Looking to kill more ruffed grouse? Follow this advice.
1. Finding ruffed grouse is first about finding food sources. Grouse eat a wide variety of foods including buds, leaves, seeds, fruits, berries, acorns and insects. Later in the winter, they almost exclusively live on the dormant buds or catkins of trees such as those on aspens, birches, cherries, ironwood, apples and filberts.
2. The ideal time to hunt a cover is just after frosts and falling leaves begin to open it just enough. This is when you target food sources that attract birds in places with ample cover for them to escape raptors. Old, overgrown apple orchards that still have red apples hanging on almost leafless limbs will make a veteran grouse hunter’s blood warm. Wild grapes, which ripen in October across much of the birds’ range, are another obvious food source to target.
3. As you scout out these places realize that grouse do best where forests are young and growing. Occasional logging and forest fires create quality grouse habitat. Grouse populations fall as forests mature. Old logging roads are classic places to walk because they offer edge habitat through forests.