The public comment period for the DNR’s proposed ruffed grouse long-range management plan begins Thursday, Nov. 17, and ends Monday, Dec. 19. The plan can be found HERE.
With an average annual harvest rate of 519,000 grouse during the past 10 years, Minnesota is one of the nation’s top three ruffed grouse-producing states. The average hunter harvests five birds each year in Minnesota. Annual total harvests have reached 1.2 million birds during peak years.
Minnesota leads the nation in aspen-birch forest type, the preferred habitat of ruffed grouse, and offers more than 11 million acres of federal, state and county land open to public hunting, much of it located within the primary grouse range.
The draft plan’s long-range vision for ruffed grouse in Minnesota includes sufficient quantity, quality, and distribution of habitat to support robust grouse populations throughout the species’ range in the state, according to the DNR. The plan also attempts to address the maintenance of grouse hunter numbers, and quality habitat to support healthy ruffed grouse populations throughout their range.
“Our goal is to ensure the viability of ruffed grouse and their forest habitat, manage grouse as an integral part of Minnesota’s forested landscapes, and encourage and promote hunting and observation of ruffed grouse in their natural habitat,” Cynthia Osmundson, the DNR’s forest wildlife program leader said in a media release.
Public input will be reviewed and considered in January. The final Minnesota ruffed grouse management plan, to be completed in February, will help guide ruffed grouse management during the next 10 years.