Michigan’s great outdoors are home to many outstanding hunting opportunities. The state’s ruffed grouse get scores of resident and nonresident hunters afield each fall, and with good reason.
Hunting Great Lakes grouse can be one of the best ways to spend a fall day. You don’t need a ton of gear—yourself, a trusty shotgun, a pocketful of shells, some hunter’s orange, and perhaps a good dog will do. A grouse hunt is never a waste of time, even when you don’t bag any of the tasty birds.
Grouse can elusive, but if you simply open your ears, it’s often quite easy to find them.
Where to find them
As with many other game birds, grouse like cover. My favorite tactic is to find overgrown areas that were clear-cut several year earlier. Young birch trees in particular seem to attract good numbers of grouse.
Grouse can be found throughout the state, but for many of us, the Upper Peninsula holds a special place in our hearts. Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s online editor from St. Paul, Minnesota, knows exactly where he’s headed come fall.
“Felch in the Upper Peninsula is one of those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it burgs—a church, a bar, and a softball field,” Hauck said. “Actually, I’m not sure about the church or the softball field. But I’m sure about the bar, sure about the never-tasted-better cheeseburgers, and sure about the grouse and woodcock. I’d risk personal injury from my hunting partners if I told you exactly which direction we went from there, but the good news is you can’t go wrong whichever way [you go]. Then, pick a road or a trail and follow the best compass of all: your birdy dog.”
Having lived in nearby Gwinn while in college, I can attest to the area’s amazing grouse hunting. That area tops my list, too. For Lower Peninsula hunters, I have never had a bad hunt in the Manistee National Forest anywhere near the Manistee River, or around Baldwin.