Ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) is a popular small game species in northeastern North America. We assessed female ruffed grouse habitat characteristics during winter of 2001–2002 and 2002–2003 in a region dominated by mixed softwood–hardwood forests by comparing used and random locations. We followed 23 radiotagged adult females in 2 forest sites of the Réserve faunique de Portneuf, Québec, Canada, from late November to mid-April. We described grouse habitat using ground surveys and identified selected habitat characteristics using analysis of variance and logistic regression. Females preferred mixed softwood–hardwood stands >17 m tall and 61–120 years old. Compared with random locations, grouse locations had more well-developed total canopy cover (>4 m; 75%), canopy (>4 m; 35%), midstory (1–4 m tall; 35%), and lower-story (<1 m tall; 23%) coniferous cover, and higher coniferous stem density and tree basal area (dbh > 9 cm; 343 stems/ha and 9.0 m2/ha, respectively). Forest management should maintain mature mixed softwood–hardwood stands (50% coniferous), which are adequate winter habitat for ruffed grouse.
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Vol. 71 • No. 6