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hunter25's picture
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Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3023
Sage grouse advice

I don't have a dog to use so I was wondering what the best stategy for hunting sage grouse is. The seasons are very short and I would like to get a couple in case the hunting of them ever comes to an end.

I hunted one day this year and actually saw 3 groups by walking the draws in unit 211 of Colorado. But every single one of them would flush at around 40 yards or more. And of course with my vast skills I easily missed. lol

Am I on the right track and just keep pushing for them? Other than sage where are the best areas to hunt them? I did see some in Wyoming that refused to fly and even went under the truck but of course the season was not yet open.

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Joined: 09/07/2010
Posts: 25
Those things are a fun hunt

hunter,

You dont need a dog to find sage grouse.  I typically find them on the fringe of the grass and the sage.  And don't get too far away from water.  As far as them flushing.... look for the dumb ones.  They are the best kind.  If you want ones that will be edible then shoot the little ones.

Good luck

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Location: NE NV
Joined: 03/18/2010
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They are called Sage Grouse for a reason.

If there's no sage brush there won't be any sage grouse.  Early in the season, stay close (within a half to a mile) to riparian areas like creeks and meadows.  Mixed sage communities, those with mosaic areas of big and low sage brush on benches around meadows is where I start off.

Early in the season the young birds can hold real tight and are the easiest to hit but shooting a bomber (adult bird) is more fun and a bird with two seasons under it's belt, especially a big male, is a special trophy.  If you have the room it makes a great mount.  Early in the season before they switch from a forb & insect diet to a sage diet they all taste good, the older birds needing a slow cook recipe.  After they transition to a sage diet, it's time to trasition to blue or ruffed grouse unless you like the taste of sage brush.

hunter25's picture
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Location: Colorado western slope
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As far as early in the season

As far as early in the season goes I should clarify that the longest season here is 7 days being from September 11-17 last year and in some units it's only a 2 day season.

It sounds like you possibly have more opportunity than we do. How long does your season last over there?  And how good of a population do you have? I would think if the seasons are longer you must have a lot more birds.

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Location: NE NV
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Seasons Getting Shorter

Last year the sage hen season was two weeks long starting Sept. 25.  In the past the season used to start Sept. 1 and run for a month.  Popoulations here have really tanked, as they have throughout their range.  The huge range fires in the last 10 years around here really put the hammer on them, along with piss poor range management practices (overgrazing is becoming an art form is seems).

Only shot one last season, a target of opportunity while hunting deer with my daughter on her first deer hunting season.  I hadn't shot or hunted for them for 3 or 4 years because of the lowering populations but she said she wanted camp meat.  She was next to me when a young bird flushed and was really jazzed when it fell to the shot so that was pretty cool.

The most fun I've had hunting them was with my side x side muzzleloader.  The misses were almost as much fun as the hits (probably more so as they were much more frequent!).  I really want to try hunting them with a bow sometime too.  It should be obvious that I'm more into the hunting than the killing - don't want to think about how many arrows I'll most likely loose.  

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I've seen a decent number in

I've seen a decent number the last few years in the area where I deer hunt in Wyoming, but I've just never had any desire to shoot one.  My thrill, as far as bird hunting goes, is shooting pheasants behind my pointer!

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