Upland Bird Hunting


Active Member
With only 38 days to bird hunting season I'm beginning to show signs of "Hunter's ADD"...I can't focus on anything else! My dog is 8 months old and has survived "my novice dog training" course...with every retrieve and "dead bird" find I'm becoming more manic. With friends and family members complaining of it being already the end of July I'm mumbling my anxiousness of wishing it was FALL! Hell I've already started taking my fall / winter clothes out...or did I ever put them away?

So with a meager 38 days left I'm researching where to go and I have three questions for the experienced Washington State hunter.

1.) Is there an ideal elevation for forest grouse on the wet side? Or does cover / food govern? I've read posts stating new growth forests, poplar stands or alder stands, side of roads, and creek beds. However nobody has mentioned elevation?

2.) Does anyone have land or a contact that they would be willing to charge me access to on the east side? Seriously...you can stop laughing at me now...doesn't hurt to ask :confused:

3.) This is actually part of number two...I'm worried about taking my pup to a realease site since they are crowded and have too many distractions...what have other people done with their dogs first day out?

Itchy Dog

Some call me Kirk Werner
A good option for a greenhorn dog is one of those pay to hunt places where you basically buy a few roosters and they plant them for you, and you go out with your dog and flush 'em up. It's not my cup of tea, but I'm considering doing it one time this year because my dog and son are both beginners.

Avoid the release sites like the plague, unless you go in the afternoon when all the "hunters" have cleared out. If there's a bird or two left, you'll have to really work for it so it'd be almost like real hunting.


Idiot Savant
Andrew, I'll be hoofing down the old trails around our place above Oroville for the opener. Since the 1st is a Saturday, so will every other Tom, Dick, and Harry...

Your welcome to come over and join me if you like...
Get that pup in to birds asap and often. There really can't be too much exposure! This time of year you're kind of limited because of the heat. Reecer Creek and Cooke Canyon (both near Ellensburg, google them for more info) are probably shut down. I recomend that you buy some birds (hens are cheaper and work just as well) from a preserve and work your dog with them.

The westside release sites are an accident waiting to happen. There was a dog shot in face and killed a couple years ago at one. Too many people, dogs, distractions. Not good for a puppy.

While you guys are looking for grouse, I'll be gunning for dove. Love it!


Active Member
The idea of taking her to the BP site scares the crap out of me...I just see her "balls to the wall" heading out to people, and not getting her back! I have been thinking of calling 'Cook Canyon Hunt Club'...I've been told that they will release and flag birds for "newbies". I am training her right now with live pigeons...I tether them to the ground and apply pheasant scent and let her work the field.

If nothing else I'll take her during the week to a release site and bring the 40' tether just in case!

Thanks all!
I don't know about the west side for grouse, but the ridges seem to work best for me. East of Cascades
(this is for blue grouse) I go as high as I can by driving and pick a spot where the road crosses the ridge and walk the ridge, also a good way to intro the pup to hunting with you without distractions.
Ruffies seem to like the creek bottoms.
Frankies are up high and close to a water source.
I try to avoid the release sites unless it's a week day and few people are there. Also I don't know about the west side Pheasant sites, damn few wild pheasants on the west side.
PM me sometime when you want to hunt the dry side and we can try it, also bring your fly gear for some blast and cast.
best wishes for a happy hunting season
It may be a long drive for you but the Lake Terrell game area has a bird dog training season and releases birds starting in late agu. You can go there for free well after you buy your hunting licence. They put out birds on a regular basis ussally in the eveinings and have a few diffrent types of cover. Use a blank gun no killing but the dogs enjoy it and the weather is cool here most of the time. The area is out side of Ferndale wa, and pluse some good top water bass fishing with your fly rod.

Good Luck


Active Member
Gary...thanks for the tips, as well as, the offer! Can't say what the future holds...but seriously shoot me an email and I will see if I can get a pass!

Joe...Lake Terrell is a few minutes drive North...I'm in Bellingham...so that is awesome! I'll have to check into it for sure!
Also, don't be afraid to call up the WDFW office in the region you are interested in hunting. If you are able to get the person on the line who manages game birds for that area, you will be amazed with the information they will give you - afterall it's their job and I have found most to be enthusiastic about helping me out. I found my favorite chukar hill that way. :D