Habitat Management FAQs

How can I manage the land I own?  How can my hunting host manage his land to increase wildlife?
RGS can provide publications that lay out schemes that can be incorporated into your forest management plan. RGS professionals can provide certain types of assistance - simply ask.

Hunting Dog FAQs

Where can I find a certain breed of dog?

Try your local phone book, kennels, sportsmen’s clubs, field trial clubs, and check the classifieds in various magazines such as Wing & Shot and Gun Dog, always try to see the dog or its parents working in the woods and get references from the breeder. Some of these organizations are listed on the Links page.

Which dog breed is the best?

That depends on a lot of factors, mostly your personal likes and dislikes: do you want a flushing or pointing dog, kennel or house dog, what game species are hunted, dog "looks" and personality traits of the breed or breeding, working range, docked or full tail and probably some others. Read what you can about various breeds and then go to some walking-type field trials and watch several breeds run.

Hunting FAQs

I’m new to grouse / woodcock hunting -- HELP!

Take a look at the books in our RGS-Mart.

Where should I go to hunt?

Take a look at the various RGS magazine display and classified ads... once you’ve determined which state(s) you are interested in, contact the appropriate state or regional Department of Natural Resources. Phone numbers are available on the Internet, in the Conservation Directory at your local library or you can call directory information in the appropriate state capital city and ask for the DNR office.

Miscellaneous FAQs

Can I raise ruffed grouse?

Yes, but it is expensive and should NOT be considered as a means of starting or increasing an existing population. It has NEVER been successful and in most cases could be detrimental to the existing population of wild birds or illegal. Look to habitat enhancement through forest management as recommended in RGS Habitat Publications in the RGS-Mart. If you are still interested in purchasing birds, at over $200 per pair for adults, see the next question.

Where can I buy grouse eggs or chicks?


This question comes up often and there are a couple of different answers depending on your reason for asking. Most of the questions are from well intended people who would like to raise ruffed grouse and release them to the wild so as to augment the native population. Others are merely interested in raising an exotic or just a different type of fowl from those that they usually deal with. For everyone, you should be aware of a couple of items right from the start. First, ruffed grouse are very difficult to "pen" raise. They require much more attention than other so-called wild birds, like pheasant or quail. Second, they are very expensive, a pair of adults can easily go for $250 or more. If you are one of those well intentioned folks who are trying to stave off the decline of ruffed grouse in your area, thanks. The Ruffed Grouse Society applauds your desire to help but can't say strongly enough, please help us through habitat restoration, NOT releasing birds. In Ohio, and probably your state, the State Dept. of Wildlife requires a Game Farm License just to posses live ruffed grouse. The regulations may actually preclude you from releasing birds into the wild. If after reading this, you are still interested in obtaining birds or eggs we would suggest searching the Internet for potential sources or obtain a copy of The Game Bird Gazette which advertises 'Eggs and chicks in every magazine!', but not necessarily ruffed grouse. The direct sources that RGS knew about for various reasons have since stopped selling birds or eggs.

Game Bird Gazette  www.gamebird.com

Suggested pen-raising information is available at www.greatnorthern.net/~dye/grouse_ideas.htm. Click the link or copy the URL into your browser.

Is there an RGS in Canada?

There is, and RGS-Canada may be contacted via their website www.rgs.ca.

Do you know what a group of grouse is called?

In Tennyson’s "The Charge of the Light Brigade" the guns "volleyed and thundered" – no doubt giving a high percentage of the chaps still in their saddles as their epic outing unfolded a significant adrenaline rush. Volleying and thundering tend to do that, especially if they happen unexpectedly. Which is one major difference between the boys of the Light Brigade and grouse hunters – the former had every reason to expect a commotion. Grouse hunters seem to inevitably be caught unprepared – often clueless, especially if there are enough grouse to qualify as a volley. It doesn’t happen often, of course, grouse being determined loner-types. But every once in a while several find themselves under the same bush when a hunter happens by, and the ensuing rumpus can leave the huntperson scrambling to find his or her dropped shotgun while at the same time scratching for words to describe the experience. "Golly, that was a volley of grouse!" just doesn’t quite have the tonal depth and passionate flair such a situation demands. "I think I’ve suffered an infarction!" may be a reasonable assessment, but it certainly rips the heart right out of any hope of setting the experience on its proper poetical plane.

