An overtrustful nature has earned for the dusky grouse the name "fool hen." It is to be found generally in the Rockies, ranging from north Utah, southeastern Idaho, and northwestern Colorado south to central New Mexico, central Arizona and west to Nevada.
Males weigh up to three and a half pounds; females are somewhat smaller.
The dusky prefers dense evergreen forests at altitudes from sea level to the timber line. The hunter finds it most often at the edges of clearings and along low openings near streams.
When flushed it is likely to seek shelter in a tall tree. In remote areas of its range the dusky has little fear of man and will sometimes hold its ground when encountered. If hunted frequently, however, it becomes educated and learns to flush swiftly.
The flesh of the dusky is most tasty while the bird is still feeding on berries, small leaves and insects.
A steady setter or pointer is best for this bird.
Dusky grouse populations are up in Colorado and New Mexico, with the latter anticipating an excellent season. Populations appear normal in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming. Utah reports its population is down.
Considered by some the craftiest of upland game, the ruffed grouse has survived the thinning of forest lands (its natural habitat) and in some regions has retreated to almost inaccessible areas, rocky hills and new timberland.
The ruffed grouse is found in all of the northeastern states, ranging west across the continent to the Pacific and north into the Canadian forest areas.