Lookin for Blues.

huntbirdz

New member
I was wondering if anyone could provide me with some information or at least point me in the right direction pertaining to areas where I may be able to hunt Blue Grouse near or somewhat near Rawlings.

I will be visiting Wyoming for opener of Sage Grouse and will also be hunting sharp-tailed grouse, and maybe some huns. I have pretty good areas to hunt those birds, but if the opportunity arose, I would like to have the chance at finding some Blues.

ANY information would be greatly appreciate.

Thank you.
 

jmac

Super Moderator
Your not going to find any blues anywhere near there. you need high alpine areas to find them, during sage grouse season. Green mountain is the closest area to where you mentioned.
 

huntbirdz

New member
Thanks for the information. I have been doing some research on Green Mountain. I'm waiting for some info from a couple of game wardens that work in the area. Is there a specific altitude that I will find blues at during September? What size shot would you recommend?

Would really appreciate your feedback.
 

quail hound

Moderator
Hey huntbirz, glad too see you on UPH. I can't say that I'm familiar with Wyoming hunting but early in the season I would tend to look for blues where the sage meets stands of aspen and pine. The birds are usually at their lowest altitude at that time of year feeding up on hoppers. I look forward to following your trip and seeing the pictures on Instagram.:cheers:
 

jmac

Super Moderator
Hey huntbirz, glad too see you on UPH. I can't say that I'm familiar with Wyoming hunting but early in the season I would tend to look for blues where the sage meets stands of aspen and pine. The birds are usually at their lowest altitude at that time of year feeding up on hoppers. I look forward to following your trip and seeing the pictures on Instagram.:cheers:
Sound advise about where to find them, six shot is fine , 7.5 will work. Just like sage grouse, they are not great flyers.
 
Not much to add to that advice, I hunt near Lander and seem to catch them working up in the morning. Might find Ruffs also. I use a 20 ga AA Sporting clay 7/8 of 7.5 and open chokes.

Only addition I'd add is to scan the branches also as the digs will push them up a lot of times before they launch.
 

huntbirdz

New member
Thanks for the information, appreciate it. I'm doing research and waiting for some info and details back from someone that works for Wyoming Game & Fish.
 

huntbirdz

New member
Thanks...I appreciate the information and advice. I'm sooo looking forward to this trip. At the same time, not really sure how it will go. Either way, it'll be a bucketlist trip definitely. Whether or not we get birds, just being out "west", camping, chasing birds, watching the dogs, you just can't any better than that. Trying to read as much as I can on HOW to hunt sage, sharptails, and blues too.

Hey huntbirz, glad too see you on UPH. I can't say that I'm familiar with Wyoming hunting but early in the season I would tend to look for blues where the sage meets stands of aspen and pine. The birds are usually at their lowest altitude at that time of year feeding up on hoppers. I look forward to following your trip and seeing the pictures on Instagram.:cheers:
 

huntbirdz

New member
Appreciate the info. I'm really excited to head out west and hunt. Trying to familiarize myself on HOW to hunt sage, sharptails, and blues as well. Thanks again.
Not much to add to that advice, I hunt near Lander and seem to catch them working up in the morning. Might find Ruffs also. I use a 20 ga AA Sporting clay 7/8 of 7.5 and open chokes.

Only addition I'd add is to scan the branches also as the digs will push them up a lot of times before they launch.
 

esetter

Member
We did the blue , sage , hun , and sharptail trip to WY a few years ago. Try the Medicine Bow forest just what of Laramie near Albany. As stated , we found them where sage met aspen stands. 6's or 71/2's will be fine. Like most grouse , they die when you hit them. We also found some in the Big Horns near Dayton , WY. Evenings always seemed better. They roost late has been my observation. All 4 species can be taken on that hunt , gotta put in some miles!!
 

huntbirdz

New member
Thanks. Will definitely check into the Medicine Bow area for blues. Just recently purchased my ammo for the trip, went with #6 and 7.5's. Haven't seen anything about shooting steel, so I think we are good to go. All four of us are extremely excited and I can't wait to hit the ground running and hunting in completely new country for me for birds I have only dreamed of hunting.



We did the blue , sage , hun , and sharptail trip to WY a few years ago. Try the Medicine Bow forest just what of Laramie near Albany. As stated , we found them where sage met aspen stands. 6's or 71/2's will be fine. Like most grouse , they die when you hit them. We also found some in the Big Horns near Dayton , WY. Evenings always seemed better. They roost late has been my observation. All 4 species can be taken on that hunt , gotta put in some miles!!
 

esetter

Member
I will see if I can find the old map and see if my friend still has the area saved in his GPS that we hunted in Medicine Bow Forest. If so , I will pm it to you. Ive hunted WY twice and lived there for a few months. I don't know of any steel shot requirements. You should be fine.
 

huntbirdz

New member
About two and a half weeks til we leave KC and head west...really lookin' forward to hunting in a completely different environment for new birds. Yes, that would be great and totally appreciated. Thanks again.

I will see if I can find the old map and see if my friend still has the area saved in his GPS that we hunted in Medicine Bow Forest. If so , I will pm it to you. Ive hunted WY twice and lived there for a few months. I don't know of any steel shot requirements. You should be fine.
 

