If you haven't eaten Ruffed Grouse on a bed of wild rice and morel sauce with a Woodcock pate ....you haven't lived! This gelatinous bird has been my love since the 1960's. I do not have the physical capabilities of hunting it today, but I still dream of those warm October afternoons with Ole Max my German Short Hair pointer who enjoyed it as much as I did.
Fly-fishing gets me close to this bird. He thrives along the river edge eating the catkins. You might see one fly across the river, but you are more likely to hear him drum. It is his territorial claim and is done on a " drumming Log ", the sound is made by the pumping of his wings that creates a noise that starts slow, increases in speed ...then slows down again.
The sound resembles some one trying to start a chainsaw or lawn mower that...won't start ! pum-pum-pum-pum-pum-pum-pum. You will hear it and because it is very similar to a sound one would hear in the city you ignore it. Listen closely it is northern Michigan's most respected indigenous game bird.
There are two color phases Grey or Red ...the picture shows the red phase. They are about the size of a Cornish game hen. You will bump them out of the river cover as you walk to the stream. It is loud fluttering sound that will startle you. When I flush one, I pull up my fly rod like it was my old Browning A-5 shot gun...and the memories go on.