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Don’t Shoot If It’s a Spruce Grouse

Oregon Bird Hunting

Spruce Grouse are Protected in Oregon

Spruce grouse are widely distributed in northern conifer forests across the continent; however, their range just barely reaches into Northeast Oregon and are only known to occur in the Wallowa Mountains of Baker, Union and Wallowa Counties. Our small population of spruce grouse is likely geographically isolated from neighboring birds in Washington and Idaho so we need to take extra care to protect them. Hunting is closed, but each year hunters accidentally harvest spruce grouse. In fact, as part of our wing collection efforts (see far right column for how to participate), we receive several spruce grouse wings each year. Help us protect this northern forest grouse by learning how to tell them apart from other grouse!

How to Identify a Spruce Grouse

Male spruce grouse have dark bodies with a white spotted chest. The tail is solid black with white tipped rump feathers. Males have enlarged scarlet-colored eyebrows in the spring. Females are various shades of brown with white barring on the breast. In comparison, “blue” grouse are larger bodied and have much less white on the breast, with males having a solid gray breast. Ruffed grouse are similar in size, but have a crest of feathers on their head, are rusty brown to light gray colored, and have a highly banded tail fan with a distinct dark terminal band.

We Need Your Wings and Tails!

Grouse and mountain quail wings and tails provide biologists with important information about the health of populations, which helps set hunting seasons. Hunters donating a wing and tail from harvested grouse and mountain quail are a tremendous help. For more information, call 503-947-6301.

It is easy to help, here is what we need:

  1. Remove entire wing and whole tail including small rump feathers.
  2. Place in PAPER bag provided at ODFW office or use your own PAPER bag (1 bird per bag, please no plastic bags).
  3. Mark the bag with the DATE TAKEN, county taken, and general location.
  4. Drop bag off at designated collection sites located around the state, at ODFW offices, or mail in with postage paid envelopes (available upon request).
  5. If there will be a delay in dropping off your bag, please freeze it!