Hunting > Upland & Waterfowl

Untapped Upland Bird Hunting

Get out of the heartland’s pheasant and bobwhite breadbasket this year; instead, target a different gamebird in each Western state.

Rocks littered the landscape like a rock garden on steroids. I was stunned I hadn’t twisted my ankle in the boulder-strewn environment. Plus, I’d had more than my fair share of personal encounters with spiky chollas and prickly pear cactus. How anything survived in this wasteland was a miracle, yet the whir of wings at the edge of the arroyo cut short my griping and returned me to the hunt at hand.

I swung my Smith & Wesson side-by-side to knock one scaled quail from the sky while my partner, Robb Carter, picked out a second. We were hunting the deserts of southern New Mexico with the help of the Santa Fe Guiding Company. My South Dakota roots quarreled within me on the sanity of finding upland game in such an inhospitable environment, but I couldn’t argue with the plump pile of feathers at my feet.

If you’re addicted to the upland hunting opportunities found in America’s breadbasket of the Great Plains, as I am, you might be missing out on upland opportunities in the grandeur of the West. You can’t argue with the phenomenal ringneck pheasant found in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa or Kansas, but consider the following options.

From the Rockies to the Pacific you have opportunities for at least three varieties of quail, ringneck pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, sage grouse, blue grouse, spruce grouse, ruffed grouse, Hungarian partridge, chukar and doves. Toss in a couple oddballs like ptarmigan or Himalayan snowcock and you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to fill your game bag. Luckily, the West’s astounding backdrops will calm your craziness during the quest. Do you need some coaxing? Download the PDF....

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