Arizona Grouse Hunting

From the San Francisco Peaks
From the San Francisco Peaks

I blame Randy Babb and Johnathan O’dell. Ever since hearing these two biologists talk about small game hunting and specifically grouse hunting in AZ, I’ve had the bug. So this past weekend while my wife was doing the baby shower thing, Jake and I headed up to the San Francisco Peaks to stretch our legs and see if we could find one of these elusive birds.

Long story short, we didn’t find any. We did quite a bit of walking and looking around and seemed to be in the right habitat. Truth be told though, after everything I read about dusky grouse in Arizona, my expectations were extremely low. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day, as the San Francisco Peaks in September are about as heavenly as Arizona can get. I’ll be back again. This little trip did more to boost my curiosity about Arizona grouse hunting than anything else. Here are some pics from the day.

Grouse Habitat
Grouse Habitat
Grouse Habitat
Grouse Habitat
The Meadow
The Meadow
Winchester 101
Winchester 101

 

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15 Responses to “Arizona Grouse Hunting”

    • azwanderings

      Thanks Walt. It was a beautiful day in the mountains, and one I won’t soon forget.

      Ben

      Reply
  1. Taku

    Wait a minute! What is that on the right side of the picture just in front of the boulder? Did you miss one?

    Reply
  2. Doug Burt

    Great photo essay again Ben. Yes, Arizona’s blue grouse are tough to find. I was part of a translocation of birds from Utah to AZ in Unit 4A / 5A. They are cool birds. I managed to shoot one in early October in 27 – on a turkey hunt, go figure. I hear the North Rim is the most productive place to hunt them. Cheers.

    Doug Burt

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      Thanks Doug for the kind words and the heads up. I’ve heard the same thing and knew that the San Fran population was a bit on the weaker side. This trip just wet my appetite even more. Looking forward to getting out with you for quail this season. Take care.

      Ben

      Reply
    • azwanderings

      I just posted some of my initial thoughts. A review to come after a season of shooting. Thanks for the support Joel.

      Ben

      Reply
  3. Sheldon

    Ben – Late the party on this one… When I search AZ Blue Grouse hunting, this post comes up as a top search. I have been looking at a trip to the White Mountains to try my luck with these birds. I have two uncles that have been scounting big game and have pointed me in the direction of some known areas that they have seen the grouse in. I will let you know if I have any success.

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      Good luck Sheldon. They are a pretty cool bird. I’m looking forward to finding one someday. Keep me posted.

      Ben

      Reply
  4. Devan

    I also was researching Blue Grouse hunting and this came up. I actually see them every year on a Hike we do in Northern Arizona, so this time I am going to pack a small .410 shotgun with me next week if I can manage to get some time off work. I’ll report back if luck is on my side.

    Reply
  5. Devan

    Well I arrived at my trail this morning at 6:30am. Hiked in about 4.5 miles and did not find any Grouse. My dog did happen to find a small cubby of 3 mearns quail which I though it was odd finding those up there in that high of elevation. After returning home tonight to the Valley a friend of mine that was elk hunting said he ran into some Grouse about 2 miles from where I was hunting this morning. I may try going back up next week.

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      Very cool Devan. Thanks for the report. Keep me posted on how you do in the whites. Take care.

      Ben

      Reply
  6. Devan

    Well I finally did it, I got my first Dusky Blue Grouse down. She’s in pretty good shape so I’m taking her to the Taxi tomorrow. It’s been a few years chasing but finally got time of work to spend 8 days up on a hunt specifically for Grouse. I’m pretty excited ????

    Reply

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