Ruffed grouse numbers stay stable

Ruffed grouse hunter numbers have remained unchanged for two years at 93,000. The familiar northland bird remains Minnesota’s most popular small game species according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Last year’s grouse harvest was 401,000 birds – down slightly from the 10-year peak of 465,000 achieved in 2010 – but still one of the three highest annual harvests in those ten years.

Grouse populations tend to fluctuate in 10-year cycles and this cycle’s decline has already started. This year’s season opens September 15. Minnesota has better grouse hunting than almost any other state.