Native to Nevada, the blue grouse is 15 to 21 inches in length. Adults have a long square tail that is gray at the end. The males are mainly dark with a yellow or purplish throat air sac. Adult females of both species are mottled brown with dark brown and white marks on the under parts.
Two species of blue grouse—dusky and sooty—are recognized by the American Ornithologists’ Union. A genetic study suggests that Nevada has both subgroups of blue grouse (sooty in the west and dusky in the central and eastern portions of the state). The 2012-13 blue grouse hunting season will be the first time that Nevada has classified its blue grouse into “dusky” and “sooty” categories.
The 10-year average blue grouse harvest in Nevada is 1,665. Approximately 1,200 sportsmen actively pursue the species annually. The most popular time to hunt blue grouse is in September when other upland game seasons have yet to begin, and are most commonly found in northeastern Nevada in places like the Ruby Mountains and Jarbidge Wilderness Area.
Although native, the species has a relatively limited distribution throughout the state. Blue grouse require winter range of conifers and a summer range that is diverse, with a vegetative community of mountain shrub, mountain mahogany, aspen, and limber pine stands. These factors often limit blue grouse populations to remote, forested areas.
During mating season the male sooty grouse will often perch on a log or post and call out with a loud booming hoot that can be heard from a considerable distance. Conversely, dusky grouse booming is barely audible to the human ear, and one needs to be relatively close to a male in the spring to hear its call. #NVWildlife
For more information on the Blue Grouse, along with hunting permitting information click HERE or dial the Nevada Department of Wildlife at 855-542-6369.
Surveying Nevada's Fiercest Forest Raptor With Wildlife Diversity Biologist Mackenzie Jeffress