The fundamental problem is that there has been in the past a shocking absence of a commonly used collective name for a bunch of ruffed grouse. Actually, bunchagrouse has probably done yeoman service in emergency situations but falls far short of expressing the awe spawned when the air shudders with the many wings of a living grouse tapestry momentarily hanging before the eyes of a benumbed uplander.

Somewhere back in the mists of time, the tradition began that, if at all possible, a gathering of birds would be called something more lofty than a "flock.' So there’s an exaltation of larks, a murder of crows, a dole of doves, a siege of herons, a fall of woodcock.

A bunchagrouse?
Not anymore.

Admittedly, finding a label for a group of grouse isn’t as weighty a matter as contemplating the meaning of life, the origin of the universe or the reason dogs roll in whatever has aged to the positively putrid stage. But after all the weighty stuff is out of the way, then there’s time to take on a project the successful completion of which promises to make the outdoor experience a little rounder, a little fuller.

Obviously brood is appropriate when the group is comprised primarily of siblings, which is often the case until early fall. But what about those groups of three or more birds that are sometimes encountered well after dispersal has scattered brothers and sisters across the landscape?

Not long ago, June 2000 in fact, members of the Ruffed Grouse Society National Board of Directors addressed this issue during dinner after a long day of conducting the Society’s business at a Board meeting.

Noteworthy suggestions included: A Gullion of grouse in honor of the late Gordon Gullion who in his lifetime forgot more about grouse than your average coverts snooper will ever know. Another was a Jack of grouse in honor of one of the more accomplished (although wide-ranging) bird dogs that ever left paw prints in the grouse woods. Because "Jack" is a not-uncommon name for a grouse dog, however, one can imagine voices – distraught, angry, plaintive – calling, "Jack! Jack!" throughout the coverts. If Jack was the name adopted for a bunch of grouse it would sound as if there were enough birds ripping out of one small patch of woods to rival a launch of the entire Strategic Air Command. Also suggested was a court of grouse, in honor of the accolade from Aldo Leopold, who rightfully recognized that while the bobwhite quail may well be the prince among game birds, the ruffed grouse is unquestionably the king.

After much spirited debate, votes were cast and the winner was: Henceforth, a group of three or more ruffed grouse encountered after brood dispersal will be called a "thunder" of grouse. (With no penalty incurred if in the excitement of the moment someone forgets and starts bellowing, 'Jack! Jack! You just bumped a bunchagrouse!")

Derivation of the winning entry should be obvious to anyone whose heart has momentarily stopped at a close-quarter rise of a thunder of grouse. Too bad Tennyson never experienced it; once his hand had stopped shaking he could have produced an epic poem to commemorate the occasion.

Drumming up Additional Data

Data in one of these pesky addendum things that so often add a twist or two to a tale, it’s been pointed out that there are references in literature to a drumming of grouse. Joel Friedman of High Park, Illinois, says that in the book An Exaltation of Larks a list that includes a gatling of woodpeckers and a dropping of pigeons also contains a drumming of grouse. What opens the door for a great deal of speculation is that the terms used for groups of birds in the book may have received their first official stamp in medieval and 15th century social primers. That would indicate that a drumming of grouse would be a term aimed possibly at red grouse. At the time, the folks of the North American continent, home of the ruffed grouse, weren’t much concerned with the social graces.

Even if the term did apply to ruffed grouse, it would seem that like a gaggle of geese on the ground and skein of geese in the sky, a drumming of grouse would be more fitting to grounded birds; that’s where they drum, you could argue.

In any case, what led to the adoption of a fresh term for a bunchagrouse taking wing was that any term that previously covered the subject has been obscured to the point of invisibility as far as common usage is concerned. Under the circumstances, if one does exist, it would seem to be ripe for replacement.

Yes, a thunder of grouse has been chosen as a current means of conveying in a universally understood expression an awesome occurrence that if not shared could lead to internal harm to a person bursting to tell about the experience. But if anyone is familiar with another term that, in his or her mind, suits the occasion as well or better, go for it.


Drop us an email with any other names you’ve heard for a group of grouse besides covey and those mentioned above.

Website FAQs

What is DonorPerfect or WebLink?

RGS uses a secure online service (DonorPerfect) to manage its member and donor data. When you click Join & Renew Direct or other links to join or renew or donate, you are taken to a secure website WebLink page on one of donorperfect.net's servers which shows the VeriSign Secured page. See the "https", not simply "http" for any un-secured website, in your browser's address bar, the Verisign Secured logo/link in the lower left corner of the new page and WebLink and SofterWare in the lower right. If you are still not sure, please use the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page with specifics of your concerns and provide day phone number contact information so we may explore the issue in more detail.

How do I renew online?

RGS uses a secure online service (DonorPerfect) to manage its member and donor data. When you click Join & Renew Direct (top right corner of home page) or other links to join or renew or donate, you are taken to a secure website WebLink page on one of donorperfect.net's servers which shows the VeriSign Secured page. Simply enter your member number and last name to prefill the form to get started, then complete the simple process!

How do I change my mailing address online?

There is a way to change your address directly online but it is not available unless you are registered, linked and logged in. First, register on the RGS Forums, then link that registration to your membership using the instructions provided. You will now have full "members-only access" to the website and RGS Forums, when you are logged in and your RGS membership is current. See the Sign In page link at upper right to read about these additional capabilities and for detailed screen by screen registration and linking instructions. You can click to Go To RGS Forums from that page or from the Quick Links in the middle of the home page. Once registered and linked, you can login on the Forum page or on the MEMBERS ONLY page. Once on the Forums, look for the My Membership link in the menu bar across the screen, then the name, address, and phone; and Marketing Preferences can be verified and changed as necessary. Any changes Saved here will be reflected in your membership record. Remember to always provide a USPS valid mailing address in these fields, otherwise your magazine and other mailings from RGS will be affected. Other Forum preferences may be set using the "Settings," link.

Forum Registration and Linking FAQs

Link to common R & L questions.

What is a PDF file or what is Adobe Acrobat Reader?

It is a Portable Document File that can be opened and read by any computer that has the FREE Adobe Acrobat Reader installed. To get the FREE program click on any of the "Adobe Get Acrobat Reader" buttons on our site or click on the following link: Get Free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

RGS uses this format to make various documents available from this site to anyone with the Reader.

May I create a link from my website to RGS' website?

RGS normally grants this permission to any website if it relates in any way to what we do. Please create the link to www.ruffedgrousesociety.org. Please send an email to webmaster@ruffedgrousesociety.org notifying us of your link and if appropriate RGS will also add a link back to your site.

What size pictures may I post to the Photo Gallery? 

Photo gallery pictures should be JPEG type files ("file name".jpg) at most 640 pixels wide for landscape mode pictures or 480 pixels tall for portrait mode pictures.  The maximum dots per inch (dpi) should be 72.  Files with properties that exceed these parameters will appear to be uploading and your browser will just stop.  Resize/resample your pictures using your computer's default program that opens the file or use your camera's program. Forum avatar and profile graphics size limitations are shown on the Edit Avatar and Edit Profile pages.

Revised 07/29/2013

Mission Statement

Established in 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society is North America's foremost conservation organization dedicated to preserving our sporting traditions by creating healthy forest habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and other wildlife. RGS works with landowners and government agencies to develop critical habitat utilizing scientific management practices.

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