Showing posts with label MI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MI. Show all posts

Flushing woodcocks in Michigan

By Bob Gwizdz Outdoors columnist

Gena, Chuck Riley’s more experienced German shorthair (he also had a young dog with us) was locked on point in about the snarliest stuff you could imagine — under a sprawling autumn olive in the midst of a thicket intertwined with multiflora rose. There were two immediate questions: How were we going to get in there to flush the bird and, when we did, how were going to shoot it?

Riley told me to get ready so I positioned myself between a couple of autumn olives where there was a small window of sky. When Riley got in on the bird, a woodcock burst out and flew the only place I could get a shot at it. I did. The dogs were on it immediately.

“Well that’s 18 minutes,” said Riley, who keeps track of these things when he’s hunting. ”Yesterday we have had 10 flushes in the first 18 minutes.”

We were hunting in southern Michigan, on a state game area that shall remain nameless (as I don’t want to see your truck parked there the next time we go). It’s one of a number of places Riley bird hunts well south of what most folks consider to be woodcock territory.

“I started out hunting in southern Michigan with Andy Amman back in the mid-1970s,” said Riley, a Department of Environmental Quality retiree and involved conservationist. “Actually, we found quite a few grouse down here back then, too. And I’ve talked to guys who said there were a lot more in the 60s and early 70s.”

Grouse in southern Michigan seem rarer than Detroit Lions championships these days. But woodcock? There are plenty from opening to closing day, though they’re not always there for long periods of time.

Michigan 2014 Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock Forecast

Ryan Vander Wagen, C. Alan Stewart and Lori Sargent

Spring Breeding Surveys Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey Ruffed grouse drumming counts were conducted statewide from 105 survey routes during April and May 2014.

Significant weather conditions during the survey periods delayed couple route regionally
in 2014.

There was an average of 12.43 drums heard per routes statewide, a 16% increase from 2013 (10.77) average (Figure 8). Highest drumming counts were in Zone 1(Upper Peninsula; 14.86), following Zone 2 (Northern Lower Peninsula; 11.64) and Zone 3 (Southern Lower Peninsula; 4.14)
(Figure 7).

Woodcock Singing
ground Survey Results of Michigan Woodcock singing - ground survey were based on preliminary analysis of data from 95 survey routes (Cooper and Rau 2014). There was significant changes in the woodcock index for Michigan in 2013 and 2014 were detected. An average of 5.43 and 5.20 singing males were heard per route in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

The 2013 Central Region index, consisting of information from Illinois, Indiana, Manitoba, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Ontario and Wisconsin, was significantly different from 2013 (n=408
, P<0.05). In the Central Region, there was an average of 2.70 and 2.57 singing males heard per route in 2013 and 2014, respectively (Cooper and Rau 2014).

Significant declines in the number of singing males were detected in Michigan and Central Region during 2014 - 2014. This is the first time in three years that the trend has shown a decline in the
Central Region (Cooper and Rau 2014). Michigan and the Central Region have experienced an average Long - term decline of 0.77% and 0.90% per year, respectively, since 1968 (P<0.05; Cooper
and Rau 2014).

The Traveling Wingshooter 2014: Ruffed Grouse Forecast MN, MI, ME, WI, NY, PA

by Dave Smith

Ruffed grouse hunters in the Great Lakes region have learned over generations to pursue ruffs when they peak in their 9-to-11 year cycle, which last occurred between 2009 and 2011. Each year since has been marked by a predictable decline, but the results of this springˊs drumming surveys show an increase, statewide, in Minnesota and Michigan, and a slight increase in northern Wisconsin.

The M's

"This may indicate the beginning of an upswing in the grouse cycle, which has been in the declining phase since 2009," said Charlotte Roy, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Roy reported a 34 percent increase in the annual drumming surveys statewide, driven by the birdˊs prime range in northern Minnesota.

Michiganˊs drumming surveys revealed an increase from 10 to 12 drums per route, according to Al Stewart, Upland Game Bird Specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Further, Stewart says that the heavy snow this winter and ideal moisture conditions this spring were perfect for over-winter survival and reproduction, thus he is cautiously optimistic for a slight increase in grouse numbers this fall.

Grouse populations in Maine have declined from the recent peak but are still near the long-term average, and this yearˊs hatch makes for a promising hunting season. "We had favorable weather for grouse nesting and hatch," said Kelsey Sullivan, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. "Drumming surveys completed this spring revealed that areas with quality grouse habitat – such as much of northern Maine above Old Town – showed good activity, so I expect production will be relatively good."

