FALL IN NORTHERN WISCONSIN means several things: leaves that erupt in a cacophony of color that can rival anywhere in the world, Green Bay Packer football, and hunting. For me, hunting has always meant chasing Ruffed Grouse with my dad and the dog along the old lumber roads that spider web through the forests surrounding Mercer, Wisconsin (pop. 1,342).
The Ruffed Grouse, scientifically known as Bonsa umbellus, is one wily bird. One of 10 grouse species native to North America, the Ruffed Grouse is one of the smallest of the grouse family, ranging in size from 17-25oz, slightly larger than a common pigeon. They’re considered the most widely distributed game bird in North America, currently residing in all the Canadian provinces and 39 of the continental 48 states.
Widely distributed they may be, but speak to anyone who’s spent time in pursuit of the Ruffed Grouse and you’ll hear about how difficult it can be to find and shoot them. Days are spent wading through brush and pushing through brambles only to be rewarded with hearing a bird take off nearby in deep cover, gone so quickly you’re lucky to get a glimpse, much less a shot.
This post was produced in partnership with our friends at Gerber, whose gear is stoking out the Matador Ambassadors.