1. I’ve experienced the grouping of grouse several times.
    Last fall from my deer stand I counted 6 ruffed grouse together, where I had not seen a grouse all season. In another covert in Wisconsin, I flushed 8 birds in one spot during a late season hunt in the snow, and that happened two different years. It’s just one of those mysteries of this remarkable bird. -Joel

  2. Tyler S.

    The only time I’ve gotten into a true covey of ruffed grouse was probably 10 years ago. My father and I were walking “6 Chicken Trail,” named by my father and uncle many moons prior after a particularly fruitful hunt. Until that day, the trail had never lived up to its namesake for me. Dad and I walked the two miles in before the trail dead ended. I can’t recall if we flushed any birds, but I’m certain our bags remained empty. On the way out and about 100 yards from the trailhead, a grouse flushed. So flummoxed and green was I that I quickly emptied my shotgun in a fruitful attempt to connect. The best way I can explain what happened next is as karma in action. No fewer than 10 grouses exploded in ones and twos from the same location. I believe dad took one, but I merely stood there, dumbfounded, a few pathetic swirls of spent gun smoke burping from my barrel. Since then I’ve never flushed more than three birds from a single spot.

    • Northwoods'R

      Now that’s a good one! Love the trail name too. It reminds me of a trail that was named by my dad and uncle as well after an incredible walk the first time we hunted it and some subsequent successful hunts. I’m tempted to save the story for it’s own blog post, so for now I will only say that it involved over 10 birds, both Spruce and Ruffed, and the trail was forever named the “No-Fail Trail.”

  3. 🙂 Nothing but scorn for those bunches when it’s in season says the guy with “too many” dogs. It’s a tough spot when the first 3-4 dogs make contact with 1-3 birds between them all (some none) and then the last one puts up 7. I’ve seen it in the early season and the later stages of the late season here in PA. Put them on limbs on top of that and I’m tempted to toss my gun up over head, walk to the truck and leave before eventually turning back around for the gun and dog.

    Can’t say I agree with his question of a migration history but there’s something to it. And it’s definitely different than birds stacked up on a food source. Sense of security under peaks of predatory pressure like a schooling of fish (providing target overload), flock of turkeys (more sentries to keep watch)? Perhaps. Rest assured, there is certain places in PA where the sound of 5 or more flushing grouse is succeeded by “son of a gun” or “you dirty buggers”.


  4. Mark Herwig (member)

    Many times I’ve run into early season family groups still together, but grouse, like many wildlife, do make local migrations in response to the changing seasons. Grouse move into more mature aspen stands as winter develops.

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