MI Grouse Enhanced Management Systems gives hunters better chance

By Ed Golder 

It isn’t every day that you would find Gov. Rick Snyder and Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh working shoulder-to-shoulder in the vast state forest lands of the Upper Peninsula, shovels in hand, planting nannyberry shrubs and crabapple trees.

But on a hot, sunny day in mid-August, that’s exactly what two dozen volunteers and a handful of DNR staff witnessed at the end of a two-track trail just south of Gwinn in Marquette County, where, thanks to the collaborative efforts of all parties mentioned above, a diamond in the rough has gradually become a brilliant gem.

The GEMS — or Grouse Enhanced Management Systems — is a new DNR initiative designed to bring attention to Michigan’s outstanding upland bird hunting opportunities through the creation of a series of walk-in access hunting trails intensively managed for improved ruffed grouse and woodcock hunting.

DNR wildlife division development of the GEMS hinged largely upon the support of the Ruffed Grouse Society and increased revenue from the state’s new license fee package.

“The Ruffed Grouse Society and the American Woodcock Society are both extremely excited about the new GEMS initiative,” said Eric Ellis, the Ruffed Grouse Society East Great Lakes regional biologist. “We see this as an opportunity to get our members in the field, working on habitat improvement projects at the GEMS sites, and using hunting destinations as opportunities to promote grouse and woodcock hunting and conservation in Michigan.”

Ruffed Grouse numbers in Michigan better than what might have been expected

steve griffin

RUFFED GROUSE also come under Stewart’s purview, and he said that while the birds were expected to be nearing the bottom of their typical 10-year cycle of abundance, they may just be starting their rebound.

“Our drumming count was up 16 to 17 percent from last year,” said Stewart of the tally of males drumming wings above logs in hopes of attracting mates.

“There is a big difference between drumming counts, and production of young, and birds available to hunters in the fall,” Stewart pointed out, “but this may be the first year of an upswing” – a good year, maybe, to buy a hunting dog puppy.

“I tell people I think they may see about the same number of grouse as last year,” Stewart said, “maybe a few more.”

HOW TO Take Advantage of Michigan’s Outstanding Grouse Hunting

Derrek Sigler

Michigan’s great outdoors are home to many outstanding hunting opportunities. The state’s ruffed grouse get scores of resident and nonresident hunters afield each fall, and with good reason.

Hunting Great Lakes grouse can be one of the best ways to spend a fall day. You don’t need a ton of gear—yourself, a trusty shotgun, a pocketful of shells, some hunter’s orange, and perhaps a good dog will do. A grouse hunt is never a waste of time, even when you don’t bag any of the tasty birds.
Grouse can elusive, but if you simply open your ears, it’s often quite easy to find them.

Where to find them
As with many other game birds, grouse like cover. My favorite tactic is to find overgrown areas that were clear-cut several year earlier. Young birch trees in particular seem to attract good numbers of grouse.

Grouse can be found throughout the state, but for many of us, the Upper Peninsula holds a special place in our hearts. Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s online editor from St. Paul, Minnesota, knows exactly where he’s headed come fall.

“Felch in the Upper Peninsula is one of those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it burgs—a church, a bar, and a softball field,” Hauck said. “Actually, I’m not sure about the church or the softball field. But I’m sure about the bar, sure about the never-tasted-better cheeseburgers, and sure about the grouse and woodcock. I’d risk personal injury from my hunting partners if I told you exactly which direction we went from there, but the good news is you can’t go wrong whichever way [you go]. Then, pick a road or a trail and follow the best compass of all: your birdy dog.”

Having lived in nearby Gwinn while in college, I can attest to the area’s amazing grouse hunting. That area tops my list, too. For Lower Peninsula hunters, I have never had a bad hunt in the Manistee National Forest anywhere near the Manistee River, or around Baldwin.

Michigan DNR seeks partners for grouse program

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources wants to team with volunteer groups to improve ruffed grouse habitat and hunting opportunities.

A program called the Grouse Enhanced Management System will create seven locations in the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula where forests will be logged to promote growth of young aspen, which is ideal for grouse and woodcock.

Aspen usually is harvested every 60 years, but within the grouse management areas it will be logged on 40-year rotations.

Each area will have a parking lot and gated roads so hunters can wander among aspen stands without worrying about vehicle traffic.

Community partners are being sought to help with tree management, signs and other tasks. Those interested can get more information by contacting the DNR’s Katie Keen at 231-775-9727.

