In many areas of the Northwest, three species of "forest" grouse (blue, spruce and ruffed) can be hunted, although each prefers somewhat different habitats. The more commonly found ruffed grouse prefers lower, moister elevations. Ruffed grouse populations have recently declined in Washington, but not critically so, says biologist Rick Cope. A series of cold, wet springs has impacted grouse, and grouse hunter participation is down from recent years. Forest composition is maturing past the young, "scruffy" cover in which grouse thrive.