Typical cover we were finding blue grouse in that morning. I felt like I was sharptail hunting in Montana.

Forest Grouse season opened on Labor Day this year and my brother, nephew and myself were able to get out that morning.

We made it out to one of our favorite grouse hunting spots right after sunrise and the air was crisp, cool and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. We knew this was going to be a short hunt because the forecast was telling us that the temperature would be up around 80 degrees and that was just too hot to be running dogs or fat middle aged hunters for very long.

The morning started off slow with only one flush with no shot. But within an hour I heard my nephew's shotgun and my brother's voice over the radio saying, "Get down here. They are in the grass!" I thought that meant in the edges of the meadows between the stands of aspen and pine but he meant out in the big open areas.

The blue grouse were in the open feasting on grasshoppers. Once the action started we were pretty much into them most of the morning.

Hazel working it!

We saw some good points, we shot pretty well and we didn't lose a single bird.
The dog work was pretty good for the opening morning. Every dog had his or her moments to shine. We were all very proud, hot and tired at the end of the day.

The scouting I have done locally put up a few birds but nothing like this area. They had a really good hatch this year. Every bird we bagged was young but all of them were strong flyers.  I was surprised at some of the shots they presented. But then again I rarely see them in the open like that. They aren't the fastest flyers so they are a good bird to start the year with. They also make great birds for the dogs to start the year on. Early season Blues are not the most challenging game bird. But they are fun. The birds held for points really well and were widely spread out. The points is what made it fun.

Hazel did awesome and found some tough retrieves and had some good finds. One particular gorgeous point comes to mind where she was up on a rock looking down into some brush and rock solid. I should of taken a photo. She was just beautiful. I can't believe she's already 7 years old. It doesn't seem that long ago that I brought a little brown fur ball home from Idaho.

Chief had some good points and found a cripple that I didn't think we'd ever find. That dog is so fun to hunt with. Monday he was like an old pro. He was under control, poised and did his job with style. He had so much fun I swear he's still smiling about it.

Chief and Hazel are more content today than I've seen them all summer. Very relaxed and calm. It say's a lot about how these dogs work both physically and mentally. They need to hunt, it's in their bones.

Shawn's shorthairs also did really well and had some gorgeous points and good finds.

We had our limits by 11:00 am which was perfect because it was already too hot and the dogs were starting to break down from the heat. We walked back to the truck with guns unloaded and 12 birds in the bag.
That is a rarity in my world.
Great memories.

The nasty tailgate shot. Chief can't get enough. 


  1. Hi Brett, I enjoyed reading your post. I also nailed my first grouse of the year this weekend up I the Uintas (new area for me). I ran into a lot of archery hunters up there and was wondering, how do you balance the areas you hunt with respect to giving the archers their berth, and not disturbing them too much?

  2. I think it all comes down to what you said, "hunt with respect".

    It's inevitable that there's going to be some crossover when hunting seasons for different species have the same dates on the calendar. Also we are all trying to use the same PUBLIC lands. Everyone has a right to be there day hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians and hunters all use the same areas sometimes. And it's not getting any better with the growing population we have in the state. I've seen a big change here locally over the past 20 years. We may not always like to share it but it's kind of how it go's sometimes.

    This is how I handle it, If there is a truck parked where I want to go or even close to where I want to go I find a new spot. And I would hope that others would try to do the same.

    Somedays I don't get to go to my "honey hole" but I'd rather find a new spot and have the privacy I was originally looking for than blow up someone else's hunt.

    If I run into someone while I'm hunting I try to give them a wide berth or sometimes I just turn around. Unfortunately by the time I see them my dogs have probably already ran by them and messed up whatever they were doing. It sucks and I hate it but anyone who has hunted for very long has had it happen to them. I know it's happened to me several times and I done it to other hunters a few times.

    My advice is do the best you can, respect others and hopefully they will respect you back.
    Sometimes people will just be asses about it but there usually isn't much you can do for those personalities.

    Sometimes it can work in your favor. The area we hunted in the grouse hunt story above was not our first choice of where we wanted to hunt. When we got to where we wanted to go there was 3 trucks full of bow hunters at "our" spot. We turned around and found a new spot and ended up limiting out. So there you go.

    Thanks for commenting. Good Luck this season.



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