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Ruffed Grouse Hunting
Ruffed Grouse are found mostly in Canada, but they are also seen in the northeast and northwest regions of the U.S. Ruffed Grouse grow to nearly two feet in length and up to two pounds in weight. Ruffed Grouse are easy to spot due to their large puffy collars of red or black feathers that they have around their neck. The color varies based on the region they are in; black Ruffed Grouse are found in the north in higher altitudes and red are found in the south in lower altitudes. Males also have a solid black band of color on the end of their tail feathers and females have a broken band in the middle.
Ruffed Grouse feed early in the day and again later in the day, while they spend most of the afternoon immobile and under heavy cover. This behavior is very similar to most upland birds. Ruffed Grouse enjoy eating leaves and buds off trees, especially off aspen trees.
The habitat for Ruffed Grouse usually consists of a wooded area with different type of trees. Males tend to stay in the same area, remaining in the same 10 acres throughout their life. Females on the other hand like to be more in the open so they can look out for predators, usually remaining within 40 acres through their life.
Ruffed Grouse are polygamous and throughout mating season, which lasts from March to May, the male perches himself on a log and beats his wings creating a loud drumming noise to attract females and also to repel other males that are trying to invade his territory.
Similar to the Hungarian Partridge, Ruffed Grouse burrow in the snow to survive the winter. Ruffed Grouse will dive-bomb the surface of the snow at high speeds and then burrow closer to the top in order to be able to make a quick escape. Dive bombing into the snow can also lead to death if they dive into snow covered with ice.
Different from other upland birds, Ruffed Grouse don’t run and hide when they sense danger. Ruffed Grouse will jump into a tree or just sit still. This behavior is similar to a Spruce Grouse. Snap shooting is the best way to get a grouse and is often done with a 12 or 20-gauge shot gun with a 6 or 7 1/2 size shot. It is most successful to hunt from the edges of wooded areas instead of the interior.