Photo © Keith Anderson

Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed grouse are a native forest grouse which rely on multiple age classes of aspen for their primary habitat. In South Dakota they only occur within the Black Hills National Forest. They are most abundant in the northern Black Hills where aspen are more abundant. The extent of aspen in the Black Hills has declined since European settlement due to fire suppression, forest management, and livestock grazing. Current Forest Service plans have goals of increasing aspen which would benefit ruffed grouse. Hunting this native game bird can be challenging because of the thick timber habitat it prefers. When a ruffed grouse flushes, the hunter often only gets a glimpse of a bird exiting through the thick brush and trees. Ruffed grouse are prized for their table fare.

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