Job Type: Integrated Forest Habitat Biologist – 2 Positions
Locations: Hayward, WI and Rhinelander, WI
Supervisors: Jon Steigerwaldt – Forest Conservation Director
Region: Great Lakes/Upper Midwest
Starting Date: March 20, 2023
Term of Position: March 2023 to July 2024, likely to be extended with additional funding
Background and Primary Duties:
Established in 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) is North America’s foremost conservation
organization dedicated to creating healthy forests, abundant wildlife, and promoting a conservation
ethic. Together with the American Woodcock Society (AWS), established in 2014, RGS & AWS work
with private landowners and government agencies to develop critical wildlife habitat utilizing
scientific management practices.
The Ruffed Grouse Society & American Woodcock Society (RGS & AWS) in partnership with the
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), are looking to hire 2 motivated individuals to
work effectively with private landowners, industrial land owners, multiple state property managers,
multiple county forests, and the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest on forest habitat
improvement initiatives. The Integrated Forest Habitat Biologist will function as a biologist,
technical service provider, and forest habitat manager across multiple forest ownerships in
Northern Wisconsin. The position will work with and under existing conservation staff to provide
habitat/timber treatment planning, habitat project administration, contract development and
oversight support, on-the-ground field assessments, stand evaluations, project prescriptions and
layout for improving habitat, biological surveys, and conduct public outreach.
These term positions will implement vegetation management project planning, design, and
monitoring on a diversity of forest lands. Active forest management efforts will be implemented to
achieve wildlife, silviculture and timber objectives. In particular, the position will focus on restoring
forest structure, composition, and age-class diversity to assist the recovery of Eastern forest birds
and other forest wildlife that are dependent on specific forest types such as early successional, open,
or fire dependent ecosystems within the northern forest types of Wisconsin.
• A passion for wildlife conservation and forestry.
• Knowledge in the field of Wildlife Management, including: habitat management, young forest
habitat management, deer management, vegetation surveys, and wildlife surveys. Experience
in conservation biology and/or plan writing are a plus.
• Knowledge in the field of Forest Management, including: forest inventory, timber marking,
GPS data collection, forest operations, and silviculture. Ability to assess wildlife habitat and
make connections between forest management and wildlife habitat needs. Experience in
environmental regulations and/or project management are a plus.
• Excellent spoken and written communication skills, well organized, and ability to engage a
diversity of stakeholders, private land owners, and public lands managers.
• Knowledge of project planning prerequisites such as NEPA, National Heritage Inventory,
and cultural resources reviews as they pertain to public and private lands.
• Ability to track accomplishments and produce reports with guidance from other team
Ruffed Grouse Hunting
RGS Hiring Integrated Forest Habitat Biologist – 2 Positions WI
Job Type: Integrated Forest Habitat Biologist – 2 Positions
Grouse hunting notebook: Favorable northwest Minnesota outlook
Grouse and partridge seasons opened Saturday, Sept. 10, in North Dakota, and they get underway Saturday, Sept. 17, in Minnesota. Here are some notes about hunting seasons and prospects in the two states.
Favorable northwest outlook
Ruffed grouse hunters in northwest Minnesota have cause for optimism this fall, it seems, based on brood sightings at Red Lake and Thief Lake wildlife management areas, and Beltrami Island State Forest.
Spring drumming counts were up statewide at 1.9 drums per stop, compared with a statewide average of 1.3 drums per stop in 2021, the DNR reported in July. The Northwest region had the highest spring counts, at 2.9 drums per stop – up from 1.1 drums per stop last year – and the Northeast region tallied 2.0 drums per stop, up from 1.4 in 2021.
Drumming counts at Red Lake and Thief Lake saw similar increases.
“I think we are on track for a decent season – or at least I am personally optimistic,” said Charlie Tucker, manager of Red Lake Wildlife Management Area at Norris Camp, south of Roosevelt, Minn.
Staff at Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area in Marshall County echoed that optimism in a newsletter posted Friday, Sept. 9. Drumming counts on both of the WMA’s two survey routes around Thief Lake and Randen Ridge were up from 2021.
“We had a wet spring, with a record amount of precipitation in May, but we began to dry out and warm up after that,” the newsletter indicated. “Staff have been observing broods while working in the field so that is a good sign for this fall.”
Barring heavy rains, access conditions should be good.
“We are relatively dry around here, so that bodes well for walking on forest trails,” said Tucker, the Red Lake WMA manager. “Folks shouldn’t have any extra worries about getting vehicles stuck or anything like that.”
