MALE BLUE GROUSE IN FULL STRUT.   photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Upland Utah Is Back. It's been a long time since I've posted. It's been one crazy summer.

After 13 years working for the same company I've made a career switch. The new company I work for is an amazing, young, growing company. The owners are great people and the opportunity was too great to pass up. It's just what I've been searching for. I'm very happy with this new job and the best part is it's only 5 minutes from my home. I've been commuting about 2 hours a day the last 10 years. Having work so close to home has been awesome. It's been crazy busy and I've had no time to even think about this blog but things are calming down and I'm finally feeling like I'm getting on top of the pile of work we have. Just in time because hunting season is here!

With the busy summer we haven't been as active as I would of liked but we have done some camping and the family took some vacations so not all was lost. 

The dogs are doing good but are not in the kind of shape I would like to see them in but we're working on it and we will work our way back into shape this month. We have to... grouse season has started and September is all about the Blues…. grouse that is.

We've been out a couple times and it appears that the Blues (I can't get used to calling them Dusky Grouse) have had a good population bump. Last year we were struggling to see any but so far I've had pretty good success. We've been hunting the edges of young aspen stands near the top of the ridges.  It seems to be working. 

Blue Grouse are fun birds, especially with dogs but they're not the most challenging game bird. There have be times hiking during the summer that I've found them walking right off the side of the trail. Birds were acting no wilder than a barnyard chicken. You could kill them with a rock if you wanted. But, put dogs on the ground and they act pretty wiley. They are a lot of fun with pointing dogs. Early in the season they tend to hold for points pretty well. As the season progresses they get more jumpy. Usually they travel in family groups ranging from 2 to about 8 birds. When one Blue comes up you better get ready for some more shooting. 

Blue grouse have a fantastic flush. It can be as fantastic an eruption as any ruffed grouse or rooster pheasant. In my experience they usually are found on a slope and fly downhill, quickly gaining speed to heavy cover. Shots are usually fast and furious and the birds are rarely alone so reload quickly. If your lucky enough to catch them on flat ground they will usually just fly into the nearest cover that they are usually not far from. So, there is good opportunities for repeat flushes if they don't take cover high in the trees. 

 In my opinion they are beautiful birds, especially the males. Slate blue mottled with brown tones. Dark tails with a band of repeated blue on the tip of their tail feathers. Orange to yellow eyebrows on the the more mature  birds. Adults can get as large as any pheasant you'll find. And the terrain where you hunt them is just gorgeous. They are found in the High Rockies, Sierras to the coastal Pacific Northwest up the coast to Alaska. 

Me and the hounds with an early season Blue (Dusky) Grouse

Blue grouse hunting is about having fun. It's early in the season and there is no pressure. It's about getting the dogs out and getting a good run in the beautiful mountains we have here in the West. Its just nice to be out in it.  I Love it. 

Georgia Pellegrini has a great recipe for blue grouse. It works for other grouse species  and pheasants too.  It can be found here:

Delicious.  Good stuff all over her site.

I've tried a bunch of different recipes from a few different chefs and most turn out great. But, my favorite way to prepare game birds is still just a simple pan fry in olive oil. Let the meat age in your refrigerator for a week or so. Salt and pepper and a quick fry with your favorite beverage and a side of whatever you got. That recipe works for me every time.


  1. Brett,
    This is a great post! Your enthusiasm for forest grouse is apparent and contagious. 2018 was my favorite grouse season so far and I am already excited for September. I am reading your entire blog again (for the third time in as many years). I have loved it and continue to enjoy it as many of your posts remind me of similar experiences I have had. My pointer and I hope you are well and that you will catch us up on your latest season of upland adventures when you can.

    1. Thanks for the kind comments. We’re still getting after it.


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