Ruffed grouse

Ruffed grouse are named for a series of black iridescent feathers on the sides of the neck called the ruff, which is erected by males to form a ring around the neck during courtship displays.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking successful forest grouse and mountain quail hunters to return a wing and a tail from each bird they harvest.

Collection barrels (often bright blue with yellow signs) will be placed at major road junctions or highways in popular hunting areas and at some ODFW offices and popular rural markets, according to a press release.

To find specific barrel locations see the map online, or call the ODFW office closest to your hunt.

Collection barrels for a wing and the tail from forest grouse and mountain quail will be placed at the following locations.

To submit wings and tails:

• Clip the right wing close to the bird’s body. Submit the left wing if the right wing is damaged (i.e., worn or missing feathers).

• Remove all tail and rump feathers by skinning out the lower 2-3 inches of the back of the bird and clipping off the tail.

• Place wing and tail together in provided paper bag, and write the date of kill and general location where indicated. Please do not use plastic bags, as they speed decomposition and make the wings and tails hard to use.

• Put the wing bags inside the collection barrel or drop them off at the nearest ODFW office. ODFW will also send additional bags and postage-paid return envelopes to those who call 503-947-6301.

Collection barrel

Collection barrels for forest grouse and mountain quail wings and tails will be placed near popular hunting areas.

Biologists use the wings and tails to collect information on species, age, hatch date, recruitment and sex ratios of the birds. They use this information to get a clearer picture of grouse and quail populations that will help determine hunting seasons. Since wing collections started in 1980, hunters have submitted more than 30,000 grouse wings.

Wing analysis is only one of several surveys ODFW uses to monitor forest grouse and mountain quail populations in Oregon. The wing data complements other information gathered in production and harvest surveys.

The season for forest grouse is Sept. 1 through Jan. 31 statewide. There is no open season for spruce grouse.

Mountain quail seasons vary across the state:

• Western Oregon, Hood River and Wasco counties: Sept. 1 to Jan. 31, 2020.

• Grant, Crook, Wheeler, Gilliam, Klamath, Umatilla, Morrow and Wallowa counties: Oct. 5 to Jan. 31, 2020.

• Remaining Eastern Oregon counties: no open season.

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