a Brittany.

I shot a bunch more with German shorthairs, labs, and English setters. The first thing is you got to be where the birds are. So to narrow down your effort, start asking questions. 

Hint:   Find an elk outfitter that operates near where you want to hunt, and ask him. Lots of blues are shot with bows during the early elk season for camp meat.

"Chemists make good solutions" 🙂

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 9, 2019 10:21 pm
Moonshine
(@moonshine)
Noble Member

@greg-t

I thought you’d be en route to Edinburgh...

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 9, 2019 10:53 pm
Durangatan
(@durangatan)
New Member
Posted by: @thornton
Posted by: @durangatan

@thornton

If I am walking my dog(s) are with me. Not on the bike though.

Blues are clumsy, easy to spot birds. I could have killed several with a rock.

 

Rock chucking and disparagement of the Dusky (as happens with the ruffed species in some areas of the range) aside....what breed of birddogs do you use for dusky grouse?

Does time of day factor into success at all?

Thanks

 

Labs. Simply because that is what I was raised with, and what I am most familiar with. I also run them in hunt tests and am a hunt test judge, so it is a bit ingrained. I don't think breed will matter. More that your canine is accomplished at their craft, and that you work as a team.

Re time of day... generally mid AM and again in PM. I find that during the day they often roost in trees.

The typical drill is that dogs scent birds. Dogs flush birds. You shoulder your gun. Bird lands in tree 30 feet away and just looks at you. Then you are faced with what to do: Walk away, or twig them?

My favorite days hunting blues were in the North Cascades. The weather is usually stupendous at that time of year. We'd take about a 40 liter pack, Tupperware, fly rod, shotgun. We'd then spend the day picking mtn blueberries, chasing birds, and trout in high country lakes. Timberline is at about 4,500' there, so the cardiovascular demands are totally different. In CO, I just don't bother.

Search back a bit in Fly Rod & Reel. I took SSM's Ed Carroll down the Middle Fork of the Salmon. At the top we get into grouse.  Chukar below. There is an article on it out there.

Tried to insert images, but the system is far from initiative. Don't have time to waste on it. I have no idea what a "3B" file size is.

Enjoy.

 

This post was modified 1 month ago by Durangatan
ReplyQuote
Posted : August 10, 2019 3:45 pm
thornton
(@thornton)
Noble Member

I always expected in a dictionary under Dog, to find pictured a Lab.

I'm sure those were high-country days that anyone would envy.

One can also be faced with a decision as a flight-tired woodcock lifts.....such is Life as a Birdhunter.

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 10, 2019 3:53 pm
banditowner
(@banditowner)
Trusted Member

I've hunted them quite a few years in Colorado and a little in Washington state. I still call them blue grouse and I refuse to change that based on another taxonomical hairsplitters fad... 🙄 if that gives you an idea of how long I've been after them.

I would head towards areas with a lot of timber at higher elevations especially those that have logging roads or trails left from old logging. I find more birds in areas with multiple pine and spruce structural stages in the same area/mountain slope.  The roads and trails also give better access. Some birds will stay high all day in the timber and feed in meadows in timber. Others will fly down to lower areas with grasshopper and berry producing brush, gamble oak, and aspen. I've shot them out of sage brush or grass edges of aspen frequently early in the year. Check out all creeks as they will tend to be near water feeding on vegetation that is near water courses. Check the crops on birds to see what they are eating. 

You can do a lot of hunting in areas like I mention above and not see any birds. Then you may find a honey hole of several mountains in a range, or surrounding a valley that have lots of birds. Keep your mouth closed about the honey holes you find or they will get shot out quickly. Lots of people want to hunt them, few are willing to do the work to find a spot on their own. So be wise about letting out a good spot if you find one. 

P.S. blues are one of the better eating of all upland birds I've had and the mottled feathers are good on flies like Muddler Minnows and others. So use the whole bird and save the skins/feathers for your fly tying buddies. 

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 25, 2019 11:59 am
Westok
(@westok)
Active Member

Banditowner thanks for the advice, i really appreciate it. I’ve been doing a lot of homework, this will definitely help. 

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 26, 2019 6:11 pm
banditowner
(@banditowner)
Trusted Member

Sorry I don't check internet very often. Hope you do good. Blue grouse are like gold, they are where you find them. There's certain habitats they like, and there are tons of that type of habitat in Colorado that may or may not have birds. Lots of good habitat has no birds. So when you find them many times you can go back to that area year after year and its good for a long time. They can get shot out locally though, so enough pressure applied in small areas by a bunch of guys can really affect them, So like I said, keep your honey holes to yourself. Except you can tell me 😎 

ReplyQuote
Posted : August 31, 2019 9:16 am
Westok
(@westok)
Active Member

Found a small group, I only got to hunt Sunday. The area they were in was near a very busy dirt road. I guess Labor Day and hunters plus 2 troopers and a game and fish guy had the road burned up. I got one and could have limited a combination of factors not the least of which was bad shooting kept that from happening. They were lower than I thought. Overall between the beautiful area and birds I’ll be back. 

ReplyQuote
Posted : September 2, 2019 9:51 pm
Page 2 / 2

Share: