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Don't grouse! DNR Web site has tool for finding game

Ruffed grouse, courtesy Sean Hall

Want to know where to find a ruffed grouse?

Hunters in search of walking trails on which to spot the sometimes elusive fowl and other game can find helpful maps and aerial photos on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Web site.

The DNR's hunter walking trails tool, located at, allows users to locate walking trails by simply selecting a county and specific trail from a pull down menu. With a click, a map will appear with the trail marked in red. Clicking the "PDF" link opens a new browser window that displays a printable aerial view of the selected trail.

"Minnesota has a great system of non-motorized hunter walking trails," said Dennis Simon, DNR Wildlife Section chief. "This tool makes it easier for hunters to find and enjoy them. It's particularly beneficial for grouse hunters in forested areas."

Walking trails listed in the pull down menus wind through state forests, state wildlife management areas and other public hunting lands. Many trails are signed and gated to prevent unauthorized use. The trails are maintained by mowing and weave through good game habitat.

"One benefit of this tool is that it gives users a birds-eye view of the habitat they'll be hunting," said Simon. "With aerial photo in hand, you have stronger sense of where you are, where you're heading, and where you might want to leave the trail because of cover types you want to hunt."

Simon said the tool will benefit all hunters, including those just getting started. It allows them to plan their hunt from home, and then hunt their plan when they get their destination.

The current application does not contain all hunter walking trails. Over time, additional trails will be added to the application.