MI DNR Awards Communities Conservation Grants To Ruffed Grouse Society

The Department of Natural Resources April 14 announced recipients of the 2014 Wildlife Habitat grants. A total of $737,720 was awarded to various conservation and nonprofit organizations, units of government and landowners.

Examples of funded projects include planting native grasslands for pheasant habitat at Lake Hudson State Recreation Area, planting fruit trees for wild turkey and ruffed grouse food sources in several locations across the state and improving accessibility for limited-mobility hunters and wildlife enthusiasts at Sharonville State Game Area.

Ruffed Grouse Society, $30,800, Gratiot, Ionia, Montcalm and Clinton counties.

Hunting the American Woodcock and Grouse in Michigan Video

Bird hunting is one of the many exciting activities that makes Michigan one of the premiere outdoor destinations in the country. Join two Michigan hunters as they travel to West Branch, MI in search of the American woodcock and discuss the importance of having a pointing dog with you.

Ruffed Grouse Hunting 2013 - Michigan - Video

Ruffed grouse & woodcock hunting highlights from our 10th annual upland bird camp in Michigan. This compilation showcases the best shots and dog work of our entire trip. 9 men with 5 Gopro Hero cameras on head straps provided the footage for this video. 

Michigan 2013 Grouse Forecast

Michigan 2013 Spring Breeding Surveys

Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey
Ruffed grouse drumming counts were conducted statewide 
along 97 survey routes during April and May 2013. 
There was an average of 10.7 drums heard per routes 
statewide, a 13 % decline from 2012 (12.3) average
(Figure 8). 

Highest drumming counts were in Zone 1 
(Upper Peninsula; 14.4), following by Zone 2 
(Northern Lower Peninsula; 9.4) and Zone 3 
(Southern Lower Peninsula; 6.4) (Figure 7).

In 2012, 103 survey routes were conducted statewide and 
paired t - tests were performed to statistically compare 
data from 87 identical routes run in both 2012 and 2013. 

Statewide there was a 10.3 % decrease 
(n=87; t=1.15 , P=0.25) in the average number of 
drums heard per route between 2012 (11.8) and 2013 
(10.6). Analysis at the regional scale indicated there 
was no significant difference (n=26; t=0.82 , P=0.41) 
in the number of drums heard per route in Zone 1 
(Upper Peninsula) between 2012 (17.4) and 2013 (14.9). 
There was no significant change in the average number 
of drums heard per route in Zone 2 
(Northern Lower Peninsula)

between 2012 (9.9) and 2013 (9.1; n=53 ; t= 0.90 , P=0.38 ).
In zone 3, there were 8 routes conducted in both 2012 
and 2013. Due to the low sample size, statistical analysis 
at the Zone 3 regional scale is not appropriate.

Michigan’s 2013 Ruffed Grouse Forecast

With September 15th just around the corner, we’ve been taking a look at some of the forecast data provided by both Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) Wildlife Division, as well as the summary provided annually by the Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS).

And now, the forecast. According to MDNR Upland Game Bird Specialist and Program Leader Al Stewart, grouse drumming surveys were conducted during the months of April and May of this year.  Data collected from the same 2012 sampling areas found a 10 percent decline in the number of drums heard on a year-to-year basis. As was the case in prior years, the highest number of drumming counts was found in the upper peninsula, followed by the northern lower, then southern lower. With the exception of some areas of the upper peninsula, the statistical differences between 2012 and 2013 did not appear to be significant.

According to Stewart, 2013 grouse populations will likely have a slight decline from 2012 levels, following their cyclical peak which was believed to have been reached in 2011.  Despite the late arrival of spring this year, breeding conditions for both grouse and woodcock are believed to have been favorable.  These conditions have the potential to result in a statewide harvest of 240,000 grouse and 74,000 woodcock during the 2013 seasons.

Just as a reminder, although the ruffed grouse season begins with the small game season on September 15th, opening day for woodcock hunting is set for September 21st.

Department of Natural Resources Upland Game Bird Specialist and Program Leader Al Stewart reports, ruffed grouse drumming counts were conducted statewide along 95 survey routes during April and May 2013. Using data from 87 routes run in both 2012 and 2013, statewide there was a 10.3 percent decrease in the average number of drums heard per route between 2012 (11.8) and 2013 (10.6). Highest drumming counts were in Zone 1 (Upper Peninsula; 14.5), followed by Zone 2 (northern Lower Peninsula; 9.4) and Zone 3 (southern Lower Peninsula; 6.4).

