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Where to find Spruce Grouse?

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  • Where to find Spruce Grouse?

    Have any forum members actually encountered spruce grouse in their travels in the ADKs?

    I encourage all ruffed grouce hunters to aquire the ability to very accurately differentiate between ruffed grouse and spruce grouse in order to avoid killing a highly vulnerable species. In fact, I would encourage ruffed grouse hunters to avoid their hunt in areas where spruce grouse reside and breed.

    Does anyone have insight on where those areas may be?

  • #2
    Around 20 years ago or so, while looking for property to purchase - I did come across a spruce grouse. I was within 20 ft of it and can see why they are so easy to kill. This was around 15-18 miles north of Paul Smiths.
    Ahh............Wilderness.......

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    • #3
      Originally posted by fractalnature View Post
      Have any forum members actually encountered spruce grouse in their travels in the ADKs?

      I encourage all ruffed grouce hunters to aquire the ability to very accurately differentiate between ruffed grouse and spruce grouse in order to avoid killing a highly vulnerable species. In fact, I would encourage ruffed grouse hunters to avoid their hunt in areas where spruce grouse reside and breed.

      Does anyone have insight on where those areas may be?
      Lots of info in the Spruce Grouse Recovery Plan on the DEC web site:

      Spruce grouse are a smaller, darker cousin of the ruffed grouse.


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      • #4
        i was lucky to spot a spruce grouse hen with chicks on the private trails of the elk lake property. this was june of 2022.

        i have seen ruffed grouse in a variety of places in the adirondacks and i see them a handful of times per year near my home in the berkshires. there is a100' stretch of appalachian trail in my town where i have seen them probably ten separate times so i am guessing that they live/burrow/nest quite close nearby.

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        • #5
          We ran into some grouse near the summit of Pharaoh Mountain 2 years ago. When it took off it scared the hell out of my son. I am glad he had that experience.

          Are Spruce grouse the only grouse that scare the hell out of you? Or do other grouse do that too?

          We ran into another one at Fish Brook Pond near Lake George last year.

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          • #6
            I've looked at DEC's request, but have never seen a spruce grouse in many years of hiking in grouse habtat. Ruffed grouse (what we have always called partridge) are common. They will typically attempt to hide from you until the last possible moment as you approach, wnen tney explode up near you (hold your heart). During winter in heavy snow they may even more surprisingly explode up from just in front of your foot as you walk in deep snow where they hide protected in the relatiively warmer holes they create in snow. Look for 4-6" diamater holes in the surface of smooth snow cover near spruce thickets.
            "Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." -Walt Whitman

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bunchberry View Post
              Are Spruce grouse the only grouse that scare the hell out of you? Or do other grouse do that too?
              Only Ruffed Grouse, the common species, does that. When frightened, it flushes from its hiding place, takes off, and scares people who didn't know it was there.

              The Spruce Grouse just freezes in place in that situation. If you aren't looking very carefully, you could pass quite close to it and never know it was there.

              We have both species here in Vermont, but the range of the Spurce Grouse is much narrower than that of the Ruffed Grouse. I would expect the same to be true in the ADKs.

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              • #8
                We have both here in Keene, in the ADKs. We had a Spruce Grouse roosting in a tree behind the house some years ago. It was very still and quiet. If you did not look carefully, you would think it was just some tangled dry branches.

                We call the Ruffed Grouse the "Heart Attack Bird" for it noisy and sudden eruption from the forest floor as one approaches. Always fun!

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                • #9
                  Since like 1984 I thought ruffed grouse were spruce grouse. I am so happy to be corrected!

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