5 Winter Survival Skills That Will Keep You Warm, Dry, And Alive

Every different climate delivers a unique set of challenges in a survival scenario, and winter is no exception. If you aren’t too careful, the frigid wind and cold can immobilize you with frostbite and then kill you off with hypothermia.

In this article, we are going to look at five specific skills that you absolutely must have in order to survive when you’re stuck outdoors during winter.

1. Getting a fire going … and keeping it going

Starting a fire

Knowing how to start a fire is an important skill to have in any survival scenario, but it’s extra important during winter. If you are ever wet and cold, a fire may be the only thing that gives you a chance of surviving. You also need a fire to dry out any damp clothing.

Unfortunately, it’s harder to build and maintain a fire during winter. The ground often is blanketed in snow or ice and the wood that is above the ground is saturated with moisture, too. On top of that, there could be high winds that put any spark you manage to create out in an instant. So how are you supposed to start a fire during winter?

Cotton Balls

The answer is to keep cotton balls that are coated in Vaseline with you at all times – especially during winter. These are highly flammable and will be a lifesaver in a winter survival situation. (They’re also inexpensive.) You’ll also need something to cause a spark, such as a ferro rod. But this is just the solution to getting a fire going. How can you keep that fire maintained?

Construct a pit into the snow that is approximately two feet deep. This is so that the walls of the pit will protect the flames from the wind. The bottom of this pit should then be covered with logs and sticks. Next, set some tinder and your Vaseline cotton balls on top of these logs.

If all of the wood that you find is already wet, then use a knife or a hatchet to cut into it and see if there’s any drier kindling that you can get from the inside. Then, set up your kindling in a pyramid. This will allow the wood to dry and then burn faster.

The technique above might save your life.

 

2. Building a warm-enough shelter

Winter camping
Green tent and tourist inside against the backdrop of snowy pine tree forest. Amazing winter landscape. Tourists camp in high mountains. Travel concept

This is another survival skill that is important in any situation — but arguably more so in a winter scenario. During winter – unlike other seasons — you have to keep yourself warm and dry. For these reasons, you would be wise to spend more time working on your winter shelter than, say, your summer shelter.

Your shelter should be constructed in a site that is flat and on higher ground, with plenty of trees for cover from falling snow and wind. The trees also provide the natural resources you’ll need to build your winter shelter.

One of the best winter shelters to make is one that has natural cover, such as the boughs of a tree. You can dig around the trunk of the tree underneath the lowest boughs, so that the branches spread above you protect you from the snow and wind. The snow walls would then provide additional protection, and you can even set up a little place for you to make a small fire.

 

3. Maintaining a proper body temperature

During winter, it’s easy to get too cold – but also too hot. Wear an outer shell layer that deflects the wind and the coldness, an insulation layer that keeps your body warm, and then a final layer that sticks right to your skin. When you’re traveling through the snow with all of this clothing on you, you can easily overexert yourself. The sweat will then freeze and make you at risk for both frostbite and hypothermia.

Keep close attention to your body temperature and add and remove layers as needed. If it is snowing or raining, wear all three layers so that your shell layer can keep your inner two layers dry. But when you’re traveling out in the sun or working on building a shelter, remove one or more layers so that your body can cool down and avoid perspiration.

4. Making snow goggles

While we most commonly use sunglasses during summer conditions, the ice and snow during winter can reflect the rays of the sun back to your eyes – essentially blinding you. If you don’t have snow goggles or sunglasses with you already, then you’ll need to know how to make them on your own, out of natural resources.

The easiest snow goggles to construct are made out of birch bark. Birch bark is best for snow goggles because it can be removed from the trunk of the tree in sheets. Cut out a sheet of bark and then cut small slits in it for your eyes.

Next, cut holes into the sides of it so that it can be tied around your face. These simple DIY goggles will provide your eyes with the protection they need when the sun is out.

19TH ANNUAL SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE PHOTO CONTEST People preventing snow blindness with birch bark goggles

5. Building a pair of snowshoes

Snowshoes distribute your weight over a larger area so that your foot will not completely sink into the snow. If you’ve ever tried to walk through a winter forest without snowshoes, you know how exhausting and time-consuming it is. Snowshoes will save you a lot of time and energy.

If you don’t already have a pair of snowshoes with you, you’ll need to make some on your own.  The simplest form of DIY snowshoes are groups of boughs that are tied together and then lashed onto the feet. More traditional snowshoes will require some time and energy to build. You’ll need to find a long, flexible stick that you can bend and then tie at the end, followed by crisscrossing the insides of the snow with more sticks, vines, and/or rope.

Should you successfully build a pair of snowshoes, it’s guaranteed you’ll be able to make it out alive much faster.

Closeup hiker in spring mountains snowshoeing

What winter survival skills would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

White tailed deer

HOW TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL WHITE-TAILED DEER HUNT IN MAINE

While Maine may have a fairly low number of whitetail deer compared to other states like those in the Midwest, the seemingly never-ending forests give big bucks plenty of places to hide and grow to trophy sizes. This post will share tips and tricks to help you harvest a mature buck in Maine.

Whitetails and the State of Maine

White tailed deer

The state of Maine has an estimated whitetail herd population that number of around 300,000. Compared to other states like Wisconsin, which leads all states in the number of record whitetails booked and sports a population estimated at 1.5 million, you might be inclined to think that Maine doesn’t have the best whitetail hunting opportunities, but this is not the case.