Wyoguy

New member
Finding Wyoming Blues and Ruff's

The key for finding Blue Grouse (Dusky Grouse) in Wyoming is to hunt high. Regardless of what mountain range you are hunting, Salt River, Gros Ventre, Winds, Snowy's, Absaroka's or Bighorns, look for them near or above 7500 feet. You don't need to be near tree line, but do get up high. They like area's of meadows and high mountain parks, preferably with a good smattering of sage brush and grass in them. These meadow area's are usually filled with grasshoppers which are a major food source for the birds during the late summer and fall months.

If an area is devoid of pines, you won't find them. If an area is nothing but thick pines, you won't find them. Look for "edge" area's. The edge of high mountain parks. Or park area's with groups and pockets of pines. Hunt the edge of the pine trees, not out in the middle of a large park or meadow. Pines, parks and meadows should be your key areas.

Now if you're looking for Ruffed Grouse, and Wyoming has a boat load of them in certain parts of the state, your focus should be totally different. First off, hunt west of the continental divide. Ruff's do live on the east side, but in much lower numbers. You focus area's should be lower elevations than with Blue's. And with Ruff's you aren't looking for pines, but rather focus on riparian area's along creeks with deciduous trees. Out here that mostly means aspen tree's. If your in cottonwoods you are hunting much too low. Look for area's of aspen tree's near water--creeks and small streams--in western Wyoming and you'll find Ruff's.

These forest grouse species are not very popular with bird hunters in the cowboy state. In fact, if you see another forest grouse hunter, it is by Wyoming standards, much too crowded. In all my years chasing Blue Grouse I can't think of seeing another hunter who wasn't with me. With Ruff's maybe a time or two as riparian corridor's are much smaller and narrow, but I've been bird hunting for 45 years, so if you make a trip, you're likely to have it all to yourself. In Wyoming, most forest grouse are harvested by big game hunters. Because of this, shooting them with rifles is legal in Wyoming. While ground sluicing grouse with a rifle isn't my idea of fun, when some guy is 15 or 20 miles off road hunting elk, it isn't an issue worth arguing about.

One of the great things is that unlike pheasants, the best grouse hunting is on public land. More specifically on National Forest land. Most BLM land is too low in elevation for forest grouse, and better suited to Sage Hens. I like a 20 ga. O/U shooting 1 1/8th ounce of #6 lead shot. No need for steel on grouse. Some guys would lean more to something smaller like 7 1/2's or 8's. But out here it's common for a Blue to give you a 40 yard crossing shot once they flush, and you want to knock them down. Once down, they aren't apt to run much and my Lab's have never lost one that I can think of. I use Lab's because I hunt ducks and roosters as the months get colder, but a pointing dog would be a better choice if my focus was just grouse. Plenty of times the birds will flush the other side of a big pine tree and you'll only hear the wings. A pointing dog would give you much more time to maneuver for an open shooting lane prior to the flush.

One last closing thought. If you love the outdoors, just know that there are a lot of selfish politician's trying to convince the public that giving the public lands to the various western states is a good idea. If that ever were to happen I can guarantee you that it would be sold off to billionaire's at the first excuse they could think of. Don't sit on the side lines and let others decide the fate of western public lands and public hunting opportunities. Make you're voice heard. KEEP PUBLIC LANDS IN PUBLIC HANDS! If you do, your kids will someday know what my kids have known for decades. Public lands is the best idea America ever had.
 

Wyoguy

New member
Hi esetter,

Yes, I always find Blues when I hunt. I can't recall the last time I didn't. Some years I really get into them in a big way (Dozens).....some years it's much more meager. Most years are somewhere in between. If you know where to look you can limit up if you put in a good 6 to 8 hours and hit your shots. But it's always at least fairly good and I've never gotten skunked that I can think of. Well, I take that back. I had a day about 10 years ago when they were just not to be found in all my known spots.

Over the years I learn my spots and they have birds in them year after year because they have the habitat components I described. During the summer when I'm in the mountains fly fishing, I'm always on alert for Blues. In my part of the state I seldom see Ruffs, but can hear them drumming when I'm Turkey hunting in the Spring. But Blues, they are always around. Once you find a few, there are nearly always a few more near by. That is how I am able to describe what habitat area's they like.

One last point on Blues. ALWAYS make a note on a map or index card of where you see them. ALWAYS! Because they just told you where to hunt come fall time. Where you find them in July and August is where they will be in September when it opens. Also, try to do your hunting in September for two reasons. Access is nearly always good in September because winter hasn't set in, even at 8 to 9 thousand feet. If it does, it will generally melt off in a day or two, but the roads might be really muddy. In Wyoming it opens September 1st. I like that time period and the first couple or 3 weeks after it opens. Once you get into late September I'm hunting Chukars, Huns and Ducks if they're open.

The second reason is that after the mountains fill with Elk and Deer hunters, the Blues start to get jumpy when they are plinked at by hunters with big game rifles--legal in Wyoming. In fact in Wyoming you can also legally hunt them with sticks, rocks, spears, arrows, boat nets, your old boot, your buddy's old boot, unopened green bean cans and grenades. I've never seen an advantage to using sticks or rocks, so I usually carry a 20 gauge SKB with #6 shot. Now if I could find some grenades, that would certainly be an advantage! Although, I might need to get my Lab a flak jacket.
 
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