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Ruffed grouse management

Attention: A region-wide effort to better understand West Nile virus in ruffed grouse is underway in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Learn more HERE.

Further details will be shared as they become available. In the meantime, if you observe sick or dead grouse, please make a note of the specific location and report any observations to your county wildlife biologist.

Each year, biologists, wardens, foresters, members of the Ruffed Grouse Society, and other volunteers conduct ruffed grouse surveys throughout Wisconsin. Drumming surveys are conducted in the spring to detect males. The male ruffed grouse will display on a log, rapidly beating his wings to producing a "drumming" sound with the intention of attracting a female during the breeding season. Ruffed grouse drumming surveys have been used since 1964 as an indicator of population trends. Game bird brood surveys are conducted in July and August, after eggs have hatched and the young birds are a month or two old. Collectively, these two surveys provide a good picture of ruffed grouse production levels and population trends in Wisconsin.

Grouse populations in Wisconsin tend to cycle predictably over a 9 to 11 year period. The 2017 survey results indicate that ruffed grouse have surpassed the population's low point and are headed towards peak population numbers in 2021 or 2022.

Contact information
For information on ruffed grouse management, contact:
Jaqi Christopher
Assistant upland ecologist
Bureau of Wildlife Management
Last revised: Monday June 11 2018