Tis the season for a winter walk in the woods grouse hunting


« Back

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources December 14, 2015 News Release

A ruffed grouse hunter walks through woods with young aspen and pines. While stopping for a moment on the sunny day, deep silence is broken by the sound of chickadees.  

“In the December woods, a grouse hunter can get a break from a busy schedule and find peace in the fresh air,” said Ted Dick, ruffed grouse specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “The woods this time of year are uncrowded and you never know what wildlife you might see.”

Grouse season is open through Sunday, Jan. 3. This year’s warmer temperatures and light snow cover have made it easier to get around in the woods. Grouse hunting doesn’t require much gear – pack a small game license, shotgun, some decent boots and warm clothes.

“Late-season grouse hunting is different, and challenging. There are fewer birds, and survivors are often warier and more easily spooked. Each bird harvested is considered a trophy,” Dick said.

Once there is adequate snow, grouse roost beneath the snow for much of the day, and often come out into the trees at dusk.

For places to hunt, Minnesota has 528 wildlife management areas in the ruffed grouse range that cover nearly 1 million acres, 50 designated ruffed grouse management areas and 600 miles of hunter walking trails. State, county and federal forests also provide an abundance of opportunity. This past fall, the DNR created a new web page that allows hunters to easily access information on the state’s ruffed grouse management areas. To find more tips on how and where to hunt, see the grouse hunting page.

Note: Ted Dick's forest game bird coordinator position and the DNR ruffed grouse management area web page are partially funded by the Ruffed Grouse Society. His contact information appears on the RGS Biologists page.

Mission Statement

Established in 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society is North America's foremost conservation organization dedicated to preserving our sporting traditions by creating healthy forest habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and other wildlife. RGS works with landowners and government agencies to develop critical habitat utilizing scientific management practices.

Join & Renew

Sign Up

Corporate Sponsors