The reports were correct this year in the mid-west, on the Ruffed Grouse being on their down side of their cycle, but this was offset by the good weather in the spring resulting in a good hatch. I hunted the Upper Peninsula of Michigan the past two weeks, and found Grouse numbers just a little less, than last year. The Woodcock numbers however were way up in the areas where we were hunting.
I logged in 23 hours of Bird hunting and had an average flush rate of 3.4 Grouse per hour, and 5.8 Woodcock per hour.
My hunting partner and I hunted without dogs, and still managed a harvest of about 10% of the birds flushed. I know this doesn’t sound like much to people that don’t hunt Ruffed Grouse, but trying to hit a bird that will let you walk by and flush behind you, explode from the ground or from a tree when you least expect it, wait until you are tangled in briar patch or aspen thicket, before flushing. And when you do flush one and have the room to bring the gun up, they still manage to put a tree between you and them.
Makes you think that just being able to get a grouse is surprising, but when you do, it’s so rewarding. That’s why I love Grouse hunting.