Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock Hunting in New Hampshire - Live for October Video


Join Northeast Regional Director of the Ruffed Grouse Society Joe Levesque as he mentors owner of ANR Design Alex Costa on his first hunting adventure. Along with friend Zach Hein the head to the north woods of New Hampshire as they hunt ruffed grouse and American woodcock. This film explores the camp culture of New England, the future of hunting, and the critical conservation issues that the Ruffed Grouse Society pursues.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

WI DNR board moves toward shortening 2019 grouse season

The state Department of Natural Resources board is moving toward shortening Wisconsin's ruffed grouse season to as the population dwindles.
The board voted unanimously Tuesday to allow the department to craft an emergency rule that would close the season across the northwestern two-thirds of the state on Jan. 5. The season currently runs from mid-September through Jan. 31 in that portion of the state.
The DNR is concerned that the ruffed grouse population is declining. Drumming activity dropped 34% from 2017 to 2018. Hunters took only 173,347 birds last year, the lowest total in 35 years of hunter surveys.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin testing ruffed grouse to gauge West Nile exposure

Under the program, now in its second year, researchers in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin collect the carcasses of ruffed grouse along with blood samples from the birds during the states' respective grouse seasons.
 Each state's DNR searches the birds' organs for signs of West Nile and sends the blood samples to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study group at the University of Georgia for further testing.
The data collected by the group then helps researchers evaluate the effects of West Nile on grouse populations throughout Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. 

Friday, July 19, 2019

New Jersey 2019 Grouse Season Closure Announced

At their regular meeting on July 17, the Fish and Game Council unanimously voted to close the ruffed grouse hunting season statewide. Recognizing that grouse populations in the state were declining, the season length and daily bag limit were reduced, and the state was divided into two zones, in 2005, with the southern zone having a shorter season than the northern zone. The closure takes effect immediately.

Ruffed grouse populations in the state have declined due to lack of suitable habitat (young-aged forests) which they require. Such forests now comprise less than 1% of the state's forests. Anecdotal reports of hunters seeing grouse have dwindled as forests continue to age due to lack of forest management. Although hunting is not the cause of the decline, and in fact, the number of grouse hunters has a parallel declining trend, the Division and the Fish and Game Council feels that current grouse population levels cannot support a hunt at this time.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Missouri Restocking Ruffed Grouse

By Joe Healy
After many years of population declines, Missouri’s ruffed grouse finally may be seeing a turnaround. This past year, in a collaborative effort between the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation (QUWF), of Buffalo, Missouri, and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), 100 ruffed grouse were relocated from Wisconsin to Missouri’s Daniel Boone Conservation Area, in Warren County.

QUWF credits more than a decade of hard work, constant fundraising, generous sponsors, cooperative landowners and MDC personnel with the success of the effort. Craig Alderman, a research biologist and the founder and executive director of QUWF, cites in particular support from Ruger Firearms and personal interest from Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris.

According to Alderman: “Our plan this year is to capture another 100 grouse and bring them down to Missouri and release them. We have a grouse coop right now of about 110 to 112 members that encompasses about 100,000 acres, and we’ve been doing extremely intensive timber-improvement work to prepare for a minimum of a 25-year plan for the grouse to stay, adapt and grow . . . . Between the chapters and the private landowners, I’d say we’ve seen an investment of well over $2 million in timber harvest and getting lands ready.”

Read the rest of the full Shooting Sportsman article

Monday, July 1, 2019

MN 2019 Ruffed Grouse counts similar to last year




















Minnesota’s ruffed grouse spring drumming counts were similar statewide this year to last year. 

DNR biologists have monitored ruffed grouse populations for the past 70 years and this year, DNR staff and cooperators from 14 organizations surveyed 131 established routes across the state’s forested region. 

Each year on the routes, surveyors count the number of grouse drums they hear. Drumming is the low sound male grouse make as they beat their wings rapidly and in increasing frequency to signal the location of their territory and attract females ready to begin nesting. 

Drumming counts are an indicator of the ruffed grouse breeding population. Grouse populations tend to rise and fall on a 10-year cycle that can vary from 8 to 11 years, and Minnesota’s most recent population peak was in 2017.

2019 survey results

The 2019 survey results for ruffed grouse were 1.5 drums per stop statewide. The averages during 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 were 0.9, 1.1, 1.1, 1.3, 2.1, and 1.5, respectively. Counts vary from about 0.6 drums per stop during years of low grouse abundance to about 2.0 during years of high abundance.
Results this year follow a decrease from 2017 to 2018. In the northeast survey region, which is the core of Minnesota’s grouse range, counts were 1.6 drums per stop; in the northwest there were 2.1 drums per stop; in the central hardwoods, 0.8 drums per stop; and in the southeast, 0.7 drums per stop. 
Check the DNR’s grouse hunting webpage for the 2019 grouse survey report and grouse hunting information.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

George Bird Evans Collection Available Online

The George Bird Evans Digital Collection, part of West Virginia & Regional History Center’s extensive Evans collection, contains sixty-five years of detailed hand written hunting journals, which document George and Kay’s pursuit of both woodcock and grouse behind their personally created line of Old Hemlock setters, in varied coverts mostly in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The journals are rich in the experiences and natural observations of a keen intellect and perceptive observer. They are further enhanced by his lively and expressive pen sketches which illustrate many of the entries. These unique journals were the original source material for many of his books and numerous magazine articles, and remain an important resource for understanding his and Kay’s chosen lifestyle and principled sporting ethic. 

Covering the years 1932 to 1997, the hunting journals can be downloaded in PDF format. The West Virginia & Regional History Center also holds significant additional Evans material which is not available online. Please refer to the collection finding aid to learn more about the contents of the George Bird Evans Collection.

George Bird and Kay Harris Evans generously endowed the Old Hemlock Foundation in order to preserve and support their passionate lifelong interests. Today the Foundation preserves and shares with visitors Old Hemlock, their eighteenth century home and surrounding forest near Bruceton Mills, Preston County, WV.

The Old Hemlock Foundation also offers scholarships to WVU Medical School students, provides funding for arts and literature studies in the Bruceton Mills schools, and support for the Preston County Humane Society. The Foundation actively shares the Evans legacy with ongoing outreach programs for all ages, and welcomes visits to and tours of Old Hemlock.

Visit The Collection