Maine may have a smaller whitetail population than the agricultural breadbasket states. Still, the state of Maine is predominantly composed of forests, and the sheer number of forests allows deer to have countless safe havens to call home and hide from hunters.

The number of hunters actively pursuing whitetails in Maine is also lower than in the Midwest, with an average of 200,000 licenses issued yearly. The amount of deer harvested yearly is far less.

The deer population numbers in Maine took a pretty bad hit in the late 2000’s, but not to worry, as the numbers have been a slow and steady climb since that time, and the combination of mild winters and good mast crop growth from farmers has seen it continuing to improve.

The lower population of deer and hunters combined with the densely forested environment has given birth to a pretty good number of trophy bucks, and the number of bucks weighing in at 200 pounds might surprise you.

Where to Hunt in Maine

The best place to hunt in Maine is the northern counties, these counties provide the best chances at harvesting a trophy whitetail.

The counties of Hancock, Aroostook, Piscataquis, Waldo, Washington, and Penobscot all have a reputation for harboring giant bucks.

Maine is fairly unique compared to other states in that it has a unique tradition of open access to land, which leads to easy access for hunters, and accessing good private land has become increasingly difficult for hunters in other states.

Even with this open-access policy, you will still need to knock on someone’s door or make a phone call. It would still be a good idea to check in with the landowners from time to time, and in doing so, you might even get some golden nuggets of information on hunting spots, big buck sightings, and deer movement.

Know the Seasons and Regulations

The archery season in Maine runs from October 1st to the 28th with extended archery seasons running from September 10th to December 10th in designated areas.

Gun hunting runs from October 31st to November 26th, the Muzzleloader season from November 28th to December 3rd, and from December 5th to the 10th in designated areas only.

The Stand is King

Tree stand

Tree stands are nothing new to hunters and are used predominantly everywhere. Still, in places like the Midwest and the south, ground blind hunting has become increasingly popular as an option to harvest trophy bucks.

In Maine, the treestand is still your best bet, and due to the state being blanketed in forests, there aren’t any issues with finding a suitable tree to hang a stand within range of trails or food sources.

Due to the topography in many parts of the state, the wind can tend to swirl and become unpredictable, and getting high off of the ground in a tree stand can help mitigate the issue of your scent swirling through your hunting area by getting it up and above the noses of the deer.

Study Your Hunting Area

Studying aerial photos of the areas you intend to hunt can be key to finding the best locations to hang a stand, and it will give you a great idea of where a trophy buck might be bedding and feeding, along with likely travel corridors.

Studying your hunting area via a birds-eye view has never been easier with modern technology, and you might be surprised to see that you might be able to spot deer trails using something as simple as google maps.

Having a solid understanding of the area will help you in several ways, and is not studying topographic maps and satellite images are not something that a serious hunter should skip.

Hunters with hunting equipment going away through rural forest at sunrise during hunting season in countryside

Plan you Moves

Many hunters fail at correctly approaching their stands when hunting during the morning or afternoon.

How you approach your stand depends on a few factors, but the wind is the most important factor to consider. The wind might make a particular tree stand inaccessible on a given day, and while you can choose to ignore the wind, doing so risks spooking all the deer in the area.

Be sure when you are walking to or from your stand, that you do so in a direction where the wind is blowing away from crucial areas like bedding areas or food sources. How you enter the woods to sit might also need to be adjusted based on the time of day.

Avoid Tree Stand Burn Out

Hunting from the same stand too often will be detrimental to your trophy buck harvesting cause.

This is known as “burning out a stand” and happens when you hunt a tree stand several times a week. You can try as hard as you want to keep the evidence of your presence as low as possible, but deer have mind-boggling senses and will know if a human is repeatedly intruding into their backyard.

As hunters, we pattern deer, their behavior, and their daily movements as best we can, and if you constantly hunt from the same tree stand, the deer will be able to pattern you, and they will avoid the areas around your stand until they feel you are no longer visiting it regularly.

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Put Your Time In

Hunting trophy whitetails is a serious challenge and takes due diligence and time no matter the location, but this is more so the case when hunting in the state of Maine.

It will take patience to harvest a trophy in the state due to the lower numbers and the vastness of the forests, but you know what they say, the harder you work for something, the sweeter the success is.

Be Safe

There’s a lot of nothing in Maine, particularly the northern half of the state, and if you are unfamiliar with the area that you will be hunting, you should have a game plan for safety reasons.

You could easily get lost on the many winding logging roads that appear as if they lead to nowhere, and before you leave to hunt, you should let someone know the exact areas you intend to hunt and when you are expected to be back.

Letting a family member or friend know where you will be is not only a good idea in the event you get lost but also if you were to injure yourself by twisting an ankle or having a mishap with your tree stand.

You should also have a minimal amount of survival gear with you, such as a first aid kit, thermal blanket, lighter, and other items that can help in the event that you get lost or injured.

In the modern age with smartphones and google maps, getting lost is less of an issue and something that we don’t worry about as much as we used to. Still, phone batteries have a tendency to run out, and they always seem to do so at the worst possible time, and this is why you shouldn’t rely solely on technology because it is prone to failure, and back up plans and gear is necessary.

More to Offer

Maine has more to offer than whitetails and is one of the best destinations in the United States to harvest a big moose.

Along with moose, black bear hunting can be very good do to the sheer amount of forested land that the bears have to roam around in.

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Due to being a far northern state, the ruffed grouse hunting is some of the best in the country and is right up there with other legendary grouse hunting states like those of the Great Lakes Region.

