M;;;;;;;; ;; ;;;; ;; ;; ;;;;;;; acres of forest land and 630 miles of walking trails open to
hunters. In the northeast region, the
abundance of young aspen forest and
ongoing timber management make
for excellent grouse habitat, providing
hunters with far more options than
“Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin
are the top grouse-hunting states in
the lower 48, but Minnesota has more
young aspen forest than Wisconsin
and Michigan combined,” explains Ted
Dick, forest game bird coordinator for
the Minnesota Department of Natural
Resources. Grouse hunting starts ge;ing
good 100 miles north of Minneapolis,
he says, and continues to get be;er the
further north you go.
A recent DNR survey found that the
ru;ed grouse is the most popular game
bird in Minnesota, with an annual harvest
averaging more than 500,000 birds. Even
in below average years, hunters in other
states envy Minnesota’s flush rates.
at Its Best
Minnesota’s young aspen forests provide the
best habitat for this popular game bird.
| LORI PETERSON
➭ GROUSE HUNTING
SEASONS & LIMITS
Wayne Jacobson, a Grand Rapids
hotelier, has hosted the National
Ru;ed Grouse and Woodcock Hunt at
his property for more than 30 years.
This prestigious annual hunt a;racts
hunters from all over the world.
Jacobson says the top two reasons
Minnesota is so popular with grouse
hunters are the vast amount of public
hunting land and “more birds to hunt,
even in our down years.”
DNR’s Ted Dick describes grouse as
“the king of game birds,” challenging
hunters to use all their senses. Grouse
hunters need to be careful, quiet and
quick on the draw, but even novices
can pick up the
sport easily. The
needed are a basic
some good boots.
A small game
license is required;
guides and hunting dogs are not.
Minnesota’s fall climate is perfect for
grouse hunting—cool temperatures for
ru;ed grouse and hunters alike. The
leaves begin to change to brilliant hues
of gold and red in mid- to late September.
Grouse hunting success tends to peak
around the second and third week in
October, while there’s still fall color but
a lot of the leaves are o; the trees. That
time of year is also ideal for bringing the
family and combining some fishing and
leaf peeping into your trip.
During peak grouse hunting season,
temperatures can reach below freezing
at night and a pleasant 55 to 60 degrees
by midday. The woods have the fresh,
crisp smell of fall, and the skies are clear
Eric Hanson, who owns a resort
on Lake Vermilion, says his out-of-state hunting guests appreciate the
uncrowded hunting land they find in
northern Minnesota. Rarely do visitors
see a “No Trespassing” sign or other
hunters while they’re out for the day.
SPRUCE GROUSE SHARP-TAILED
SEASON Mid-September to early January Mid-September to late November
LIMITS Five daily, 10 possession Three daily, six possession
Half an hour before sunrise
NO TE Both cock and hen are legal game
Visit mndnr.gov to
buy your license and
download maps of