I just returned to Iowa from a family wedding in Pocatello, Idaho. After catching up at work and around the house, I logged onto the internet searching for early bird reports for the region. A bird hunter just can't visit that country without longing to hunt it. Not that the Pocatello area is great bird hunting but it is the doorway to great bird hunting.
I've hunted small corners of Nevada, Oregon and Idaho for the past several years and changed my perception of what I once believed great upland bird hunting opportunity to be. (I say "small corners" because there's only so much ground a guy can cover with a flusher in 7-10 day trips). Yes, there can be incredible bird hunting from North Dakota through Kansas and the Great Lakes states and I've had phenomenal bird hunts all around my mid-western home. But the diversity of birds, topography and mini-climates of the high desert are an experience unlike anywhere else in the country.
From Eastern Washington through California and more limited in Utah through Montana a hunter can experience everything from desert quail to mountain grouse along with chukar, huns, pheasants, sharptails and sage grouse. And daily bag and possession limits literally dwarf those of the mid-western states. I know, I know, everyone doesn't care to shoot a big pile of birds, but that's not all that these liberal limits offer. They offer the opportunity to hunt, and hunt and hunt. Opportunity for the best hunting day of you and your dog's lives and the opportunity to just bag a few birds a day and still, late in the trip, have enough room on a license for a last incredible day.
So, if you've never been.....go!! And from the reports I'm hearing this may be the year to plan your introduction to high desert hunting!