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Stalking the Ruffed Grouse

Category: Vi Making Friends With The Outdoor Folk

If you want to see the birds, stalk them when you hear their call. Wait
until you locate the direction of the sound, then walk silently and
follow it. As soon as the birds are sighted slip from one tree to
another, stopping instantly when you think they may see you, until you
can conceal yourself behind a bush, tree, or stump near enough for you
to peer around and have a good view of your game. It may sometimes be
necessary to drop to your knees in order to keep out of sight. If you
have heard the drum it is the cock that you have stalked and, if early
in the season, you will soon see his demure little mate steal through
the underbrush to meet her lordly master as he stands proudly on an old
log awaiting her. The "whit-kwit" call may lead you to the hen grouse
with her brood of little chicks which are so much the color of the brown
leaves you will not see them until they move. If the call comes later in
the year you may come upon a flock of well-grown young birds who have
left their mother and are now following a leader.

The ruffed grouse is a beautiful bird. He is yellowish-brown or rusty,
splashed with black or dark brown, and white, with under-parts of a
light buff. His beak is short and on his small, dainty head he carries
his crest proudly. His shoulders bear epaulets of dark feathers, called
the ruff, and his fan-like tail is banded and cross-barred. The nest of
the grouse is on the ground, usually against a fallen log, at the foot
of a tree, or in a hollow made by the roots; or it may be hidden amid
underbrush. It is easily overlooked, being made of dry leaves with,
perhaps, some feathers. In the season it contains from eight to fourteen

Next: Woodcock

Previous: Birds

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