Ruffed grouse, woodcock seasons start soon

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MONTPELIER — The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department says the hunting season for ruffed grouse is Sept. 29 to Dec. 31 this year, and the woodcock hunting season is Oct. 1 to Nov. 14. The department also says the key to hunting success is to find suitable habitat for these upland game birds.

Woodcock are often found in alders along brooks and near beaver ponds as well as in new-growth small timber where old fields are reverting to forest. Ruffed grouse also frequent the same habitat, and they are particularly fond of the apples they find under wild apple trees.

Regulations require woodcock hunters to make sure their shotgun is capable of holding no more than three shells, and they must register for the federal Harvest Information Program on Vermont Fish & Wildlife's website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com) or by calling toll-free 1-877-306-7091.

"This could very well be one of our better grouse hunting seasons due to our dry spring and summer weather probably contributing to good survival of grouse chicks," said Mark Scott, Vermont's director of wildlife.

For regulations and more information on hunting in Vermont, be sure to get a copy of the 2018 Hunting & Trapping Guide available from license agents statewide and the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Telephone 802-828-1000 and email fwinformation@vermont.gov. You can also find a digital version of the Guide on the department's website. Hunting licenses are available from the website and from agents throughout the state.

Vermont's Northeast Kingdom and the Green Mountain National Forest offer large expanses of huntable land and plenty of excellent grouse and woodcock habitat.

Several state wildlife management areas (WMAs) in the Northeast Kingdom and other sections of the state offer excellent public hunting opportunities. Descriptions and maps of the WMAs are provided on Vermont Fish & Wildlife's website.


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