Grouse hunting

News & notices

Mangement areas

Ruffed grouse management areas are a great destination for the hunter looking to experience grouse and woodcock hunting. Located throughout the primary grouse range, these areas are managed to promote suitable habitat conditions for these species.

Hunter walking trails

Check out our searchable directory of hunter walking trails. These trails provide comparatively easy access to grouse and woodcock areas, winding their way through Wildlife management areas and sometimes connecting with state forests and other public hunting lands.

You need blaze clothing

Grouse hunters must wear at least one visible article of clothing above the waist that is blaze orange or pink. This could be a hat, jacket or hunting vest. Remember to stay abreast when walking with other hunters in the woods so you remain visible and behind the line of fire.


Ruffed & spruce grouseSept. 17-Jan. 1, 2022
Hungarian partridgeSept. 17-Jan. 1, 2022
Sharp-tailed grouse, northwest zoneSept. 17-Nov. 30
Sharp-tailed grouse, east-central zoneClosed *
WoodcockSept. 24-Nov. 7
* Significant population declines and changing habitat have prompted changes in the east-central zone.

Shooting hours

½ hour before sunrise to sunset (Sunrise and sunset data)



Ruffed & spruce grouse5 combined
Hungarian partridge5
Sharp-tailed grouse3


Ruffed & spruce grouse10 combined
Hungarian partridge10
Sharp-tailed grouse6

Ranges & zones

Map showing Minnesota's ruffed grouse range.

Map showing Minnesota's spruce grouse range.

Map showing Minnesota's sharp-tailed grouse range.

Map showing Minnesota's woodcock range.

Map showing Minnesota's sharp-tailed grouse hunting zones.

    Sharp-tailed zones

Minnesota's sharp-tailed grouse hunting zones

The shaded area is closed to sharp-tailed grouse hunting, except for licensed prairie chicken hunters within their selected zone. The east-central zone is closed to all sharp-tailed grouse hunting during the season.

Work the swamp edges when hunting ruffed grouse and you're bound to find woodcock, which often share the same woods with their drumming cohorts.

Northwestern Minnesota is home to isolated populations of Hungarian partridge.


Spruce grouse genetics study needs your help

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
     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].

Learn to hunt

Do you value strong connections to your outdoors and the food you eat? Are you looking for a new way to interact with the fields, woods and waters around you?

Please check out our grouse and woodcock hunting how-to guide to get started.


Hunting is only one aspect of the DNR's effort to manage grouse and woodcock for the public trust. Visit our grouse management page to learn about the things we do to manage grouse for the benefit of all Minnesotans now and into the future.