Walking trails within Red Lake WMA and adjacent Beltrami Island State Forest should be accessible, but because of staffing issues, maintenance on some of those trails could be “either behind schedule or nonexistent,” Tucker said.
Read the full DL-Online article for more projections and the full article
Upland game forecast for southeast Idaho
The beginning of many upland game seasons in southern Idaho is upon us. Winter severity and spring nesting conditions influence gamebird numbers, although winter generally affects pheasants and quail more than gray partridge and our native grouse species.
The 2021-22 winter was relatively mild while spring precipitation should have provided favorable nesting and brood rearing conditions. Unfortunately, continual loss of CRP that provides important gamebird habitat in much of southeastern Idaho may reduce the number of birds available to hunters.
Two species of “forest grouse,” ruffed and dusky (aka blue), occur in southeastern Idaho. Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) harvest data over the past five years suggests reasonably stable numbers for both species. This summer I have seen numerous dusky grouse broods in the mountains north of the Snake River Plain and suspect hunters should find plenty of birds in many areas.
Number of males counted on established lek routes was higher in 2022 than 2021 in most management areas. IDFG reported that statewide populations of sage-grouse rebounded somewhat in 2022 after population lows in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Sage-grouse hunters in 2022 will have to buy a tag to hunt in any of 12 sage-grouse hunting zones. Hunters can buy up to two tags and may buy a tag for more than one zone. Sage-grouse firearm season runs Sept. 17 through Oct. 31.
IDFG states that the sage-grouse tag system is designed to limit harvest to less than 10 percent of each zone’s estimated fall population. A total of 2,510 tags were offered for 2022. The number of tags was substantially increased for 2022 even though hunters shot far fewer sage-grouse than the agency expected in 2021. To estimate fall populations, IDFG must have good data on the number of breeding females, nest success, and brood survival. This information is difficult to acquire and, to my knowledge, the agency lacks those data so their “estimate” of the fall population is likely no more than a semi-educated guess.
Chukar and Gray Partridge
Chukars occur in only a few localized areas in southeastern Idaho and numbers are generally low. In contrast, gray partridge are widely distributed throughout the area. Like sharptails, this partridge is commonly found in CRP fields but I have also successfully hunted them in farmland and sagebrush habitats. Although populations fluctuate, numbers appear generally stable over the long term. I expect this year will be similar to last year.
Read the full Post Register article for more reports
Long Gone Setters on Late Summer Woodcock Video
Bird Dogs Afield visits Lloyd Murray of Long Gone Setters kennel. Outstanding pointing dog work by these well-bred English setters. This is a training session on late summer woodcock. A must watch for pointing dog enthusiasts.
MN 2022 Ruffed grouse counts up unexpectedly from last year
Minnesota’s ruffed grouse spring population counts are up from last year, which was not expected during the current declining phase of the 10-year cycle — a pattern recorded for 72 years.
“While ruffed grouse drumming counts are up, they are not a reliable way to predict the fall hunting season,” said Charlotte Roy, grouse project leader with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We also recorded an increase in sharp-tailed grouse in east-central Minnesota, which is positive this year but could be short-lived.”
Unexpectedly high ruffed grouse counts this year may have resulted from the warm temperatures and dry conditions last year during May and June, which favors high nest success and chick survival. Snow conditions also were favorable during winter for roosting throughout much of the core of grouse range.
The DNR and its partners use spring drumming counts to help monitor the ruffed grouse breeding population through time. Drumming is a low sound produced by males as they beat their wings rapidly and in increasing frequency to signal the location of their territory. Drumming displays also attract females that are ready to begin nesting. Ruffed grouse populations are surveyed by counting the number of male ruffed grouse heard drumming on established routes throughout the state’s forested regions.
“In a typical year, we have 16 cooperating organizations providing folks to help us count grouse drumming,” Roy said. “We are grateful to our federal and tribal partners for their assistance in completing routes.”
Historically, these spring counts were related to the fall population; however, in recent years, drumming counts have not reliably predicted the fall hunting season.
The number of birds present during the fall hunting season also depends upon nesting success and chick survival during the spring and summer. Nesting success and chick survival are influenced by many factors, including weather during May and June, which has been more extreme in recent years, and other factors, including disease and predators. This year in May and June, heavy rainfall and flooding affected much of the core of ruffed grouse range.
The ruffed grouse survey report can be found on the grouse management page of the DNR website.