Progress Report: Harvest Management of Forest Grouse in Washington, with a focus in north-central Washington 1992-2009


Published: 2010

Pages: 43

Author(s): Michael A. Schroeder


Ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus), spruce grouse (Falcipennis canadensis), dusky grouse (Dendragapus obscurus), and sooty grouse (D. fuliginosus) are important wildlife resources in the forests of Washington. In addition to providing important hunting opportunities, forest-dwelling grouse are integral components of their respective ecosystems. In 1952 an aggregate bag limit of 3 was established for the ‘forest’ grouse. This bag limit remained in place until the hunting season of 2009 when it was increased to 4. Between 1950 and 1972 the season started on the first to the fourth Saturday of September (Fig. 1). Starting in 1973 the start of the hunting season was the first of September. The season ended at the end of December during the entire period.

1953 surveys were initiated to evaluate the overall demography of forest grouse populations and patterns of hunting pressure. Between 1953 and 2009 these surveys consisted of check stations, line transects, wing barrels, hunter questionnaires, and research on breeding populations. The subsequent analysis of these surveys and evaluation of the harvest management of forest grouse in Washington addresses numerous questions.

  1. What is the distribution of grouse harvest with respect to species, sex, and age?
  2. Does the distribution of harvest vary between area and year?
  3. Does hunter success rate (hours/recovered grouse) vary between area and year?
  4. Is the proportion of juveniles positively correlated with estimates of harvest?
  5. How do the different survey techniques compare with regard to efficiency of data collection and quality of information?
  6. How do Washington’s harvest regulations compare with those in other states and provinces?

Suggested citation

Schroeder, M. A. 2010. Harvest management of forest grouse in Washington, with a focus in north-central Washington. Report, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, Washington.