Final Thoughts

If you are moving to the state of Maine and want to know your options when it comes to whitetails, or if you are thinking of traveling to hunt in the state, be sure to do your research and due diligence on the regulations and on how to hunt in the state.

Deer

A Look at Maine’s White-tailed Deer Population for 2022

Maine is home to one of the largest subspecies of White-tailed deer. The whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) may be found across the United States. They are the most easily identified deer species in the United States. This species of deer is famous for its whitetail. Bucks mature at age five and may grow to record live weights of about 400 lbs. They are also known for their tan and brown coats.

Maine is close to the northern limit of the white-tailed deer’s range. White-tailed deer in Maine mostly inhabit forest areas, marshes, reverting farms, and active farms as sources of food and cover. The greatest and most abundant feed is found in wetlands, reverting and active agriculture, and forest areas with little or no canopy closure. Presently, 94% of Maine—excluding the state’s city areas regarded as a deer habitat. In fact, deer are already present in some of Maine’s developed areas. Wintering habitat is very restricted, accounting for approximately 2 to 25% of the land in various segments of the state. In Maine, deer’s summer home ranges typically range from 500 to 600 acres, but they may even be as large as 2,000 acres. Depending on the accessibility and quality of the winter range, deer can travel anywhere from less than a mile to more than 25 miles between their summer and winter ranges.

Deer in the winter
A wild deer in a national park on a cold winter’s day

White Tail Deer Population

In mid-2022, the authorities estimated 300,000 to 320,000 deer, saying that the state’s environment could accommodate more of them. According to Nathan Bieber (a biologist working for The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife), the deer population in Maine now is probably comparable to what it was in the 1990s.

In 2021, around 290,000 were estimated to be present in Maine. There was a considerable increase in the deer hunting licenses during the doe hunting season 2021-22. Regulated hunting harvests provide for a significant portion of deer management. The year 2021 turned out to be a record year for deer hunting, with one of the largest harvests in more than 50 years. A warm winter and few doe harvests led to a buck-to-doe ratio of roughly 2.5 to 1, which resulted in a state estimate of 300,000 deer in the spring of 2020.

White-tailed deer
A close up shot of a white tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the woods.

How population has changed over time?

The white-tailed deer population in Maine has experienced boom and bust cycles. According to anecdotes, the state’s deer population did not exist in significant numbers before the advent of European colonists in the early 16th century. Deer may only have been able to survive in isolated areas inland and along the southern coast due to hard winters, intact predator ecology, and probably a lack of sufficient early vegetative growth (Banasiak 1964). However, with European colonization, immigrants began to clean the area. Small-scale logging activities stimulated the growth of underbrush, providing white-tailed deer with an optimal balance of feed and cover. Deer ranges grew and became more widespread in central and northern Maine as a result of logging activities. Later, in the nineteenth century, the extinction of wolves and cougars in Maine allowed deer to grow and rise in population essentially unaffected by predation. Despite their greater presence, deer populations nonetheless fluctuated in response to harsh winters and widespread incidents  (like fires )that significantly altered their habitat.

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Let us have a look at the population changes in Maine in Figure 1. It shows the population of white-tailed deer population over several years. This is taken from the data provided by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) in the 2017 Big Game Management Plan. MDIFW started estimating the abundance of White-tailed deer in the 1950s which is why exact estimates for the period before the 1950s are not available.

Figure 1: Population estimate of White-tailed deer in Maine

We can see that population of White-tailed deer has fluctuated throughout history.

 The state saw its lowest levels of deer abundance during the 1960s. The population decreased to around 141,000 as a result of harsh winters, coyote colonization, the loss of wintering habitat, and intensified hunting pressure.

Beginning in the 1970s, a spruce budworm outbreak disrupted deer overwintering habitat by causing landscape-level die-offs of mature softwood stands, followed by salvage harvests. Deer summer habitat expanded as a result of the increasing loss of mature softwood. However, the number of deer wintering sites reduced, especially in the state’s northern portion, where they are most important.

J.W. Sewell Company predicted in their 1983 Spruce-Fir Wood Availability-Demand Analysis that the supply of mature softwood will continue to fall until 2010 owing to insect mortality, salvage logging, and satisfying the commercial needs for spruce-fir products. That prediction has come true. These causes collectively have reduced the amount and quality of deer wintering sites, increasing the likelihood that deer would perish during hard winters. Deer populations drastically decreased, especially in northern Maine, as a direct result of the sharp fall of mature spruce-fir forest acres and multiple harsh winters.

It was discovered through several modifications of its deer management system that restricting the harvest of does was the best strategy to limit the expansion of Maine’s deer population. Since it was established in 1986, the Any-deer permit (ADP) system has given MDIFW a way to control doe harvests while also increasing hunting opportunities for sportsmen in Maine. Since the implementation of the ADP system, doe harvests have routinely fallen between 5% and 10%, or less, of the Department’s antlerless harvest targets.

In order to keep the population from outpacing the capacity of Maine’s deer wintering areas (DWAs), the state created population targets that called for managing the deer to 50%–60% of that capacity. The quantity of winter habitat would need to be raised to around 8% to 10% of Maine’s terrain in order to achieve the public’s population targets.

The deer population in Maine had gradual growth after the die-off in the 1970s and continued to do so into the late 1980s. Demand for the resource increased despite a modest recovery in the deer population.  This resulted in a slew of new management measures and policies aimed at accelerating the expansion of Maine’s deer population. The regulatory regime that restricted doe hunting, together with a string of warm winters, served as the driving forces behind Maine’s deer population’s rapid rise through the late 1980s and early 1990s. The number of deer in Maine reached an approximately all-time high of 331,000 during this period. The majority of the increase took place in the state’s southern tier.

