[pagebreak] Ruffed Grouse
The ruffed grouse, which has plenty of ardent fans in the Great Lake states and the Northeast, is also alive and well in the West. In fact, the partridge is the most widely distributed native game bird, ranging from Labrador to Alaska. In the West, however, it would lose a popularity contest, overshadowed by the exotic chukars and Huns. It's always baffled me that a ruff will burst out of cover in its Eastern haunts but walk around boldly in the West. Perhaps it's because they're pursued more extensively in the East. I hunt this bird, which has always been my favorite, in lowland brushy areas. As in the Eastern coverts, a close-working dog is a big asset in the West.