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A genetic study suggests that Nevada has both subgroups (sooty and dusky).
Photo: Tim Torell
• 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.
• 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. Males (inset) are mainly dark with a yellow or purplish throat air sac. Adult females (below) of both species are mottled brown with dark brown and white marks on the under parts.
• The 10-year average blue grouse harvest in Nevada is 1,665. About 1,200 sportsmen hunt the species annually. The most popular time to hunt blue grouse is in September when other upland game seasons have yet to begin.
• Although native, the species has a relatively limited distribution throughout the state. Blue grouse require a 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.
This information is provided by the Nevada Department of Wildlife. ndow.org, 775-688-1500
The blue (dusky and sooty) grouse and ruffed grouse are considered upland game species. There are two separate seasons in 2012. Refer to ndow.org/hunt for specific grouse hunting regulations.