A study was conducted by Dumont et al. 2000, about the effect of harsh winters on two adjacent populations of the deer in northeastern range of its occurrence. The study was conducted from 1994 to 1996. They found a decline in population by harsh winters which was further declined due to coyote predation as well. They found that older deer and fawns were more severely harmed by starvation and predation, although deaths due to collisions seemed to be nonselective. The majority of cases of famine happened after the beginning of March when bodily stores were depleted. They concluded that in the studied area deer abundance was controlled by winter forage competition.

Population Management

For the deer population, harvest, or hunter success rates, MDIFW did not establish any concrete targets or goals before 1975. The majority of regulation acts were brought about by the Legislature as a response to harsh winters or alleged regional reductions in deer abundance. Between 1975 and 1985, MDIFW started planning for deer, which included establishing goals and objectives with broad public support. In some locations, this included attempting to regulate deer populations to certain deer densities.

Since a new Big Game Management Plan was recently put into effect, the Department has given up trying to regulate deer populations to predetermined levels. That strategy failed to fully take into consideration a number of other crucial factors in managing the deer population, such as preserving animal health, ensuring that there are enough deer in society, minimizing the negative effects of an overabundance of deer, and so forth. In Maine, deer management is to keep deer populations at levels that are both sustainable with available habitat and socially acceptable. The Department uses a range of small-scale management strategies in locations where deer numbers are too high or where deer are seriously harming the habitat to seek and solve the issues.

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Deer wintering habitat must be protected and expanded in order to boost deer populations in Maine’s northern and eastern forest areas. In the past, protecting deer wintering habitat required the cooperation of landowners, which wasn’t always available. To maintain manageable deer populations across Maine, authorities will have to enhance access to the property for hunting through effective landowner relations programs.

References

Dumont, A., Crête, M., Ouellet, J. P., Huot, J., & Lamoureux, J. (2000). Population dynamics of northern white-tailed deer during mild winters: evidence of regulation by food competition. Canadian Journal of Zoology78(5), 764-776.

Banasiak, C.F. (1964). Deer in Maine. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Game, Game Division Bulletin 6, 163 pp

Irland, L. C. (1988). The spruce budworm outbreak in Maine in the 1970’s: assessments and directions for the future. Bulletin/Maine Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Maine: 1983 (USA).

Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. 2017. 2017 Big Game Management Plan. Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Augusta, ME. 97pp.

Thinking about bird hunting!? Hunt Ruffed Grouse in Maine

While the state of Maine is most incredible for many reasons, many hunters regard it as one of the greatest places in the country to hunt for ruffed grouse. These little birds are one of the most sought-after upland bird species in the country, and many wing shooters will travel to the best hunting locations every year to find them. One of these includes the state of Maine! 

Rapala Knives_234x60

The Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed grouse are one of the most plentiful and widely distributed game birds on the continent. They are on the smaller size when it comes to most grouse species, and range in weight from 16 to 25 ounces. They are beautiful birds that have many markings and colors in their feathers that help them to better blend in with their preferred habitat. Unlike other bird species, ruffed grouse are monomorphic. This means that both genders, male and female that have lost their juvenile plumage and colors, look alike. 

Ruffed grouse eat a variety of different things, including leaves, fruits, and insects. During the winter when snow is on the ground, they will eat things such as flower buds and catkins. Ruffed grouse will live an average of 3 years, although some birds can live up to 7 years. During the spring, male ruffed grouse will become more territorial of their area and start to “drum.” This is a display that helps them to ward off other males and attract females. 

Habitat and Locations

Ruffed grouse can be found throughout almost all of the state of Maine, although in various densities. The highest densities tend to be found in transition areas where thick forests and developed fields and farmlands meet. Cleared land and fires can create excellent grouse habitat, as it provides mixed-age aspen (a favorite of ruffed grouse). These types of areas provide everything that the grouse need to live, including food, shelter, and enough space to drum. Because ruffed grouse have such a small home range, all of these requirements should be found within a small area of around 30 acres or less. This can provide key clues to finding grouse while out hunting. 

Equipment and Gear

Hunter aiming rifle while hunting birds with Irish Red Setter dog In woods

The great thing about hunting ruffed grouse is that you do not need a ton of new or expensive gear to have a successful day in the woods. In fact, a good day of grouse hunting should only require things like a blaze orange vest, extra food and water, a navigation device (GPS), a shotgun, tough pants, long sleeve shirt, and some waterproof boots. A jacket and thicker clothing might also be a good idea if the weather is cold. 

Almost any shotgun you already own is probably more than adequate for grouse hunting. The most popular 20 and 12-gauge shotguns are some of the most widely seen, but even the 28 gauge and 410 can be used. Pair this with an open or improved choke as grouse shots are usually at close range, and size #6 or #7 shells are a great option. 

Many ruffed grouse hunters will often choose to hunt with a dog. But, unlike other bird species such as pheasants, ruffed grouse hunting can be achieved very successfully without a dog if you don’t have one. While almost any breed of dog can be taught and trained to hunt for grouse, most any sporting breed or pointers make for the best grouse dogs and provide excellent companionship while out in the woods. 

