Autumn 2017 Feature: Road Trip to Eastern Idaho for a Columbian Sharptail Safari

By on July 7, 2017
Upland Almanac feature - Road Trip to Eastern Idaho for Sharptail

Story by Rob Morris

An excerpt from Road Trip to Eastern Idaho: Columbian Sharptail Safari…Say the words sharp-tailed grouse and most bird hunters think of the windswept prairies of the Dakotas, the Sandhills of Nebraska or perhaps the high lonesome of eastern Montana. Historically though, seven subspecies of sharp-tailed grouse were found in two-thirds of the lower 48 states from Michigan to California, Alaska and in the Canadian provinces from Quebec west to the Yukon Territories. The New Mexico sharptail subspecies was declared extinct in 1952, leaving six, some with huntable populations and others reduced to only remnants of their former populations. Good populations of sharptails still exist in the northern Plains states, eastern Montana and Alaska, as well the Intermountain West.

Many bird hunters are surprised that the Mountain West states of Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Colorado boast huntable populations of sharp-tailed grouse. The subspecies found there is the Columbian sharptail, first noticed and categorized as a different subspecies from the Plains sharptail by none other than Lewis and Clark. Of those four states, Idaho is reported to have some of the most robust populations and the longest season.

Read more in the Autumn 2017 Issue of Upland Almanac. <Buy the Upland Almanac Autumn 2017 Issue> or <Subscribe to Upland Almanac>