Hunter harvest was mixed at the 33rd annual Ruffed Grouse Society’s National Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock Hunt (NGWH) in Minnesota. The hunt was held Oct. 9 and 10 with favorable weather conditions.
Hunters harvested an average of 1.07 grouse per day, up slightly from 1.06 in 2013, according to data released by the organization. The 2014 woodcock harvest was 1.8 woodcock per day, down from 2.03 in 2013.
The NGWH is conducted during the second week in October each year in and around Grand Rapids, Minn. The event is sponsored and coordinated by the Grand Rapids chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society.
The NGWH provides an "unparalleled opportunity" to study the population ecology of ruffed grouse and woodcock, according to the oranization. The event is conducted in the same locale, at the same time each year and using the same methods, thus providing a valuable study of annual variation of the local ruffed grouse population and how that variation relates to the 10-year cycle.
Minnesota’s 2014 ruffed grouse spring drumming survey documented a significant increase over the 2013 survey.
Physical examination of grouse and woodcock harvested at the NGWH demonstrated that the 2014 spring conditions may have affected local populations.
“The drop in reproductive success for both ruffed grouse and woodcock was expected given the delayed, wet and cool spring that northern Minnesota experienced this year," said Dan Dessecker, RGS director of conservation policy.
In addition, the proportion of immature birds harvested in 2014 was 10% below the long-term average for ruffed grouse and 20% below for woodcock.