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Maine Ruffed Grouse Season and Limits

The ruffed grouse season generally runs from the third week of September until December 31st of every year. There is a bag limit of four birds per day, with the possession of eight birds at any time. You will need to purchase a hunting license before you are able to hunt ruffed grouse in Maine, and this can be done either at a hunting license dealer found around the state, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife office, or online at their website (https://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting-trapping/hunting/licenses-permits.html).

Tips and Tricks

In order to best hunt ruffed grouse, you will first need to locate the best cover and food sources that the birds are using. This will ensure that there are birds nearby to hunt. From there, your job is to now flush the birds out in order to get a clear shot at them. Here are a few simple tips to help to get you started when it comes to hunting ruffed grouse! 

Hunt early/late – Ruffed grouse tend to be very inactive during the middle of the day. The best time to hunt for them is the early morning and late into the afternoons. This is when they will move around to look for food, and when they are the most vulnerable. 

Cover more ground – Although ruffed grouse live in relatively small areas, you may still need to cover plenty of ground in order to find them. Lace-up a comfortable pair of boots and don’t be afraid of covering plenty of ground! 

Be ready and quick – When ruffed grouse get flushed, they are quick and explosive. Always have your gun at the ready and try to be as quick as possible when you see or hear them. You may not get another opportunity after you flush them so always be ready and move as quick as possible to get a shot. 

Final Thoughts

Young hunter boy sit with his father in a truck tailgate.

The ruffed grouse is a favorite animal to hunt in Maine for many people, and it’s easy to see why. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of these amazing little birds and know where to find them and how to better hunt them. With the abundance of habitat and their excellent numbers, there are few things as enjoyable as a ruffed grouse hunt in this amazing state! 

HOW TO COOK RUFFED GROUSE

INTRODUCTION

Ruffed grouse have been known to excite hunters and foodies alike, so it’s not surprising that you may be wondering how to cook Ruffed grouse after your successful hunt this fall. With their delicious taste and firm texture, these birds are perfect for the winter holidays! From grilling to roasting, here are some delicious recipes you can use as inspiration when cooking Ruffed grouse. Be sure to share them with your friends and family members when they ask how to cook Ruffed grouse at home!

Ruffed grouse, also known as partridge, are one of the most popular game birds in North America, and many people who live on the east coast have at least tried one of these mouth-watering treats. However, cooking Ruffed grouse can be a tricky feat, and this article will teach you how to do it perfectly so that you can impress any guests with your culinary skills!

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What Is Grouse?

Grouse is a game bird that belongs to the pheasant family. It’s characterized by its small size, plump body, and dark feathers. The most popular type of grouse is the red grouse, which is found in Europe and Asia. The bird is considered a delicacy and is often served roasted or grilled.

If you’re lucky enough to come across a Ruffed grouse , you should know how to cook it properly! All too often people overcook their grouse, resulting in an unappetizing grey bird with a rubbery texture. To avoid this unfortunate fate, it’s important to cook your birds at the correct temperature for their size.

Here Is The Best Way Of Cooking Ruffed Grouse

Cut It Up

1. Start by cutting up your grouse into smaller pieces. This will help it cook evenly and prevent it from drying out.

2. Season the grouse with salt, pepper, and any other spices you like.

3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Place the grouse in a baking dish and cover it with foil or a lid.

5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the grouse is cooked through.

6. Remove the bird from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before carving and serving.

Salt It

The first step is to salt your grouse. This will help to tenderize the meat and also give it a little flavor. You can either use a dry rub or a wet brine. If you are using a dry rub, simply sprinkle the salt over the bird and massage it in. If you are using a wet brine, mix together 1 cup of salt with 1 gallon of water and submerge the grouse in it. Let it sit for at least 2 hours, up to 12 hours. Remove from the brine, rinse off any remaining residue. Prepare your cooking vessel: Your vessel needs to be deep enough that the grouse can lay flat without touching any part of it while cooking. A Dutch oven works well because there is an open top on one side so you can baste with butter or oil while cooking.

Pat It Dry

Ruffed grouse are a type of game bird that is popular in Europe and North America. The meat is dark and has a strong flavor, making it perfect for those who enjoy gamey meats. The best way to cook Ruffed grouse is to first pat it dry with a paper towel. This will help prevent the skin from becoming soggy during cooking. Then, season the bird with salt and pepper. Next, heat a pan over medium-high heat and add some oil. Once the pan is hot, place the grouse in the pan and cook for about 8 minutes per side, or until the skin is crispy and the meat is cooked through. Serve immediately with your favorite sides.

Rub It In Butter

Rubbing the grouse in butter before cooking helps to keep it moist and flavorful. First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then, take a stick of butter and rub it all over the outside of the bird. Next, place the grouse in a baking dish and bake it for about 45 minutes. When it’s finished cooking, let it rest for a few minutes before carving and serving. Enjoy!

Don’t have time to make gravy? No problem! Carve up some potatoes and throw them into your turkey roaster with some liquid seasoning, then roast them for about an hour alongside your grouse. Voilà—gravy without having to make a fuss or worry about being burned by boiling hot drippings from your roast. Don’t have time to make gravy? No problem! Carve up some potatoes and throw them into your turkey roaster with some liquid seasoning, then roast them for about an hour alongside your grouse. Voilà—gravy without having to make a fuss or worry about being burned by boiling hot drippings from your roast.

Finish It Off

Ruffed grouse is a delicious and relatively easy bird to cook. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get it right.

