Sage Grouse on Horseback

I don’t think it can get any better than the experience we had hunting sage grouse here at home in Utah on Saturday. Beautiful weather, stunning landscape, devoted family, lots of wild birds, steady mounts, and enthusiastic (if not experienced in the pup’s case) dogs.

We arrived and started saddling the horses before sunrise. Brilliant colors in the east as daylight dawned:

Turned loose, it wasn’t long before we spotted Daisy, motionless in the distance:

Several birds flushed as she was approached on point….one bird got up in shooting range and soared to the west, then north. It kept sailing, long after the shot it seemed. Then in mid flight, we saw it catapult directly heavenward, peak, and come tumbling to the ground. First bird was in the bag, radio collar intact:

Expansive terrain is an understatement. Everyone seemed to sense the huge amount of ground to cover:

It helps to have horses that will ground tie, are accustomed to dogs, flushing birds, and gun fire. Just another day at the office for these three field trial veterans:

Autumn, the season of Nature’s bounty. Breathtaking in every direction:

This hunting trip was special because our nephew, a Marine home on leave, got to ride along and watch the action. He is a hunter at heart and enjoyed the quiet solitude….far removed from his regular, less peaceful duties:

Although experience on sage grouse has been less than on other game birds, skills transferred well and we got plenty of action over the veteran, picking and choosing what to shoot at, and what to let fly:

Doesn’t really matter, Daisy just loves to hunt and find birds…but she appreciated a reward now and then, after she figured out how to carry them :-):

The pup did a really nice job for her first time. You can barely see her on the ridge in the distance:

A closer shot:

Another point…out there somewhere:

Still standing as we got closer:

Perfection doesn’t happen often, but when it does we should embrace it and remember it. We are blessed to live and hunt in such a beautiful place, with the freedoms to enjoy and fully participate in the gifts that surround us. Truly, it doesn’t get any better than hunting sage grouse on horseback:

I hope all of you are enjoying your hunting seasons and finding success!


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Andy W. says:

    Kim, I too love sage grouse hunting this time of year. Thanks for a great post. Andy

  2. Awesome photos! Well said…and looks like fun! I love gaited horses!

  3. Dale Hernden says:

    Nothing to say but WOW!

  4. Kim Sampson says:

    Hey, thanks guys! This is the BEST time of year, I hope you are all enjoying it with your dogs and good people!Shawn, in these circumstances (also in field trials) a good horse is an important part of the team! Most of the hunting I do here locally (chukar) is too steep and rough for horses, so I really enjoyed being able to hunt sage grouse this way.Have a great season!KimKim

  5. KimWhat a wonderful story! Daisy sure looks good and so does the Sampson family, horses included. Shoot, don't worry about Daisy pickin' up those mega grouse, let Curtis go get 'em. Looks like he could carry five or six at a time.I hope I get to go with Shawn one more time next year in Colorado for sage grouse. The Feds have been asked to close them off and put them on the Endangered Species List by a bunch of do-gooder "anti" everythings. It would be a real shame if that happened. We need to pray for the birds and for our freedoms to be preserved.

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