Arizona Blue Grouse in the White Mountains

Arizona Sunrise
Arizona Sunrise (photo by Kyle Graf)

The elk bugled all night long which made sleep hard to come by. My little brown shorthair remained in a tight cozy ball next to me in the tent, snoring away while a bull worked cows in the adjacent meadow.  We all woke early, anxious for the hunt ahead, and huddled around the tailgate eating oatmeal and discussing the plan for the day.

I had been out on several Arizona blue grouse hunts over the past few years without success. With Sunny dog joining our family, I jumped at the chance to join my buddies, Kyle and Sheldon, on a trip to the White Mountains in search of this high country bird. We put Sheldon’s seasoned French Brittanys and Kyle’s GSP on the ground while Sunny tagged along. Our second push of the morning yielded a large covey of blue grouse. Although the birds flushed wild, we were able to follow up and put a bird in the bag each. I was beyond ecstatic when Sunny retrieved the bird, and felt boundless joy and pride to see some of our training pay off.

We spent the rest of the day exploring a few more spots without any luck.  But with a tired, happy pup and a bird in the cooler, it didn’t matter much to me. On the long drive back to town, I reflected on the day. It’s hard not to have a smile on your face after spending time with good friends in the mountains and following your dog through the aspens with a shotgun in your hand.

Sunshine on the stake
Sunshine on the stake
Arizona Blue Grouse
GSPs on the loose
Arizona Blue Grouse
Arizona Blue Grouse (photo by Kyle Graf)
Arizona Blue Grouse
Sunny Dog
Arizona Blue Grouse
The whole gang (photo by Sheldon Clouse)
Arizona Blue Grouse
Sheldon with a stellar tailgate lunch
Arizona Blue Grouse
Lunch break
Arizona Blue Grouse
A productive morning (photo by Sheldon Clouse)
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2 Responses to “Arizona Blue Grouse in the White Mountains”

  1. Bob

    A lucky dog, a good bird hunt with friends, nice weather in the White Mountains, man . . . you got it made!

    Reply
  2. Jeff C.

    Excellent, Ben. You (and the new pup) have broken the ice. Once it cools down a little you’ll need to get Sunny on some quail – hopefully down south where they hold a little better for dogs…..Don’t take my word for it!

    Reply

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