Thunderbird, old ruff, fool hen, partridge – the name may vary depending upon who you ask and where you’re at, but all are monikers for Pennsylvania’s official state bird, the ruffed grouse. An honor this regal gamebird has held since 1931.
One of our state’s most difficult rids to harvest, this upland species seems to have the ability to put both tree trunks and branches between themselves and a hunter’s shot pattern like no other. How so, you ask? That’s simple. They may not twist and turn like a dove, or rocket past you like a mallard or wood duck, but they are notorious for living in thick cover where they willsit tight, flushing with a thunderous beating of wings mere yards from a hunter, often leaving him or her so surprised that they seem unable to lift their shotgun, let along swing and fire accurately.