There's more to Minnesota than 10,000 lakes. Try 11 million acres of public hunting land, 528 designated hunting areas in the ruffed grouse range covering nearly 1 million acres, more than 40 designated ruffed grouse management areas and 600 miles of hunter walking trails.
Minnesota offers some of the best grouse hunting in the country. Even in down years of the grouse population's boom-and-bust cycle, hunters in other states still envy our flush rates and hunter success rates remain high.
Grouse already know Minnesota is the perfect place. It's time you did, too.
Spruce grouse genetics study
You can contribute to research on landscape connectivity for spruce grouse by sending three to five feathers from each bird you harvest.
To participate, please use one envelope for each bird and send feathers to Grouse Research at 1201 East Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744. Please include your name, contact information, harvest date, and harvest location (GPS coordinates preferred for the analysis and will not be made public) for each bird.
For more information, email Charlotte Roy at [email protected].
Upland bird calendar
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- Ruffed grouse
What you'll need
Not counting a sturdy pair of boots, a blaze orange hat and vest and a shotgun, all you need to hunt grouse in Minnesota is a valid small game license.
Hunters seeking woodcock must be HIP-certified (done when you purchase your Minnesota license) but do not need state or federal migratory bird stamps. Shotguns may not hold more than three shells unless a plug is used. If you are strictly hunting grouse, you do not need a plug.
Where to hunt
Whether you follow the footsteps of famed grouse researcher Gordon Gullion in the uplands of the 34,000-acre Mille Lacs Wildlife Management Area, traverse the hunting trails of the 1.6 million acre Chippewa National Forest or try your luck in the far northern forests bordering the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Lake Of The Woods, Minnesota grouse won't disappoint.
- Wildlife Management Areas
- Hunter Walking Trails
- Ruffed Grouse Management Areas
- State forests
- Chippewa National Forest
- Superior National Forest
What to hunt
On any given year, grouse is Minnesota’s most popular upland game bird with plentiful populations that cycle up and down every 10 years. But ruffed grouse aren’t the only game birds in the forest. You're also likely to find woodcock in the same habitat. These birds migrate south for the winter and in spring, they return to cuts in alder and willow brush, where they find nesting and feeding habitat.
- Sharp-tailed grouse
Sharp-tailed grouse zones
The northwest sharp-tailed grouse zone is that portion of the state’s open area lying west of the described boundary line: Beginning at the intersection of Voyageurs National Park and the northern boundary of the state; thence along the western boundary of the park to the public access to Lake Kabetogama at Gappa's Landing; thence along County Road 523, St. Louis County, to County State-Aid Highway (CSAH) 123, St. Louis County; thence along CSAH 123 to CSAH 122, St. Louis County; thence along CSAH 122 to U.S. Highway (US) 53, thence along US 53 to State Trunk Highway (STH) 73; thence along STH 73 to the intersection of STH 73 and STH1.
East central zone
The east central sharp-tailed grouse zone is that portion of the state’s open area that is not included in the northwest zone.
Can't hunt? Reserve a viewing blind
Experience the spring mating rituals of sharp-tailed grouse.
Map location Contact 1 Aitkin area wildlife – 218-429-3012 2 Cloquet area wildlife – 218-878-5661 3 & 4 Baudette area wildlife – 218-634-1705, Ext. 222 5 Crookston – 218-686-6872
Viewing blinds will be closed this season
- Spruce grouse
Spruce grouse are found in Minnesota only in the most northern part of the state. They are far more common in Canada, which has plenty of the spruce forests that this bird prefers.