Ruffed grouse season requires higher tolerance for cold weather than others
By Ken Blomberg
The forecast was for another three to five inches of snow. In the woods, there was nearly a foot of old, crusty snow. The ruffed grouse hunting season ended this week Tuesday, and I still had the urge to hunt. Not many grouse hunt this time of the year, but by tradition, I always find time for an annual season-ending hunt.
By the time Buster, my cocker spaniel, and I hit the woods – following a trail plowed in by loggers earlier in the month – snow was coming down hard. The temperature was 14 degrees Fahrenheit. We flushed no birds. We spotted nary a track in the snow.
The Mead State Wildlife Area, just down the road, is a perfect location to cure our need for just one last hunt. I have no illusions, late season grouse hunting is not easy. Unlike glorious walks through colorful October woods, looking for grouse in the dead of winter is difficult, to say the least.
I recall hunting on snowshoes in my younger years – the only way to go when snow depths were knee-deep. These days, it’s more a labor of love than productive. Looking back at 48 years of grouse hunting, I remember only shooting a few during late season.
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