Analysis at the regional scale indicated there was nearly a significant difference (n=26; t=2.0, P=0.4) in the number of drums heard per route in Zone 1 (Upper Peninsula) between 2012 (17.4) and 2013 (14.9).  There was no significant change (n=52; t=2, P=0.4) in the average number of drums heard per route in Zone 2 (Northern Lower Peninsula) between 2012 (9.9) and 2013 (9.1).  In Zone 3, there were eight routes conducted in both 2012 and 2013.  Due to the low sample size, statistical analysis at the Zone 3 regional scale is not appropriate.

Grouse/woodcock hunter cooperators hunting the first four days of ruffed grouse season reported an average of 1.7 grouse per hour in 2012 compared to 2.0 grouse per hour in 2011. Hunters opinions about the 2012  ruffed grouse population were mixed; 27 percent of the respondents thought grouse populations were up or slightly up from 2011 in the areas they hunted, with 41 percent reporting the population is the same and 32 percent reported they were down or slightly down.  For the full season, the average number of ruffed grouse flushed per hour by cooperators in 2012 (1.66) was slightly lower than the number of birds flushed per hour in 2011 (1.91).  The average number of woodcock flushed per hour statewide by cooperators was slightly higher between 2012 (1.57) and 2011 (1.2).

Stewart concludes, “Based on current survey data, I expect the grouse population this fall will be on a slight decline following the peak of the cycle in 2011.  The 2013 fall ruffed grouse and woodcock numbers could be similar if not a little bit lower statewide compared to 2012.  With favorable annual production, hunters could take approximately 240,000 grouse and 74,000 woodcock in 2013. 

Although spring arrived two weeks later than normal; the warm, average weather conditions this year may have a positive impact on brood survival.  If we have favorable production this spring, I anticipate fall ruffed grouse and woodcock numbers could be similar to or only down slightly from last year. Due to normal rainfall and lack of early summer frosts, I expect soft mast production to be very good this fall compared to 2012.”

The ruffed grouse season begins on September 15, statewide.*  In 2013, the opening date for woodcock hunting will be September 21.*  The USFWS framework for Michigan allows for the woodcock hunting season to open no earlier than the Saturday closest to September 22 and to run for no more than 45 days.

Are you looking for new places to hunt grouse and woodcock?  Stewart invites hunters to explore the 10-million acres of public land in Michigan. You can plan your next hunting adventure online with Mi-HUNT. This DNR hunting tool allows people to search for grouse and woodcock habitat on public hunting lands. “Bird hunters have found this tool to be very helpful for viewing different forest types, topography, satellite imagery and road layers…all from the comfort of their own home”, said Stewart.  “There’s even a tutorial designed for grouse hunters.”  To learn more about this free interactive mapping application, visit for details.

Read more forecasts from the Ruffed Grouse Society

Prospects good for Michigan grouse hunters

By Darin Potter

Lansing — Hunters throughout the state in pursuit of upland birds and small game can expect another successful season this fall. Upland game birds like ruffed grouse and woodcock should be found in good numbers, and rabbits and squirrels are plentiful.

“The 2013 fall ruffed grouse and woodcock numbers could be similar if not a little bit lower statewide compared to 2012. With favorable annual production, hunters could take approximately 240,000 grouse and 74,000 woodcock in 2013,” Al Stewart, the DNR’s upland game bird specialist, told Michigan Outdoor News. “Although spring arrived two weeks later than normal in 2013, the warm, average weather conditions this year may have a positive impact on brood survival. If we have favorable production this spring, I anticipate fall ruffed grouse and woodcock numbers could be similar to or only down slightly from last year.”

Stewart said grouse drumming counts were down this spring.

Using data from 87 routes run in 2012 and 2013, statewide there was a 10.3-percent decrease in the average number of drums heard per route between 2012 (11.8) and 2013 (10.6).

The drumming counts were highest in Zone 1 (14.5 drums per route), followed by Zone 2 (9.4) and Zone 3 (6.4).

Grouse season runs Sept. 15 to Nov. 14, then re-opens Dec. 1 to Jan. 1. The woodcock season opens Sept. 21 and ends Nov. 3.

When hunting woodcock, a Harvest Information Program endorsement is required. The HIP survey takes about a minute to complete and must be added by the agent when you purchase a small-game license.

