If you like to hunt ruffed and dusky grouse, Jason Robinson has good news: The number of forest grouse in Utah is similar to, or higher, than it was last fall.
You can pursue forest grouse in Utah through the end of the year. Three additional upland game hunts — dove, cottontail rabbit and snowshoe hare — are also in progress.
Division of Wildlife Resources biologists don’t conduct forest grouse surveys, but they watch closely for grouse when they’re working in forest grouse habitat.
“It appears the number of forest grouse is as good, or better, than it was last fall,” said Robinson, upland game coordinator for the DWR. “I think forest grouse hunters will have a good hunt.”
Some of the best areas to hunt this fall include Cache County and areas near Cedar City.
Robinson said several factors have led to the good bird numbers: A mild winter at higher elevations that allowed plenty of adult birds to survive; dry weather in June that provided a climate that allowed newly hatched chicks to survive; and rain at higher elevations in July that provided the chicks with plenty of forbs and insects to eat.
Ruffed grouse are usually found in or close to stands of aspen trees. They’re especially attracted to stands that have lots of young aspen trees in them. Aspen stands that also have shrubs with berries and a water source nearby are especially attractive.
Dusky grouse live in higher elevations. A good spot to look for them is the transition zone where aspen tree stands transition into conifer forest. Ridgelines that have pine and Douglas fir trees on them are also attractive areas.