Minnesota offers some of the best grouse hunting in the country with 11 million acres of public hunting land, 528 designated hunting areas in the ruffed grouse range covering nearly 1 million acres, more than 40 designated ruffed grouse management areas and 600 miles of hunter walking trails.
Koochiching Country and the area surrounding Rainy Lake is one of the few places where all three of the state’s native grouse species reside. Sharp-tailed, ruffed and spruce grouse are all plentiful here, making hunters’ chances of success high: even in down years of the grouse population's cycle, Kooch forests and fields fairly hum with grouse activity.
According to DNR records, Minnesota hunters annually harvest about 10,000 to 20,000 spruce grouse and an average of 500,000 ruffed grouse. In addition to a sturdy pair of waterproof boots, a blaze orange hat and vest and a shotgun, all you need to hunt grouse in Minnesota is a valid small game license. Check the DNR website for season information.
Fall Foliage Guide
Autumn foliage in Minnesota provide a colorful display, artfully painting the diversity of species that thrive in the northern climate. However, in Koochiching County, it’s not just the variety of tree species, but also the diverse ways to enjoy the colors of this transitional season. Plan to park your car and explore via ATV, bicycle, motorcycle, boat, canoe, kayak, paddle board, horseback or trail.
Here are some great places to begin your journey into the season’s abundant color:
Voyageurs National Park Rainy Lake Visitor Center offers miles of hiking trails into diverse woodlands, with occasional vistas from which you can view Rainy Lake. A well-maintained paved bicycle trail creates another unique opportunity to take in the colors of the park. Reserve a place on the Voyageur, VNP’s tour boat, providing colorful tours through the end of September.
Drive 40 miles from International Falls along the shores of the Rainy River to Franz-Jevne State park. Well-maintained, the park offers lovely, rustic camp sites and hiking trails, as well as boat access to Rainy River. Launch your canoe or kayak here for a quiet and colorful afternoon of paddling the international water of Rainy River.
Minnesota’s largest state forest, Pine Island is an off-the-beaten-path destination busting with fall color. With multiple public access points within 30-40 miles of International Falls, the area offers nearly 880,000 square miles of opportunity to view enough fall foliage to keep you coming back for generations.
With color change taking place from North to South, Minnesota is a great state for chasing the transition. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provides an annual Fall Color Finder map as well as specific location updates. Motorcyclists can download this map to enjoy the sights.
Where is your favorite place to view the colorful autumn leaves? Tell us in the comments below.