A relatively new tool created by the DNR called, MI-Hunt ( gives hunters the ability to scout areas ahead of the season by viewing land from aerial photos and learning the habitat online. With 10 million acres of public land in Michigan, it’s not difficult to find areas that hold upland game birds or game animals, according to Stewart.

“Bird hunters have found this tool to be very helpful for viewing different forest types, topography, satellite imagery, and road layers – all from the comfort of their own home. There’s even a tutorial designed for grouse hunters,” he said.

Calling the local wildlife biologist before the season is also a good way to find areas that hold game.

Read the rest of the Outdoor News article

Michigan Ruffed Grouse Society hosting annual shoot on Aug. 15

Cory Butzin | 

Shooters and steak lovers have until Aug. 9 to register for the Ruffed Grouse Society Albert A. Smith-Saginaw Valley Chapter's annual Invitational Fun Shoot. The event is held at the Saginaw Gun Club, 9549 Gratiot Road in Saginaw on Thursday, Aug. 15 and gets underway at 4 p.m.

According to Ron Heatley, registration for the shoot and “grill your own steak dinner” is $25. Attendees also have an opportunity to shoot skeet or sporting clays at there own cost.
Proceeds from this event will be used to support the annual Harry Danz Scholarship Fund.
For more information and/or directions call Heatley at 989-860-4874.
Established in 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society is North America’s foremost conservation organization dedicated to preserving our sporting traditions by creating healthy forest habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and other wildlife. RGS works with landowners and government agencies to develop critical habitat utilizing scientific management practices.
Information on RGS, its mission, management projects and membership can be found on the web at:

Michigan Saginaw Valley Ruffed Grouse Society to hold fun shoot, steak dinner at Saginaw Gun Club

The Saginaw Valley Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society will hold its annual fun shoot, with a "grill your own steak" dinner at the Saginaw Gun Club Thursday, Aug. 15.

Those attending will have an opportunity to shoot skeet or sporting clays.

The event begins at 4 p.m., with advance registration required by Thursday, Aug. 9.

The steak dinner costs $25. Proceeds will support the Harry Danz Scholarship Fund. 

For more information, call 989-860-4874.

Volunteers help Michigan DNRE biologists band woodcock

For the majority of pointing-dog enthusiasts, nothing compares to autumn, when hunting season is open and hunters can spend their days with their best friends in pursuit of upland birds. But for a small minority of bird-dog aficionados, there's even more fun to be had in spring.

Spring is the other bird season: banding season, when hunters exchange their firearms for landing nets and pursue woodcock with the express purpose of capturing them, only to release them as soon as they've been festooned with small metal leg bands.

From April until June, a small contingent of dedicated bird-dog owners takes to the wood lots of Michigan to locate and band the needle-nosed migrants. The bands that are returned by hunters provide important information to wildlife managers about the population, distribution and life history of woodcock.

Woodcock are migratory birds that are more closely related to shore birds than they are to other upland game birds, but have adapted to forested habitat. Woodcock prefer early-age forests with moist soils.
Mottled brown birds with long beaks that they use to feed by probing the moist earth for invertebrates, woodcock are so well camouflaged that their first instinct, when approached, is to freeze. That makes them perfect for pursuit with pointing dogs.

The small metal band on a woodcock's leg will provide biologists information on the population, distribution and life history of the birds when hunters return them from birds they've taken
Michigan leads the nation in woodcock banding, largely because of its volunteer army of woodcock banders. Every year, volunteers spend more than 1,000 hours in Michigan wood lots, banding 1,000 or more mostly recently hatched woodcock.

Michigan has been in the forefront of banding since 1960, when federal wildlife officials asked state natural resources agencies in woodcock production states to help band large numbers of woodcock for a population study. Michigan wildlife biologist G. A. "Andy" Ammann participated in the banding effort and helped refine the technique of using pointing dogs to locate woodcock broods.

Woodcock are closely related to shore birds but have adapted to the young forested uplands
By 1965, six people, mostly professional wildlife biologists, were actively banding woodcock in Michigan. But as time progressed, Ammann and others trained volunteers to join the effort. By the mid 1990s, there were about 100 volunteers banding woodcock in the state.

The drill is fairly simple: Volunteers take to the forests with their dogs. The dogs point nesting or brooding woodcock hens. Using long-handled nets, the volunteers capture the hens -- if they can - which they'll band before they release them. But they also look for nests or chicks on the ground.

When a brooding hen is flushed, she'll typically fly just a short distance and then feign a broken wing, a behavior designed to draw the bander away from the chicks. It's a tip-off to banders that chicks are present.