1. Start by trussing the bird. This will help it cook evenly.

2. Season the grouse inside and out with salt and pepper.

3. Place the grouse in a roasting pan breast side up.

4. Roast the grouse at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature of the thigh meat reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Remove the grouse from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Cooked Grouse
Roasted Grouse
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Cooking With Fresh Vs Frozen Ingredients

If you’re lucky enough to have fresh grouse, the cooking process is simple. Just season the bird with salt and pepper, stuff it with some herbs, and roast it in a hot oven until the skin is crisp and the meat is cooked through. The challenge for most cooks will be to successfully prepare grouse that has been frozen. With this type of grouse, the cooking time will vary depending on whether or not it was first thawed in the refrigerator or in cold water. It’s important to remember that freezing does not kill any bacteria; if your frozen grouse has been thawed in water, then it must be refrigerated within two hours of preparation time or thrown away. When preparing the bird, start by patting it dry with paper towels before seasoning and roasting as described above. To determine if your grouse is done, use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast without touching bone. Cooked grouse should reach at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius). A small amount of the breast may still appear pink when done, but that’s fine—the juices should run clear when pierced with a knife. Allow the bird to rest for 10 minutes before carving so all the delicious juices can stay inside! For a tasty gravy, mix pan drippings with beef broth and heavy cream over medium heat until thickened. Grouse also makes excellent sandwiches if thinly sliced and served on whole wheat bread with horseradish sauce or cranberry sauce.

Grouse
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The Importance Of The Right Equipment

If you want to cook a Ruffed grouse, you need the right equipment. Without the proper tools, you’ll be at a disadvantage from the start. Invest in a good quality skillet and cooking utensils, and make sure you have all the ingredients on hand before you begin. With the right tools and ingredients, you’ll be well on your way to impressing your dinner guests with your culinary skills. The next step is knowing how to prepare the bird. For that, we recommend starting by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, cut off both of the wings of the bird and remove any visible fat or connective tissue that might prevent it from browning properly in the pan (don’t worry about removing its legs – they will eventually fall off during cooking). Once you’ve done this, season it liberally with salt and pepper on both sides before adding 1 tablespoon of oil to a heated pan over medium-high heat. Place the grouse skin side down in the pan and allow it to cook for 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip it over so that the other side can cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of butter to deglaze the pan, then add 4 chopped carrots, 6 thinly sliced shallots, 2 cups dry white wine, 1 teaspoon salt and 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper. Bring everything to a boil before turning down the heat so that everything simmers for 15 minutes. Place some aluminum foil around the edges of the skillet so that moisture doesn’t seep out while you’re simmering and flip occasionally so both sides get cooked evenly. Remove from heat when done simmering; set aside until ready to serve!

Tips For Cooking In Large Quantities

  • If you’re cooking for a large group, make sure you have enough pots and pans to accommodate all the food you’ll be preparing.
  • Preheat your oven before beginning to cook, so that everything will be cooked evenly.
  • When cooking meat, make sure it is cooked all the way through before serving. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat.
  • If you’re making a dish that requires chopped vegetables, consider using a food processor to save time.
  • When boiling pasta or potatoes, add salt to the water to help give them flavor.
  • When making a sauce, taste it as you go along and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

How Does Grouse Taste?

Grouse is a wild game bird with a white, lean meat. When cooked properly, it is both tender and juicy. Grouse has a unique flavor that some describe as similar to chicken or turkey. Others say it tastes more like venison. Either way, grouse is a flavorful and versatile game meat that can be used in a variety of recipes. You may also see grouse being called rock ptarmigan because the species is found across North America and Eurasia.

This delicious meat packs about six times more protein than the same amount of beef, three times more than pork, and two times more than lamb (source). But how does this translate into actual calories? A 3-ounce serving of cooked roast grouse contains 187 calories.

Cooking Techniques & Variations

If you want to cook a Ruffed grouse, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

  1. Make sure you clean the bird thoroughly before cooking.
  2. Decide what kind of flavor you want your grouse to have.
  3. Determine how you want to cook your grouse – grilled, roasted, or baked?
  4. Don’t forget to truss the bird before cooking to ensure even cooking.
  5. When grilling or baking your grouse, be sure to baste it regularly with its own juices or butter for extra flavor.
  6. Don’t overcook your grouse – it should be cooked through but still juicy. Finally, let the bird rest for a few minutes before carving and serving. Remember that meat continues to cook after being removed from heat, so don’t overdo it!
Curious grouse, tetrastes bonasia, watching attentively in green woodland.

How To Store Ruffed Grouse

To store your grouse, first make sure you pluck and clean the bird. Next, you’ll want to rinse the inside and outside of the bird with cold water. Once it’s clean, pat the grouse dry with paper towels. Place the grouse in a sealable bag and store it in the fridge for up to two days. When you’re ready to cook, remove the grouse from the bag and let it come to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and roast the grouse for about 30 minutes.

How To Preserving Ruffed Grouse

Ruffed grouse are a type of game bird that can be found in North America. These birds are usually hunted for their meat, which is considered to be a delicacy. If you’re lucky enough to bag one of these birds, you’ll want to know how to properly preserve the meat. Here are six tips for preserving your Ruffed grouse

  1.  Use a dry rub or wet brine to flavor the meat before cooking it – both will help season and keep your food moist during cooking. Dry rubs are typically made from spices, herbs and other ingredients while wet brines include salt and sugar or honey as well as vinegar or soy sauce.
  2.  Cook at low temperatures for long periods of time; this will not only seal in all the juices but also provide you with more flavorful results than cooking at high temperatures.
  3. Remove any skin before cooking; this will make it easier to serve and eat without having to chew through tough skin.
  4. Sear each side of the bird on high heat before continuing with low-temperature cooking; this will give you an extra crispy outside layer.
  5.  Allow the bird to rest for 10 minutes after being removed from the oven; this helps keep all those tasty juices inside.
  6.  Don’t forget about vegetables! You don’t have to just roast potatoes every time you have a whole turkey, try roasting some root vegetables alongside your Ruffed grouse. Some ideas would be carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, turnips and celery.

