Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Ruffed Grouse Hunting Information

Results of a Successful Grouse HuntEach fall in New York about 75,000 hunters take to the field in pursuit of ruffed grouse making them the second most popular game bird behind wild turkeys. Despite declines in their numbers over the past 40 years, ruffed grouse are still common, particularly in younger forests. They provide excellent hunting opportunities.

Ruffed grouse hunting season runs from October 1st through the last day of February in most areas of the state. In northern New York, the season opens on September 20th and runs through the last day of February. In New York City and Long Island the season is closed. Hunting hours are from sunrise to sunset and the daily bag limit is 4 birds in all areas. For detailed information about season dates in your area, please refer to the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or view the grouse hunting season map.

DEC does not conduct any systematic surveys to monitor grouse populations. However, we recently began two new survey efforts with cooperating hunters to help track grouse distribution and abundance:

  • Cooperator Ruffed Grouse Hunting Log - this survey asks hunters to record their grouse hunting activities including the county where you hunted, how much time you hunted, and the number of birds flushed and harvested. This allows us to estimate flushing rates (grouse flushed/hour) statewide and for major regions of the state. Flushing rates are used to monitor changes in grouse populations.
  • Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey - this survey asks turkey hunters to record the number of grouse they hear drumming during the spring turkey season. The drumming survey provides a harvest-independent index of grouse distribution and abundance during the critical breeding season in the spring. The drumming rate (grouse drumming/hour) is an indicator of grouse population status when viewed over time and over large geographic regions.

If you would like to participate in either survey, please download a survey form from the grouse log or drumming survey web pages, contact us by phone at (518) 402-8883, or send an email.

Attention Woodcock Hunters: You may not shoot woodcock unless you have registered in the Harvest Information Program (HIP). To register, call 1-866-426-3778 or go to the Harvest Information Program website.

More about Ruffed Grouse Hunting Information: