Grouse Hunting Near Sun Valley Idaho
A favorite time of year for many men, women and upland dogs in Idaho is upon us - Grouse Season! It’s time to shake out last year’s feathers from that old upland vest, maybe take a quick trip to the gun range for a tune up, and give your pup one last pep talk about what a good bird dog he or she is! Then it’s off to the field with guns and noses held high.
If you are new to hunting Grouse near Picabo, Sun Valley, Wood River Valley or Stanley here are a couple of quick tips to help get you get in the game. The most important things to keep in mind are hillsides, water and berries.
Grouse love to be near a clean, fresh water source. This can be a little creek, a big river or the smallest spring on a mountain side. Be sure that Grouse are always connected to a particular source of water. This is amplified during the hot month of September when we do most of our Grouse hunting and is especially true on a drought year like we are having this season. When water is scarce and the heat is up, be sure those Grouse are within several hundred yards of a water source.
Berry fields are another big piece of the formula. Snow Berries, Choke Cherries, and Currants are a favorite for Grouse and a major food source, along with insects like Grasshoppers and some seeds, aspen leaves and pine needles. These later foods are ingested as the ripe Berries begin to vanish from the woods. During drought years, berry fields can be harder to find rich with fruit, but look in shady groves on hillsides and on the edges of Aspen groves.
Now, just find a hillside, avalanche shoot or stream bank that has water, and berries and is in a quiet place, and let your dog hunt! It is good to move quietly and watch your dog intently. Working up a steep hillside you should see your dog begin to track in a straighter and straighter line as they close in on their quarry. Like most covey birds, don’t panic if you can’t get a shot off on the first flush you see, chances are there will be more.
Blue Grouse and Ruffed Grouse are the most common Forest Grouse in the Sun Valley area and as we head toward the desert and farm country at the foothills of the mountains and forest one will encounter Sage Grouse and Sharptail Grouse. These birds are true Grouse, but live a very different life. Check back as we approach fall for more info on hunting these wonderful species as well!