Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Michigan - No hurry: Future prospects for grouse and woodcock hunting look good

Steve Griffin The weather was too hot, the pup too young, so I stayed home. I'll wait. A week ago, Friday, September 15, instead of crashing through thick brush in pursuit of ruffed grouse, I leafed through the annual grouse and woodcock report and forecast from the DNR's Wildlife Division. A few days later, I swapped emails with grouse-avid Al Stewart, the DNR's upland gamebird specialist. What I read in both cases made me glad for my pup's youth. Hunting for grouse is pretty good and likely to get better: the bird population continues to build toward a 10-year cycle's high point, due about 2020. And although woodcock fortunes have fallen across the decades, those who hunt them in good cover still flush them at about the same rates as in the past. This year? "Grouse hunting has been good," Stewart reported a few days into the season, with his contacts reporting a few more flushes than in recent early seasons.
But, "It has been wicked hot, so finding birds is being impacted by the weather. If a dog is panting through his mouth, he is not pulling that fine bird scent through his nose." Stewart said he'd been adapting by hunting early in the day, near creeks and other water sources. Stewart expects hunters to have similar woodcock flush rates this year as last year, in the season that opens today, and maybe even a few more. Read the rest of the MidlandDailyNews article

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