Woodcock chicks, like this week-old bird, depend on their natural camouflage to avoid danger
The mottled brown and yellow chicks blend perfectly into the early spring vegetation; it takes eagle eyes to spot them as they remain motionless, waiting for the perceived danger to pass. After the banders have searched the area visually, identifying what chicks they can find, the banders gently pick up the chicks. That usually prompts the chicks to start peeping; the calls typically spur the remaining chick to begin running, making them more visible.

The banders work quickly to minimize stress to the chicks. They measure the chick's beak to help determine its age. (Woodcock are born with a 14 mm beak and it grows 2 mm a day). They attach a thin metal band with a serial number to the chick's leg and record all relevant data. Then they release the chicks. The hen and chicks soon re-unite. In fact, many woodcock banders recount having a hen fly back and sit nearby while they band the chicks.

Not just anyone can band woodcock. Would-be woodcock banders must attend a mandatory workshop, study under the guidance of an experienced bander, and have their dogs certified as able to perform the task without jeopardizing the birds' safety. The Department of Natural Resources and Environment issues permits to allowing individuals to band woodcock.

Volunteer Randy Strouse and his English setter Allie hunt woodcock for banding every spring
Randy Strouse, a retired skilled tradesman in an auto plant, has been banding woodcock since 1991. Strouse says he tries to spend at least 60 hours in the woods banding each spring and usually bands more than 50 birds, though he has surpassed 80 some years.

"I hunt, just like anyone else, but if I see a woodcock on the ground and it has a band, I won't shoot it when it flushes," Strouse said. "If it's this year's bird, you wouldn't be able to gather any information from it."

Strouse will gladly tell you he'd rather band woodcock than hunt them.
"The banding community really likes doing this," Strouse said. "If I had to give up one or the other, I'd give up hunting."

Banding woodcock makes it possible for hunters to contribute to conservation efforts in a hands-on manner. And it makes the whole effort practical.

"Without the volunteer banders, we wouldn't be able to band anywhere near the number of woodcock we band each year," said Al Stewart, the DNRE's upland game bird specialist. "It's the main reason Michigan leads the nation in the number of woodcock banded."

Banders are busy in the Michigan woods right now and will continue through early June, by which time the bulk of the chicks have developed enough that they can fly and further banding efforts are fruitless.

Original MI DNR article

MI Ruffed Grouse Society to hold Gun Dog Fun Field Trials in New Era

By Stephen Kloosterman |  Follow on Twitter

The West Michigan Lakeshore Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society plans to hold its Gun Dog Fun Trial in New Era this year.

The annual event for hunters and their dogs will be held 8 a.m. Sunday, June 23 at Modaka Kennels, 5023 S. 48th Ave. in New Era.

The event, heading into its fifth year, has previously been held at a Zeeland location, but won't be able to use the location this year due to a scheduled burn by the property owner.

The Gun Dog Fun Trial is a chance for hunters and their dogs to compete against each other and hone their skills for hunting game birds.

“It’s set up for the guy that goes out and hunts every week with his dog,” said Nick Moe, president of the West Michigan Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society.

Both pointing and flushing breeds compete in the event. Each dog-and-man team has 20 minutes in a field to find two pen-raised birds, called Chukars, that have been planted in the field. The teams have to flush out the birds and shoot them.

“It’s definitely a competitive thing,” Moe said. 

More information and the complete MLive article Plus photo slide show

GAYLORD,MI Ruffed Grouse Society fundraising banquet - June 14 2013

The Jim Foote Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society will host its 21st annual Conservation and Sportsmen’s Banquet Friday, June 14, at Treetops Resort, 3962 Wilkinson Road, Gaylord.

The banquet begins with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m.

The evening will feature a live and silent auction, games, drawings and door prizes.

Individual membership and dinner tickets are $55. Optional family membership packages are $85 and include two dinners, with additional dinners costing $35 each. Sponsorship packages also are available.

Complimentary dinner tickets and one-year memberships are available for youth under 16 who recently passed a hunter education class and women who participated in a recent Outdoors Women program.

Reservations received by Wednesday, June 5, are eligible for a drawing for a wildlife permit.Proceeds from this event will be used to restore and protect area grouse and woodcock habitat. This is the organization’s biggest annual fundraiser.

For more information and/or tickets, contact chapter president Peter McCutcheon at 231-546-4849.

Original Gaylord Herald Times Article 

PDF of RGS Banquet Information