Ruffed Grouse Covert - A Sporting Classics Daily Story


Once upon a time Bob Sohrweide had a ruffed grouse cover. He’d had other covers before and since but this one was his best. Bob found it in his eighth grade Latin class. Let me tell you…

As Bob walked into his classroom, he overheard Robbie Trotta finishing a story to Aram Schroeder. “And those birds busted up all around my dirt bike. Made a noise like a loud window shade going up fast. Brrrrrrup. Five, six of them. Scared the crap out of me and I slid the bike into an apple tree.”

Bob put his briefcase on his desk and turned to the boys. “Where was this, Robbie?”

“Up in the old apple orchard above my house. I have a bike trail that I ride along that ridge.”

“What’d the birds look like, Robbie?”

“Brown, the size of a small chicken, with a band along the tail. I got a real close look at ‘em. They got up all ‘round me. I thought they were pheasants, but Dad said they were pa’tridge.”

“Thanks, Robbie. Who’s picking you up after soccer practice?”

“My Dad.”

“Well, I want to talk to him about those birds.”

“Sure thing. We won’t leave ‘til you see him.”

Bob smiled and nodded at Robbie, picked up a piece of chalk and turned his attention to the class.

“Let’s talk about third declension nouns.”

Two days later, on a cool, blue-sky Saturday afternoon, Bob followed a scampering Boykin spaniel up Robbie’s bike trail to the crest of the ridge. Bob’s hunting partner and the owner of Tessie, Jim Heath, was coaching a football game that afternoon, but upon hearing Bob’s plan to hunt/scout a new bird covert Jim had lent Bob Tessie for the afternoon’s hunt.

“She needs a workout,” Jim said. “She hasn’t been out bird hunting for ten days. Football practice and games get in the way.”

“I’ll give her a good one,” Bob said. “It’s a long walk to the top and Robbie says that it’s thick cover up there. Whether we see birds or not, Tessie’ll sleep tonight.”

Bob walked up the ridge watching Tessie work the thin undergrowth between the mature trees. He carried his twenty-gauge Ithaca over/under at port arms, with thumb ready on its tang safety, and listened to the merry music of the dog’s small cowbell. If a bird flushed, he meant to be ready.

Bob took his time walking the long way up to the flat plateau on top of the ridge. He picked his way through several clumps of blow-down in a gully, letting Tessie work her way through the brush ahead of him. The ground cover was sparse, the forest mature, with no apple or pine trees in sight. Not much of a place for a ruffie, but a great place for Tessie to run off some energy before they got to the cover on top that Robbie had described.

“There’s apple trees, barberries, pines, a small creek, a marsh, thorn bushes, a cellar hole,” Robbie said. “The birds got up out of the apple trees and flew for the pines. Five, six of ‘em. One after another. I got a good look.”

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A Lifetime of Grouse and Woodcock Hunting with English Setters Hardcover – January 15, 2020


Interest in bird dogs was planted as a seed in Rodger Lundell when he saw his first grouse flush at age five. From the mid-1940s to present, grouse and woodcock hunting has served as his major diversion on a year-round basis, hunting in season and developing his English setters, which includes continuous conditioning. A Lifetime of Grouse and Woodcock Hunting celebrates the great joy of spending time in the outdoors and hunting wildlife, especially with English setters.

Survival tactics of the ruffed grouse

 Written By: Blane Klemek

Minnesota is home to four native grouse species—ruffed grouse, spruce grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, and greater prairie chicken. All four occupy distinct habitats with some overlap occurring, particularly between ruffed grouse and spruce grouse and between sharp-tailed grouse and prairie chickens. The former pair are considered “forest grouse” whereas the latter pair are considered “prairie grouse.”

The most widely recognized and observed species of the four birds is the ruffed grouse. Most abundant in the north half of the state, “ruffies” are so named for the black collar of feathers located on the birds’ necks. Males erect their ruffs and fan their tails during courtship displays, giving them an impressive and handsome appearance. 

All grouse belong to a group of birds collectively referred to as “gallinaceous” birds, or those birds belonging to the avian order Galliformes. You’ll recognize many other closely related gallinaceous species, too. Among them are wild turkey, ring-necked pheasant, and northern bobwhite. And all share basic body types and certain behaviors. If you think of grouse and other gallinaceous species as chicken-like birds, you’d be right!

One of the most interesting behaviors that grouse share with one another has to do with how they thermoregulate their bodies. Put another way, in the manner they stay warm in the winter during the coldest days and nights and when stormy weather occurs. Grouse engage in a unique roosting behavior that takes full advantage of the insulative qualities that snow provides. 

Somehow eons ago grouse figured out that burrowing into snow provided superior protection from inclement weather and predators. Indeed, inside the confines of a snow roost can be as much as 50 degrees warmer than the outside ambient temperature, not to mention the snow roost providing grouse complete protection from dangerous wind chill.

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How To Miss A Ruffed Grouse - Video


This is from a couple of years ago.  We were hunting north of Deer River MN

Focus Outdoors National Hunt MN Ruffed Grouse Hunting with RGS Video

Focus Outdoors National Hunt MN Ruffed Grouse Hunting with RGS Video