Guest blogger: Ted Dick, forest game bird coordinator, shares his expertise on hunting Minnesota’s most popular game bird – Ruffed Grouse. With over 1 million public accessible acres to hunt. The Grand Rapids area is the perfect grouse hunting destination.
In September, when the leaves are turning and there is a chill in the morning air, if you’re looking for a good excuse to get outdoors and out of town here is a perfect one: grouse hunting.
The ruffed grouse is considered the “king of game birds”. It’s a challenge to pursue, a thrill to witness on the wing and the ultimate wild game entrée.
Minnesota is the top ruffed grouse-producing state in the lower 48. Itasca county alone has over a million acres of public land you can explore, and it also is home to several prominent Ruffed Grouse Management Areas. You can find maps of these location HERE. Another great resource is the National Ruffed Grouse Society. You can follow them on Facebook. Check out their website HERE.
Ruffed grouse can be found in just about any of Minnesota’s forests, but a hunter would be well-advised to focus on mixed forests containing both deciduous and coniferous species. Focus on areas where you find mixed ages of trees. Grouse will use different ages and sizes of trees at different times of the day or year. Grouse often hide in the thickest vegetation – we joke that if you trip in good grouse habitat you won’t hit the ground because the dense growth will hold you up.
Interested? All you really need is a hunting license, sturdy footwear, a shotgun and a box of ammunition. When checking new areas, it’s smart to carry the right maps and bring along a GPS, compass or phone with GIS capabilities. If you have questions or want additional tips, you can find more on the DNR grouse hunting page at mndnr.gov/hunting/grouse. The Ruffed Grouse Society is a conservation organization that improves habitat and hunting opportunities in northern MN. Look them up or come to an RGS banquet and meet some grouse hunters who live near you!
There are many places to stay while hunting in the Grand Rapids, Minnesota area. Check out our STAY page for a complete list and contact information.