Dusky grouse are named after the bluish-gray appearance of the male. In Arizona grouse are found in the mixed conifer and aspen forests above 8,500 feet. As a consequence, these birds are only found in the White and Escudilla mountains, north Kaibab, and the San Francisco Peaks where they were introduced in the mid- 1970s.
An additional transplant effort is underway to establish dusky grouse on the Mogollon Rim. Males are measurably larger than females, 2-year-old “cocks” weigh up to 3 pounds as opposed to the adult female’s average weight of between 1.75 to 2 pounds. In comparison, first year birds or poults typically weigh only 16 to 28 ounces during the early days of the September hunting season.
Dusky grouse in Arizona do not migrate downhill during the winter months as they do in the more northern states. Instead, they spend the winter roosting in Douglas-fir trees, subsisting on needles until spring when the males form small “leks” or strutting grounds, which they occupy from April through June. Oftentimes these leks are located on a fallen log or in a small clearing in the forest, where the cock attempts to engage any hen that comes his way with soft “hooting” displays and “flutter flights.”
To conserve Arizona’s diverse wildlife resources and manage for safe, compatible outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations.
*Attention dusky grouse hunters: The Department would like to survey dusky grouse hunter participation and success. To do this we are asking hunters to provide an address or email to the Department’s small game biologist, so that they can be surveyed directly after the end of the season. This may be done by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or through U.S. mail to the Department’s main office, and sending it attention to Terrestrial Wildlife Branch.
If you shoot a banded dusky grouse, report your harvest here. The information you provide helps with the management of the species.
Rules and regulations for hunting in Arizona.
Regulations for spring hunts, fall hunts and pronghorn, elk hunts.