Varying Reports for MN Grouse…

September 27, 2011 | By | 1 Reply More

Early season in MN? (Okay, it's a short of a jungle somewhere....)


Is the ruffie hunting in Minnesota off to a slow start or not? Probably depends where, when and how you’re hunting – just like it always does – plus the amount of leafy and green vegetation still there. But nonetheless reports vary.

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

> It’s way too early to call this year’s ruffed grouse season a bust – the best hunting always occurs after the leaves have fallen. But many reports from opening weekend were less than encouraging.

> “You could call it spotty,” said Ted Dick, grouse specialist with the Department of Natural Resources. “We have had some good reports, but we’ve also had our share of pretty bad reports.”

> The bad reports are surprising because the spring drumming counts showed the birds should still be at peak population levels. But those counts of adult male birds don’t reflect nesting success, or failure, later in the spring.

> “It’s too bad it wasn’t better,” Dick said. “But you can’t judge the season by that first weekend. I’m telling people not give up yet. It will get better.”

> Generally, hunters found more birds farther north.

On the other hand, we’ve gotten a few reports from hunters that were good, as in 8+ flushes per hour good.

Observations Re: the Above

1. Ruffie hunting is always toughest in the early season. They run, they flush far out, etc. A conservation officer in the Virginia, MN area (NE MN) reported that “hunters are reporting seeing more and more birds as the amount of foliage decreases, but few are being taken.”

2. Grouse are where they are – where you find them. If they’re not in what has been a perennially good cover, keep walking. You’ll find ’em.

3. Hunting is better in the northern part of just about any major grouse state, and it may be better in the north now because some leaves are down up there.

4. We wonder if grouse are changing covers due to changing weather patterns.

In other words, we fail to see the significance of this early reporting. Let’s check back in with MN in another 2-3 weeks…and remember that even not-so-good hunting in MN beats the pants off grousing in most other states.


Category: 2011-12 reports, Hunt reports, MN, Ruffed Grouse

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  1. Mark Murray says:

    Walked 5-6 hrs each day opening weekend 9-17 in N. MN & flushed 3 birds. No shots. Too much cover. Hunted same area last weekend & flushed 8-10 each outing & shot 5 ruffies. Did not see any woodies. Leaves are now 60-70% down…still a fair amount of ground cover…have 11 mo old pointing lab first time on live birds appears to be a grouse maniac..made 2 great retrieves on birds we did not think we hit…nearly wet myself!! Biggest challenge of the season is figuring out how to work less & hunt more…any ideas? Help!

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