The key to good roasting vegetables is getting them cut up into uniform sizes so they cook evenly. Place your vegetables around the edges of the pan and nestle the Ruffed grouse in the center. Add butter (or bacon fat), salt, pepper and garlic powder (or minced garlic) to the pan before placing it in a 400 degree oven for 40-50 minutes until done. Check periodically to ensure nothing burns too much or gets too dark!

Grouse breast

Benefit Of Eating Grouse Meat

If you’re looking for a delicious, healthy way to add some variety to your diet, look no further than grouse meat. This game bird is not only lean and nutritious, but it’s also versatile and easy to cook. Here are just a few of the benefits of eating grouse

  • Grouse meat is an excellent source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids needed by the human body.
  • It is also low in fat and cholesterol, making it a healthy option for those looking to improve their heart health.
  • Grouse meat is rich in iron, zinc, and phosphorus, all essential minerals for human health.
  • Eating grouse meat can help provide relief from fatigue and weakness caused by deficiencies in these vitamins.
  • It’s loaded with B vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid which are important for energy production within cells as well as red blood cell formation.
  • A fun fact about grouse is that they produce twice as much natural omega-3 fatty acids as other game birds such as pheasant or quail do.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are very important because they can reduce inflammation throughout the body which helps with arthritis pain and may even be beneficial against some cancers!
  • They contain vitamin A which contributes to eye health while helping maintain healthy skin tissue too! Grouse meat has more selenium than beef, chicken, pork, or turkey. Selenium plays a key role in the development of muscle tissues and strengthening the immune system.
  • -Grouse meat is high in protein and low in fat (only 2% fat)
  • -This game bird contains more vitamins A, B12, D, E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin (B3), folate (B9), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6), biotin (B7) than other poultry sources
  • -The levels of these nutrients vary depending on how the animal was raised: those that are pasture-raised have higher levels because they eat more grasses and insects which contain these nutrients. Wild grouse will have lower levels because they eat bugs such as beetles or ants that don’t contain these nutrients.

Conclusion

There you have it! A simple guide on how to cook a Ruffed grouse. By following these steps, you’ll be sure to impress your friends and family with your culinary skills. And who knows, maybe this will be the start of a new hobby for you. So go out there, get yourself a grouse, and give it a try! You can always make some classic sides or desserts to accompany your main dish.

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Why you should vacation at Moosehead Lake

Take an adventure to a deep, cold water lake, which is the largest mountain lake in the eastern United States. Moosehead Lake is the second largest lake in New England, situated in the Longfellow Mountains in Northwestern Maine, sitting at an elevation of 1,029 feet. Surrounded by wilderness, solitude, and more moose than people, this lake region is the perfect vacation for adventurers looking for peace in the untouched nature.

Moose outnumber people 3 to 1 in the Moosehead Lake Region, and with so much to do outside, you’re bound to see one of the beautiful creatures that the lake is named after. The lake is filled with year-round activities, including camping, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, ice fishing, and snowshoeing. The lake itself is 75,000 acres and 40 miles long, and 12 miles wide! 

Moosehead Lake is a popular destination in Maine that welcomes thousands of visitors to the region annually. Several towns in the area feature restaurants, accommodations, and recreational activities, including Rockwood, Greenville, Okoadjo, Lily Bay, Beaver Cove, Monson, and Abbot.

With so much to do here during all four seasons, outdoor lovers are in for a treat while visiting. You can’t go wrong with choosing Moosehead Lake and connected state parks for your next adventure.

Mount Kineo

This 800-foot mountain is located in the middle of Moosehead Lake. Once used as a Native American destination to acquire rhyolite rock to make arrowheads, Henry David Thoreau and Teddy Roosevelt even visited due to their interest in the areas history. 

In order to reach the area, you need to take a boat to get to the trailhead. If you don’t have a boat of your own, you can take a shuttle from the Rockwood town boat launch. The shuttle is operated by the Mount Kineo Golf Course, which operates on the island, which is the second oldest in New England.  If you’re interested in golfing, 9 hopes start at $32.

The 3.4-mile loop at Mount Kineo includes four different trails that all lead to a fire tower that used to be used by the Maine Forest Service. The face of Mount Kineo features 700-foot cliffs but has gentle slopes on the northwest and a steep southeast. It was initially formed by a mile-thick ice sheet that moved across the region. The four trails that Mount Kineo features are as follows:

  • Indian Trail (.9 miles, moderate): The shortest trail to the tower, but it climbs steeply. This trail provides the best view!
  • Bridle Trail (1.1 miles, easy): This is the original fire warden trail and is much less steep. It begins along the carriage trail, walks along maple and birch trees, and meets with the Indian Trail right before the summit.
  • Carriage Trail (2.2 miles, easy): This trail walks parallel with the peninsula’s western shore and follows the water to Hardscrabble point.
  • North Trail (1.9 miles, moderate): This trail offers a view of the eastern peninsula and rises steeply up the southeastern cliffs.

