Ruffed grouse hunters are reminded to positively identify their quarry before shooting. The Northern Zone, specifically Wildlife Management Units 5C, 5F, 6F, and 6J, is also home to the spruce grouse. The spruce grouse is a state-endangered species and is not legal to hunt. Loss of a spruce grouse, particularly a female spruce grouse, could be a significant setback for a small local population.
Spruce grouse occur in lowland conifer forests in the Adirondacks. During the fall, spruce grouse frequently make their way to roads to eat gravel and occasionally travel into upland hardwood forests where ruffed grouse occur. Small game hunters in the Adirondack region must be able to distinguish between these species so that spruce grouse are not shot by mistake. For tips on how to discern the two species, view the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or the Ruffed Grouse Hunting Information page on DEC’s website.
DEC is looking for ruffed grouse hunters to submit feathers from harvested birds in order to assess recruitment (number of young produced per adult female grouse) for different parts of the state. Interested hunters should visit the Ruffed Grouse Hunting Information page on DEC’s website.
Photo at top provided by the NYS DEC.