All of the hikes offer fantastic views of Moosehead Lake and provide unbelievable access to nature as it walks through maple, birch, and other hardwood forests.

Lily Bay State Park MAINE

Maine road in fall
Autumn road in Maine, USA.

Lily Bay State Park is located 9 miles north of Greenville, Maine, and features an abundance of year-round activities for your next vacation. This state park is located directly on Moosehead Lake and features 925 acres of protected land. Animals throughout the park include birds, deer, ducks, moose, foxes, eagles, loons, otters, and more. Recreational activities and camping are the main draw to the State Park.

Birding

Moosehead Lake is actually a prime birding location with nearly every type of warbler of the north woods found here. Even more rare birds like the black-backed woodpecker, spruce grouse, boreal chickadee, gray jack, and white-winged crossbill can be seen in the woods. Bring your canoe or kayak to look for birds in the sky from the lake!

Boating and Camping

Lake outdoor Maine
Boating on Lake Recreational Place. Scenic Lake and the Boat.

Boating on Moosehead Lake is a very popular adventure activity at Lily Bay State Park, and boat launches are available at Dunn Point and Roswell Cove. Motorized and non-motorized boats are allowed to launch off from here.

In addition to a boat launch, Lily Bay State Park has an abundance of camping sites available, split between two campgrounds – Dunn Point and Rowell Cove. Both campgrounds feature showers, boat launches, recycling, showers, playgrounds, restrooms, and firewood available. 

In terms of camping, there are 90 walk-in camping sites and reservable campsites that can accommodate campers ranging from small, pop-up campers to a greater than 35′ trailer for those looking to vacation here. There is no electrical service available at any campsites, making it the perfect excuse to reconnect with nature and remain off-grid. Several of the campsites are located on the waterfront of Moosehead Lake.

Hiking

Lily Bay State Park which connects to Moosehead Lake, also features a trail system that allows visitors to enjoy a peaceful walk along the lake’s edge. The 1.3 mile Dunn Point Trail is an easy, flat trail along the shore that features wildlife spotting and mixed growth forest that hikers can enjoy year-round. In the winter, this trail is used by cross-country skiers.

In addition to the Dunn Point Trail, the .8 mile Rowell Cove Trail offers an alternative destination. This trail offers several spots to sit on the shore of Moosehead Lake to enjoy the view and relax. There are also several geological formations to view along this trail.

In addition to enjoying the scenery, many visitors have reported seeing wildlife such as fox, white-tailed deer, and moose while on their journey. Make sure to bring your camera!

Swimming

Lily Bay State Park is the best area at Moosehead Lake to swim in the water. The State Park offers a beach for visitors to swim at, though this activity should undoubtedly be saved for the warmer months when the water is warm.

Fishing & Ice Fishing

Fishing man at the lake. Fishing from a boat,

Whether you take the boat launch from Lily Bay State Park and fish in Moosehead Lake or take a boat from the Moose River in the village of Rockwood, Flyfishing is a popular spring and summer activity in the Moosehead Lake Region. There are several pools, pocket waters, and rapids to fly fish at where you can find Brook Trout, Landlocked Salmon, and Smallmouth Bass. Shallow water fishing is also available in Lily Bay and Spencer Bay throughout the summer.

Moosehead Lake is also a popular vacation destination in the winter for Ice Fishing. Fishermen flock to the area to seek brook trout, cusk, salmon, and togue under the frozen water of Moosehead Lake. The area behind Mount Kineo is a popular location for rough weather ice fishing during the winter. This is also where the deepest water in Moosehead Lake is located. Don’t forget to bring a portable ice shack before you arrive as the weather and the winds are unpredictable. Please note that before February 15th, all salmon caught on Moosehead Lake must be released without removing them from the water. Also, make sure that you have your up-to-date fishing license and fishing regulation book.

Hunting

Hunting outdoor
Hunters with hunting equipment going away through rural forest at sunrise

For those that are looking for some extra outdoor adventure, the Moosehead Lake area features many hunting opportunities. With much of the seasons taking place in the fall and spring, visitors can hunt for deer, bear, moose, wild turkey, migratory birds, and other species. Specific rules and permits apply.

ATV Trails

Riding ATV outdoor
Two atv riders race in forest, front view.

A group of local ATV trail volunteers maintains well-marked trails through the region that allow for people to have a full-day adventure exploring the region on trails. Several local businesses also rent ATV’s to visitors. You can ride the trails from Greenville to The Forks, Rockwood and on to Kokadjo if you’d like. Make sure you stay on the marked trails while riding. Keep your eyes open as you might spot a moose or two while you’re riding!

Snowmobiling

Woman in a motor sled race

There is a lengthy snowmobiling trail called the Moosehead Trail that offers 160 miles of scenic riding. The trail combines with the Main Interconnected Trail System for frequent riders who want to continue through the state or go further into to Canada. The Moosehead Trail features several stops for coffee, food, and gas along your journey. Make sure you stay safe and check the Main Snowmobile Association website, which maintains trail condition reports so snowmobilers are aware of the safety of ice on ponds and lakes.

In Closing

Moosehead Lake sunset

Moosehead Lake has so much to offer visitors when it comes to outdoor adventures for their next vacation. Whether you are hoping for a laid-back camping holiday with swimming and a hike, or you want to ice fish and snowmobile, this area has that to offer and more. Visitors could spend a week or more at this fantastic location and fill each day with a different activity or a different hike and still find more exploring to do. Don’t forget to look for moose while you’re here! You could even join a moose safari in town if that’s of interest.